The main argument against it, is that it shows you just one app at a time, instead of 5. This – developers argue, will make people, “less likely to try out apps that aren’t at the top of the results” and that, “some great apps will get buried and people just won’t have the time or the patience to get to them”.
Personally, i disagree. I think that the change to the app store will be a net postive for not only developers, but also for users. It does, however, mean that certain ways of doing things have to change for developers, in terms of their app design and app store SEO.
Before i describe what these will be in more detail, let me show you what the changes are and why they are a net positive for both developers and users.
The changes and why they are good
Before (iOS 5 Search)
After (iOS 6 Search)
Bigger elements in the interface, less clutter
This will drive more engagement within the app store in my opinion, as it will make the general experience less complicated and cluttered. Good for users, because they have an easier and much more pleasent time and better for developers as they can sell more apps and make more money.
Related apps Tab
This change makes it easier to find apps, for users and better for getting discovered, for developers, its another channel of discovery – so it opens up new possibilites on both sides.
Better designed app pages
As described in the video below, the change in UI is quite significant. It is much better designed to lead to downloads. Which ultimately leads to a better user experience and ultimately, more downloads for developers.
One app at a time from search
This again focuses the user attention, which increases the chances that they will download any one app on searching for one. The big screenshot as the focal point also helps in giving the user an idea of the app before they decide to engage further with it. This makes design even more important for developers. With this change, the name and icon are no longer center stage – now, the actual app is. I will go into a bit more detail on this point below.
It doesn’t take you out of app store for downloads
The purchase and download experience is a lot more geared towards not taking you out of the app store. Something that often causes users to stop exploring and discovering new apps once they have found one. The new design will hopefully lead to more apps being discovered and downloaded.
This video demonstrates the majority of these changes well.
How developers will need to change
The key change that this redesign forces upon developers is that they will now need to create better looking, more eye-catching apps. With the one at a time scrolling and the screenshots of the app being centre stage, the look of your app has become more important than ever. Using the standard, basic UI will no longer be as effective as it was before. Design is now vitaly important to your apps if you want to get downloads.
Another change is that the positioning of the app, in terms relatability with other apps – via description, categoriztion, etc is now extremely important. With the new ‘Related’ tab, users will more and more be finding apps via this medium and being related to the right apps will lead to the most downloads.
The new app store, in my opinion is hugely innovative for developers and users in subtle, but eventually very significant ways. And with apple expecting to earn half of the lifetime revenue of the app store in this year alone ($4.9 billion). It seems pretty clear to me that these guys know what they’re doing.