Apple has two app stores. One big and successful and a huge profit maker. The other is a promise unfulfilled, a veritable ghost town of abandoned applications. The former is Apple’s iOS App Store for iPhone and iPad (and Watch), while the latter is the much maligned Mac App Store.
One could argue that Apple has allowed the Mac as a platform to languish, new and sizzling hot iMac Pro notwithstanding, and the evidence is obvious in the Mac’s product line and clearly visible in the Mac App Store.
Both iOS App Store and Mac App Store have their problems and detractors, yet Apple seems content to tweak the former and allow the latter to wither.
What’s going on?
First, certain problems are obvious on both platforms; iOS and macOS. Open the App Store app on iPhone and search for applications; either by category or by name. It’s a hit or miss proposition. Sometimes searching for an app by its actual name results in a list of applications which do not match the query.
That’s just wrong and hasn’t been fixed.
Second, let’s say you find an iPhone app you like. How much is it? The example I’ll use now is Smule, the karaoke singing app. The Get button is visible. So are the overall ratings, rank status, and age qualification. The Get button simply says In-App Purchases so I’m required to continue to tap to find out the price. Where is that? Apple buries the price deep within the Information section.
In this case, the In-App Purchases are all labeled exactly the same. VIP All Access Pass. I counted 10, most of which have different prices. What do they mean? Buy the app to find out. Search the App Store for “karaoke” and what do you get? The world’s longest scrolling ad store. How are the results sorted or filtered?
Not in any way useful to you or other humans.
The Mac App Store remains as convoluted but at least there are search options after the initial result. My search for “karaoke” (and it doesn’t really matter which search term you use) yielded a few dozen results sorted by Relevance. But you can also sort by Most Popular and Customer Rating. How are those two different? The only other search filter choice is Release Date which is handy because who wants to dig through a bunch of app search results only to find an app that hasn’t been upgraded in three years (my limit is six months)?
Apps are displayed with a price tag, but often just the Get button with In-App Purchases displayed below. You have to dig into the app to find the actual price tag. Why can’t you sort by Price? Or, by Free? Or, by number of downloads? One of the Mac App Store karaoke apps was inTone2 which sells for a penny less than $45 but hasn’t been updated in more than 18-months.
Abandonware? Maybe, maybe not, but there are no reviews to compare. Hey, the developer should at least have family and friends check it out and offer up a biased review. Not even that.
It should be clear that Apple is going for the dumbed-down, lowest common denominator with App Store search results and useful information. How is that beneficial for customers? Apple just doesn’t like to give customers much information these days. That explains why Battery-gate is a thing and why the Mac App Store is a where applications go to die. Apple’s holier-than-thou perspective on what customers want and need leads to a vacuum and inertia, all in the same place.