Apple iPad, Day 21: Apple App Store Annoyances

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30 Days With the iPad: Day 21

The iPad is fairly impressive out of the box, but taking on the formidable challenge of replacing a Windows 7 PC as a primary computing device requires a mix of apps to fill specific needs. Today, I am taking a closer look at the Apple App Store since it is the only (legitimate) gateway for acquiring the apps you need.

The Apple App Store is the portal to the more than 425,000 apps currently available. Apple recently revealed that it has sold more than 15 billion--with a "B"--apps. It is a pretty impressive feat in and of itself, but when you look at the limitations of the App Store it seems even more remarkable.

Apple App Store logo
The Apple App Store is the gateway to more than 425,000 apps.
An average iOS user downloads 83 apps at an average cost of $1.83 per app. Granted, those are averages. I have 109 apps currently, so somewhere out there is an iOS user with only 57 to offset me so we average 83. I also paid $29.95 for the LogMeIn Ignition app, so there have to be a whole lot of 99 cent apps or something to bring that average down to $1.83.

Trying Apps. Sure, there have been 15 billion apps downloaded. How many of those apps are still installed or used on any sort of regular basis? I have 109 apps on my iPad now, but I have probably paid for or downloaded at least 150--maybe 200. Sometimes an app sounds promising, so I download it and then figure out it doesn't do what I thought, or doesn't fit my needs so I remove it.

If the app was free, no blood no foul. But, I have spent a decent amount of money just this month buying apps to check them out for this series, then tossing them aside after a matter of only a few hours. Apple needs a better system for allowing users to try apps out without taking their money.

Apple needs a system in place to let users test apps out or return apps that don't fit their needs.
Many app developers offer a Lite version and a Full version of a given app. The Lite version is typically an ad-supported free version to let you try it out, and if you like the app and don't want the ads you can buy the Full version.

There are two problems with this approach. First, it skews the app volume numbers. If there are 425,000 apps, and 100,00 of them are Lite versions then those shouldn't count as a separate app, and there are really only 325,000 apps. Second, the iOS device treats them as separate apps as well. If you get the Lite version, and then decide to get the Full version, you end up with both and you have to delete the Lite version. It should treat it as unlocking the Full version, or at least replace the Lite version as an upgrade when the Full version is purchased.

Really, Apple needs to implement a system more like the Android Market. There should be some established period of 'buyer's remorse' that enables users to download an app and try it for some period of time before the transaction is processed, and lets them uninstall the app and cancel the transaction if the apps doesn't meet their needs.

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