Apple iPad, Day 21: Apple App Store Annoyances

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Finding Apps. How do you find what you are looking for when there are 425,000 options? The App Store app defaults to the Featured view which shows a handful of apps currently being promoted in a large banner at the top, and a section dubbed "New and Noteworthy" below. If you scroll down, there is also a section called "Staff Picks", and a section of Quick Links that lead to the iPad Apps Starter Kit, iPad Hall of Fame, and other similar collections.

Across the bottom of the app, you can also choose from Genius--which analyzes your past app purchases and makes recommendations for you, Top Charts--which displays the Top 10 paid apps, Top 10 free apps, and Top 12 highest grossing apps, and Categories--which lets you browse apps grouped by category. At the top of the app is a search field where you try to find apps based on title or keywords.

Finding what you are looking for in the App Store is often more easily said than done.
Finding an app in the Apple App Store is a lot like finding tools in the Ubuntu Software Center. It takes some conditioning to search effectively. For example, on Day 12 when I wanted to find a Quicken equivalent, I searched for Quicken. That search was not as useful, though, as my subsequent search for the more general keyword "invoice".

There is no perfect way to search through 425,000 options and find the right tool. Keyword searches depend on which keywords the developers choose to file the app under. Categories may not always be intuitive.

It would help cut the noise and clutter if multiple versions of the same app were combined into one listing. If there is a Free version and a Full or paid version, and separate versions for iPhone and iPad, an app may be listed four separate times. It is just one app. List it once and let me choose which variation I want from within the app listing.

What would be nice, though, is a better way to filter results based on the user feedback ratings. Even better, let me filter the results based only on user feedback ratings assigned over the past month or so--because apps that have gone through multiple iterations because I am only interested in what users think about the current release of the app in question.

Updating Apps. The App Store app has an Updates button. The app automatically detects if any of the apps installed on my iPad have updates available, and displays a badge on the button letting me know how many updates are available.

I can tap the Updates button to see which apps have updates, and tap Update All to download and install the updates. But, why do I need to do that? Of course I want the update. Apple should at least provide an option to automatically apply all available updates without waiting for me to initiate the process.

It is nice to know that there is virtually nothing I can think of that doesn't have an app of some sort, but Apple has some kinks to work out that would really make app buying experience much better for all involved.

Read the last "30 Days" series: 30 Days With Ubuntu Linux

Day 20: Music, Movies, and Books (Oh My!) With the iPad

Day 22: Pictures and Photo Editing on the iPad

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