You know, once the iPhone App Store got to a few hundred applications, I sat back and thought “Well, that’s a decent selection, it’s getting up to the speed of other handheld platforms and, hey, there are some nice apps here to keep me occupied.”
Once the App Store got to a few thousand applications, I started to get worried. “Whoa there, this is starting to get seriously overwhelming. I’m only just keeping up and I already have more applications than I’ll ever need…”
Then the App Store (last week) hit 10,000 applications, with new apps now arriving at the rate of over 50 a day. At which point, as someone who likes to feel like I’ve got a handle on a software scene, I’m really panicking. “Stttooooppppp!! This is a deluge and great apps are being missed right, left and centre – even trying to keep up is taking over my life – and I want it back!”
Here are some of the issues caused by the App Store being so incredibly successful(!):
- I’m addicted to checking every day for app updates, then waiting patiently while they install, 1 or 2 at a time. When you’ve got 140-odd apps installed, there’s an update most days for something. Time taken up each day: 10 minutes.
- I’m addicted (again, each day) to browsing the top 25 lists and the New/Hot lists. Again, there’s always something new to install and play with (“Go on, it’s only 0.59p”). Time taken up each day: 30 minutes.
- There are now so many apps installed on my iPhone (nine screens of apps – I’m all maxed out) that I a) forget what’s actually there and b) I could do nothing more than use the apps and play the games all day long and I still wouldn’t get full use out of all of them. Time taken up each day (potentially) by playing iPhone games and fiddling with apps: many hours.
- Even given the above, I’m still missing out on something like 70% of all the applications in the App Store. For example, I was playing some music apps the other day and wondered if there was a drum machine app that I’d missed. Usually, I go by what’s in the top 50 lists, if only for a while. Looking in the Music category, I discovered around 20 possible applications, only two of which I’d previously known to exist. If this degree of ‘iceberg’ exists for all the other categories of iPhone applications then there must be a lot of useful apps going unnoticed. And all the more galling because of some of the novelty rubbish that does make it into a top 50 list….
- Moreover, even the categories themselves are now so overloaded that they’re clumsy to get around. After looking at an app’s details, I’m plumped back at the start of the category and I have to scroll down the 9 or 10 screens needed to get to where I was. Then I look at the next app’s details and rinse and repeat. Sub-categories are badly needed! (e.g. Music>Drum machines & Sequencers)
- Having hit the limit of third party applications on a single device, what do addicts like me do now? Apple, you’ve got to help us out – increase the limit! On the other hand, that will exacerbate the problems above….. I’m confused…. why did something this good have to end up being so successful?(!)
Don’t get me wrong, the Apple iPhone App Store is the success story of 2008 and a huge, huge success. But with huge success comes a responsibility to manage that success. I don’t think that a better managed App Store will help me get my life back, but, my self-discipline notwithstanding, at least I might save a little time…