By now, you’ve probably noticed that Apple has completely redesigned the App Store in iOS 6. While some of the changes are nice, many are not.
On the iPad, in particular, you’ll notice that the App Store is much snappier than it was in previous iOS versions. In particular, I’m impressed with the app carousel that moves around briskly on the top of certain pages.
In addition, I like how Apple is finally showing Newsstand some love. Now, finding new magazines is as quick as selecting from a list of sub-categories at the top of the App Store’s featured page.
Unfortunately, on the iPhone, Apple’s changes to the App Store are much more difficult to stomach. In particular, you must scroll from right to left just to see everything that is on a featured or category page since the store doesn’t work in landscape mode.
The most upsetting new feature in iOS 6, however, is the one recently criticized by the folks at Pixite Apps. In an interesting piece, the Web Albums creator blasts Apple for changing the App Store’s search function.
A new algorithm (no doubt, one powered by Chomp, which Apple acquired in 2012) makes it much more difficult for users to find apps. Worst, the App Store’s new layout makes it more challenging to even scroll through those results.
Take a look at a search for “picasa,” as it looked in iOS 5.
Now, look at the same search in iOS 6.
As you can see, where iOS 5 included links to five likely app matches, iOS 6 only lists one app per page.
As Pixite Apps rightfully suggests:
It shows you one app at a time, in the order that Apple determines. It takes a lot of swipes and over 11 seconds to see the first 25 since the transition animation has to complete before you can swipe again. Now this wouldn’t be such a big deal if the search results are good and the best apps for whatever you’re looking for shows up first… but they don’t.
Hopefully, Apple will soon reexamine how they promote apps on iOS devices. As it stands now, and despite some nice additions, iOS 6 seems like a step back, at least in terms of the App Store. Plus, Apple’s move could prove fatal to developers. After all, they’ve made it much more difficult for customers to find apps.
Or as Pixite Apps suggests, “iOS 6 breaks the App Store.”