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App Store - Mobile software distribution solution Pick of the Week
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[Score: 9 out of 10]
This week's Pick of the Week is somewhat unusual, but I think highly deserving. Instead of picking any one product, I've chosen to give the selection to Apple's new iPhone/iPod touch App Store. After using the App Store quite a bit over the last few days, I believe it truly is a paradigm-changer for the mobile applications business -- much as the original iTunes Music Store was when it opened years ago.

Prior to my iPhone, I owned and used a Palm Treo. One of my frustrations with the Treo was finding and installing software for it. Although there's a huge universe of programs for the Treo, I never managed to find the best way to discover, install, and keep up-to-date with the various programs I wanted to find. With the App Store, all of those difficulties have vanished.

Whether I'm on my iPhone or my Mac, the App Store makes it simple to find and install anything in the universe of (Apple-approved) iPhone applications. One button tap is all that's required to see any updates that have been released for programs I've installed. It really doesn't get much simpler than that.

Developers seem to have embraced the App Store as well, with over 500 applications at launch (and over 225 more added since then). For the most part, I've been impressed with the pricing of the applications -- many are free, and there's a huge selection available for $4.99 and less -- including a number at the "iTunes standard" of $0.99, which is clearly in the "impulse buy" price range for many users.

The App Store isn't perfect, of course. I'd love to see a "view by date" on the iPhone version of the store, along with some method of doing batch installs on the iPhone, instead of the currently-required click-buy-download-install-repeat cycle that's in place now. However, those are relatively minor quibbles -- the App Store is a game changer for both users and developers of software for mobile devices, and for that, it's this week's Pick of the Week.
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App Store - Mobile software distribution solution
Authored by: Roquentin on Jul 14, '08 09:00:10AM
I just wish there were an RSS feed for additions to the App Store. I've been keeping an eye on www.apple.com/rss. Hopefully we'll see a feed soon.

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App Store - Mobile software distribution solution
Authored by: asmeurer on Jul 14, '08 04:27:04PM

I agree. Until then, you can just keep checking iTunes for new programs by clicking the All (Paid/Free) Apps button in the iTunes store and choosing sort by date.



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App Store - Mobile software distribution solution
Authored by: JKT on Jul 15, '08 12:39:09AM

The App store is very good, but there is still a lot of room for improvement -both from the perspective of the buyer and the developer. Some of the current deficiencies:

1. No beta testing programme for the developers to get their app out there to select testers prior to release to the general public.
2. No means of offering discounts or vouchers to buyers (e.g. if you want to bundle the iPhone/Touch application with your desktop version, or offer discounts to people who already own the desktop version). Developers have no means of tie-ing a purchase of an App store download to an individual to do the converse (offer a discount on the desktop version) if Apple is reluctant to permit the former (as it would impact their profits from the store).
3. No hands-on demos of pay-for apps. This could work as it does for films at the moment where users could get 30 days to try out the app for a maximum of 48 hours in that period. At the end of the 48 hours, offer the opportunity to purchase the app.
4. No videos of the apps in action (which is a big omission given the absence of 3. above).
5. No easy means of providing feedback (crash reports) directly to the developer.

There is likely to be more...

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