When Apple have a live event, we know it’s important to pay attention. We watch the live events and conferences, and listen eagerly for any exciting new features we can play with or implement. We also evaluate any impact on our current apps, the market and make sure we are preparing for the next generation of apps, in whatever shape or form they will take. Typically, Apple users are the fastest to install and adopt new OS updates, so this usually causes a big ripple effect. (http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2016/05/apples-ios-9-hits-84-adoption-rate-vs-75-for-googles-android-marshmallow.html)
For anyone who is into Apple (guilty), it’ll be old news now that iOS11 is coming out this fall. With the prospect of new features, updates and improvements, this latest Apple Operating System update is sure to make a splash.
This time around, one of the standout new updates to iOS11 is the App Store.
Over the years Apple have made strides in removing the barriers to entry when it comes to releasing apps. A few years ago it could take a week or even longer to get an app approved. With each app submission going through a rigorous review process, Apple are ensuring that only quality apps (read: not buggy, repetitive or pointless) make it through to the App Store. In recent years however, and especially in the past couple of months, Apple have done a great job in reducing this time to around a day, and sometimes just a matter of hours. I should note however, that Google typically takes around 4 hours, although it does not go through a human review process (this is about to change).
So, now that everyone is caught up on the history of the App Store, let’s have a look at the changes and what they mean for you and I. How will upcoming update effect the market, and what does it mean for apps going forward?
The biggest change that you’ll see as a user is the design. The App Store has been completely re-designed. In particular the home page is now called ‘Today’, and features more in depth reviews and write ups for featured apps, it is also tailored for you. Apps and games are now split into their own distinct tabs. Apps can now feature video thumbnails rather than just a static image.
I could get into more detail here, but MacRumors have done a great wee video that encapsulates it all:
As of iOS11 Apple will require all reviews to be completed via their new review API. This means that apps will no longer be able to use custom behaviours or prompts to ask you to review. (https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/)
This is both good and bad, depending on how you look at it. Consistency is good, and ensuring everyone prompts users for reviews in the same manor means the familiar process may encourage more user reviews overall. Users will also be able to review the app without leaving the app – which is currently a huge barrier. The flipside of that is that of course, you can’t display the prompt in your own apps style/design. Apple will also allow users to opt out of receiving these prompts and limiting the prompts to be displayed up to 3x per year, and only until the user has rated the app, then that user can’t be prompted again.
For App Developers
One great new feature of the App Store is the ability for the Developer (Company) to be able to respond to reviews. This means that a negative review can be turned into a constructive one, and positive reviews can be thanked! This is great for customer engagement, and community.
Overall it’s great to see some changes made to the App Store, creating positive change for both developers (they may not know it yet) and users alike. Since launching in 2008 the App Store hasn’t had much love in terms of updates, despite being host to over 2 million iPhone Apps, 1 million iPad apps, and generating developers a whopping $70 Billion in revenue and counting. If ever anyone told you that apps were on their way out, you just have to look at these numbers. Combined with 500 Million unique customers…a week, the app market is clearly still booming. (https://www.apple.com/uk/newsroom/2017/06/apple-unveils-all-new-app-store/)