Apple has a problem with the App Store. And I say a problem when it’s actually a few that have been suffering over the years but I want to focus on one in particular. To the recently mentioned problem with the developers, with a somewhat random application review policy that only manages to confuse the staff, we have to add, although this is longstanding, the problem of the search algorithm , badly implemented and that makes it a lottery to discover or find the application you really need.
Let’s do one thing, let’s go to the App Store, go into Search and put, for example, Twitter. We found 6,945 results, in the Spanish App Store, of which the first application that appears is, logically, the official Twitter client. From then on, any similarity or relationship with Twitter is null in many of the suggested applications . Logic says that the first ones to appear in this search would be the most used clients and then applications according to the level of relationship with Twitter, in a decreasing way. This is not a very elaborate classification but, at first sight, it would be a classification with some foundation.
Well, logic seems to be conspicuous by its absence in the search algorithm , since, among other jewels, we find that in position 7 there is Collor Effects, a photo retouching application, in 8 a wallpaper application and in 9 an emojis keyboard, to give some examples. Where are Tweetbot or Twitterrific, two examples of the most used Twitter clients? Get ready to search for them in the list beyond position 50. Same example with any other type of search.
What’s the big problem for developers? The lack of visibility . If you are a developer and you have to fight to make a place for yourself among all the applications and Apple does not put the means for users to discover you, not by promoting you, but by giving you the place you deserve in the searches, your chances of survival are low. If you add to this Apple’s lack of tact in its relationship with developers you are, to a certain extent, showing them the door, inviting them to move on to other platforms.
But, this is not a problem that affects only the developers . If we users are unable to find the applications we’re looking for, or discover new applications that make sense of the ecosystem, we’re in trouble. We, and Apple, which may lose one of its last bastions, one of the points that has made iOS, the developer community, stand out.
There is a curious aspect to all this, and it is that, while in other areas Apple seems to have realized that the algorithms are a basic pillar for the treatment of a growing information, with acquisitions of companies such as Beats, BookLamp or Matcha.tv motivated by these sets of instructions, in the area of the App Store seems unable to handle and manage correctly the more than 1.2 million applications that make it up, which I understand is not simple, generating this type of situation. Apple, you’re taking too long.