What’s New in the App Store?

The App Store app has become increasingly integrated on the iPhone as you can download almost any app independent of your home computer and through the app.  With the iOS 6, Apple attempted to overhaul both the design and functionality of the firmware, and the App Store got a slight facelift as well.  Here is a look at the new App Store features that came along with the iOS 6 update.

 

Genius is taking hold in the iOS 6 App Store in that it has replaced Categories as an option tab where by you can select how you want to browse or search.  This is an interesting option as Genius is a tool that analyzes the apps you have and attempts to find apps that you would like.  Categories was previously the easiest place for a user to go to approximate apps that they may prefer, and now they are asked to trust an automated service instead.  This is part of Apple asking that users trust the internal Artificial Intelligence systems it is developing within the software.   You can still, however, get into Categories by hitting the link in the upper left hand corner of other tabs.

Beyond this there is a definite change in how you would browse through the store.  Now the apps are presented as small tile cards that you can swipe through, and in Featured there is a top advertising banner that is changing every few seconds.  This makes the browsing process go even faster, which may be a testament both to the fact that people are downloading more apps and they are doing it through the app rather than from their computer.  This format extends to all areas of the store, including app specific pages.  This is also not very well suited towards long standing browsing, which is going to limit the ability to organically find different apps that you may not already know about.  Since the App Store is becoming so massive this may be a way to change the user perception of how to deal with the content, and instead now deal with things like searching for apps using the web and finding out about them through advertising and social media.

When you are on a specific app page you have the option to share the app on social media, email, and iMessage.  If you go to the upper right hand corner and hit the button it will give you a variety of different options, and if your Twitter and Facebook accounts are already logged in to then you can send them out as immediate updates.  The Copy Link option is really just a copy and paste choice for copying the URL for the app itself, and this can then go out via Safari or another browser.

You also have the option to do a Facebook Like if you are in the Reviews tab, which is a new format that allows for you to easily alternate between Details, Reviews, and Related.  Here, above the actual ratings and reviews for the app, will be a quick button for you to Like the app’s Facebook page.  This will allow you to continuing following it on Facebook, which is a good way to know about updates and related apps.  The Related tab will allow you to find similar apps and may be a way to bypass both Genius and Categories for finding what you want.

One distinguishing feature of the App Store on the iOS 6 is that it no longer takes you out of the app when you are updating.  Apps themselves are often updated, and the App Store will indicate when a particular app has a new version available.  When you choose to update an app it used to close out the App Store and take you to that app’s icon on your Desktop so you could see it begin the update process.  This no longer happens and you instead stay in the Update tab to watch the progress unless you choose to close it out.  The same is true for apps that are downloaded for the first time.  When the app is done downloading there will be an Open button where the Download button was, and you can press it to switch over to the new app.

A nice feature allows you to keep track of apps that may be new on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.  This will actually put a little blue banner on apps that have yet to be opened to say that they are New.  This will help you keep track of the different apps you install and so you know that you need to check some of the more recent ones out.

 

The general difference, besides specific features, is that the new App Store simply has a little more designed look and feel.  In general, it is easier to navigate and the visuals seem more intuitive for the touch screen and constant swiping motion.  It will make it more practical to browse through the apps on your mobile device and will likely keep it easier to remain involved with new releases.  The iPad is incredibly good on the iPad as you get to have the visuals with an explosive depth, with large panels and the ability to move through them in an almost animated fashion.

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