Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Where I engage in 'beating a dead horse'

I know I've mentioned this dozens of times, but here goes again: Apple needs talented category managers to handle their app categories within iTunes -- this is especially needed with media apps.
Take a look at the screenshot of the new Newsstand feature within the iTunes app store. It is attractive . . . and totally useless unless you are one of the very few apps being featured.

TNM has looked at dozens of iPhone and iPad apps, far more than are featured in Apple's new slim Newsstand.

Now don't get me wrong: I love the fact that Apple is at least minimally promoting media apps. But since only four newspaper apps and 14 magazine apps are featured in the iPad Newsstand it is obvious that there are a lot of media companies getting lost in the shuffle. It's far worse over on the other side of the app store, where there are a grand total of six news apps featured for the iPhone. I probably reviewed that many in the first week of TNM's life.

The solution is simple: a drill down method that allows users to find what they are looking for. Apple has a keyword search feature, of course, but if you are interested in financial newspapers good luck finding that French financial newspaper that gives you classical music to listen to while you read. What was the name of that paper? (It's called Les Echos.)

One of the reasons it was smart of some of the major media firms to gain first mover status by launching iPhone and iPad apps early was that getting the attention of users was easier in a less crowded field. But every day that goes by it is harder and harder to be found within iTunes. It's time to clean up the mess.

By the way, things over on the Android side are hardly better since we are talking about multiple carriers and in-phone searching, as opposed to Apple's iTunes desktop system (combined with in-phone searching).  Maybe Apple and Google should hire a librarian to create a new Dewey Decimal System for apps? (just kidding, of course)