Mysterious New App Store Category Turns Out To Be A Boring Collection Of Catalog Apps


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Remember when a mysterious new category appeared in the App Store on the eve of the this past week’s iPad announcement? The discovery led most of the Apple blogosphere to believe that some sort of interactive catalog experience would be making its way to the new iPad’s gorgeous Retina display. How exciting!

As it turns out, the Catalogs section of the App Store has launched, and it’s not really that amazing at all. In fact, it’s pretty awful.

If you visit the new Catalogs category in the App Store, you’ll see that it’s mostly filled with shopping apps for the iPhone. There are some universal apps with iPad versions, but Apple even goes so far as to call the category “iPhone Catalogs.”

You’ll get a good idea of the category’s overall quality by perusing through the “What’s Hot” section. There’s nothing that exciting, and most of the apps look poorly designed. It seems like Apple migrated over many titles from the Lifestyle App Store category, and for no apparent reason.

SkyMall for iPhone in all its wonder

SkyMall, a fairly recognizable catalog magazine, has a particularly horrendous iPhone app you can download for free. Most of the available apps are for incredibly niche markets (with the exception of several apps for more recognizable retailers, like Arhaus Furniture) or are entirely pointless. To be honest, the entire category seems like a random mistake. There’s absolutely nothing to go on as to why Apple decided to launch it now.


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  • Wes

    Kinda-ish. The owner of has been all over this, and there is some indication (aka; from the rumor mill) that it is, what it isn’t. The idea is to bring an iTunes market (of sorts) where you can easily purchase products through an iOS device and have it charged to your Apple account. I kinda buy the rumor with the whole iWallet thing. Not stunning, but more than…well…2…fanboys are having a major harden about it. I personally think it’s pointless.

  • turbohand

    If you are like me and can’t stand all the catalogues, it is nice now they they are on their own little place. Now I don’t need to browse past them as I am looking for other things.

    Perhaps the category is not exciting, but it makes sense.

  • axual

    So a catagory called Catalogs is mysterious?

  • Jonathan Ober

    These should have been converted to a more interactive ibook format … anyone looking to do a ibook catalog give me a call/email I would love to make an ibook catalog!

  • rsbell

    Holy crap! A category called “Catalogs” that has catalogs in it!

    Wtf did you expect?

  • prof_peabody

    They should remove this category from apps and put it in books where it belongs.  In fact they should remove all apps that aren’t really apps but are in fact books, guides, how-to’s, tutorials etc. 

    That would reduce the amount of actual apps by about 75% but hey, at least it would be honest.  

  • Ronald Stepp

    If they did them like german catalogs, they would be awesome!  Seriously, I grew up in Germany and the super saturated glossy german catalogs were amazing considering how they look in the USA.

  • Alex

    I know exactly what your talking about ….  I have fond memories of toy catalogs and even the more mundane stuff like Quelle…

  • JLB

    Yeah, I’m sorry Alex but the guys are right.
    I saw ‘Catalogs’ and immediately thought, “Oh, they’ve got catalogs now, ok.”
    Ok so it’s mundane, but the iPad is the *perfect* device and vehicle for catalogs is it not? 
    Great for the company (easy to update, no heavy distribution costs) and a boon for the customer. 
    We’re IKEA fans, now we peruse their stuff without needing to get a big hefty book that’s outdated in a few months.

    Don’t worry Alex, once -your- fav merchant gets on the iPad, you’ll change your mind!

  • Sarah Bridges

    But don’t you remember? Apple still wants to be able to boast about their 500,000 apps.