When Apple introduced iOS 7, one of the new features was a section in the App Store called “Near Me.” The idea is simple: using some kind of location-based algorithm, the App Store shows you apps that are relevant to your specific area. It’s like Genius, but more specific.
Apple obviously wants people to use Near Me, as the category is given the center menu button in the iOS 7 beta App Store. The feature wasn’t enabled in earlier betas of iOS 7, but some users are now able to use it to find apps.
One reader from the U.K. noticed that he could use Near Me this morning, and several Cult of Mac writers have the feature enabled now as well. Apple could be gradually rolling it out to beta testers, because availability doesn’t seem to be limited to certain areas or even countries.
It’s unclear how Apple is aggregating these lists of nearby apps, especially in the beta stage of iOS 7. The App Store could be searching for relevant descriptors relating to your location, or it could be using some kind of algorithm to see what your nearby friends are downloading. If there isn’t a lot of stuff around your location, it’s doubtful that you’ll see apps to check out.
Whatever the case, seeing Near Me come to life shows that iOS 7 is getting closer to becoming a finished product. The latest rumor is that iOS 7 will drop on September 10th.
Update: Readers have pointed out that Near Me has worked in certain areas since the first iOS 7 beta, but the feature seems to be showing more location-based results in more areas as of late.
- Thanks Abdul Karim