Apple should steal this brilliant concept for social app discovery

App store discovery would be completely different with this adfiajdofija Photo: Andy Baio

App discovery would be completely different if Apple stole Andy Baio’s concept.

Apple has the best App Store on the planet. Thousands of developers.  Millions of apps. Billions of sales. But no one can find a damn thing.

Since 2008, iOS users have downloaded more than 75 billion apps. How we locate a winner from among the App Store’s 1.2 million apps hasn’t changed much, but Andy Baio thinks Apple could revolutionize the way we discover and consume apps. And he’s got a brilliant concept Apple should borrow.

Most indie gems in the App Store can take months to surface but Baio’s idea would see Apple adding a dash of social to the App Store to create curated experiences so indies float to the top.

“My hope is that Apple, and every other app store, can take a page from the last decade of the social web. Give its users a public identity, an incentive to share what they love, and the ability to find and follow others like them.”

Baio’s concept would let you connect to friends in the App Store and share your favorite apps. It might even incentivize people to leave more reviews as the “Near Me” section would be replaced with a personalized, timeline-style view of shared apps, reviews and ratings from other people you follow.

Apple said the appeal of Beats Music was the human, curated element of service. It’s time app discovery gets taken as seriously as music in Cupertino.

Baio has acquired a special set of skills when it comes to getting people to discover stuff, and his little App Store tweak could make ahuge difference. His full concept, with more screenshots and musings on how Apple could change everything, can be enjoyed on Baio’s Medium page.

AppStoreiPhoneiOS7

The App Store in 2008 versus today.

  • http://www.designstrategies.com Len Williams

    How about keeping it simple with a better “search” functionality within the App Store (both on iTunes and Mac OS stores), that allows plain search functions. Right now it seems like the 2 app stores only search by app name rather than function. When I type in a search term, I expect the search to include apps that have relevance to that term by looking through the app’s contents, and not just searching for an app that has the term in the name of the app. This doesn’t seem like too much to ask. It’s what users have come to expect from Google, Bing and Yahoo search engines. Why can’t this functionality be built into the app stores?

  • Jonathan Côté

    Apple tried to do exactly this for their iTunes music store with Ping, which crashed and burned miserably and probably nobody remembers it today. I doubt that they will want to go the same route.

    • lucascott

      It crashed mostly because they did a round one and never followed it up. They never got past the test stage of using a few major labels and into the indie folks who really need the assist. They never got to the following users or the one time full play of Lala. And so on.

      Had they gotten to a full expansion, especially if they included all facets of the store, then who knows what might have happened

  • andcore

    It’s called AppZapp, you can already do all this things and much more, but Apple keep rejecting this kind of apps from the store…

  • Maxwell S. Overholt

    I was just saying I need more social media accounts and notifications.

    • thomg875

      LOL Some thrive on them. Others, just go live life. :-)

  • lucascott

    So he wants to basically bring back Lala/Ping but to the App store.

    Same thing my cousin the blogger has been saying for ages. About all the stores. Along with better metadata systems and better leveraging of Genius etc data.

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About the author

Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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