Phil Schiller comments on App Store discoverability

Phil Schiller comments on App Store discoverability

In a recent interview at WWDC, Apple's VP of Marketing Phil Schiller commented on criticism that it's hard to get noticed in the App Store.

The opportunity is the best it has ever been for software developers... Every other day you hear about another app going off the charts. You can still get discovered and get a hit overnight.

Additionally, Schiller commented that the App Store is much more democratic than traditional retail, where there's a limit on shelf space. Of the rumored data-gathering tool that was in fact released in the iOS 6 beta, Schiller said that "more can be done to help users have control over what apps and advertisers want to do with data".

The introduction of iOS 6 included a Facebook Like button for the App Store, which will likely improve discoverability boatloads, but busting through the top 100 list is still a major feat, even for respected and popular apps. It sounds like Schiller was mostly brushing off the challenge of getting noticed, and that the good ones float to the top naturally.

Devs, how hard do you find it is to get noticed? The rest of y'all, how often do you look anywhere other than the top 25 to find new apps? For that matter, how big of a role do blogs like ours play in picking your iOS apps?

Source: WSJ

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Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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Reader comments

Phil Schiller comments on App Store discoverability


Phils response is total BS. It is so hard for the indie developers to break out. It takes money money money to get to the top of the lists. Developers are paying for downloads, paying for advertising, and paying to make their app free for free app a day services. If you don't have $3-10K and then arent able to just give away your app you will have a tough time in the app store.

I agree.
But remember a time before there was a unified app store?
In the old days... you had to physically ship your software to stores... or hope that a printed magazine would write a review and mention your website.
Nowadays it's a lot easier... but you still have to do some groundwork yourself.
The mere act of BEING in the App Store doesn't mean your job is over.

As a dev I have a really hard time getting my apps discovered. I'm hoping the facebook integration helps.
Sites like imore and using social sites is usually how I find out about apps.

I'm not a dev, but can certainly understand the frustration. I've gone looking for a utility and took time to read the descriptions and reviews and found some gems that were 4 pages down and only had a couple of reviews. I wonder how many other users take that time, and how many just go with one of the first choices or the one with the most most positive reviews. I don't have a solution, but with the app store having well over half a million choices (and growing), a much better search and discovery system, or a way to limit copycats is really a necessity.

Usually I find apps through sites like this, using the Apps Gone Free app and just searching if I think of a need a have for an app.
Apple needs to work on what search terms bring up which apps. For example, if I search for "Gas Log" one of the results is the app "Comics". It also appears when searching for "Family Tree", neither of which make since.
They should also add filter options when searching from iPhones.

I've bought three games this month I would never have even of heard of without the goodness that iMore

This is why I don't like Phil. He has too much of a used car salesman personality. If an Apple Store were burning to the ground, I can picture Phil talking about all of the great natural energy that was created.
I love the App Store, including the Mac App Store, but denying there are discoverability issues only makes the denier look foolish. There's nothing wrong with saying "That's an area where Apple could do better."

App discoverability is a huge issue. The Facebook integration talked about at WWDC will help but we don't think it will solve everything. We think the issue that the top 25 don't change much will remain.
At AppMyWorld ( we take a different approach, one that's worked in other industries, and apply it to discoverability. Specifically, we aggregate professional iOS and Mac app reviews from other sources into an aggregate score. It's our belief that this is a great way to find the best iPhone and iPad apps. But what do others think? Would you prefer something like Chomp? Is our approach a good one? Really interested to hear.

Shiller still can't see the issue. Currently, it's about what people see not what they need or want. I remember buying a app on mas, I could not find it. Then I saw the little non descript search field. I expect them not to fix anything and continue to play's their store. Lol.

You and other iOS pages should promote the use of the app store search. People just don't realize that they could use the store search like Google and find lots of interesting stuff. Maybe publish a "how to" with a step by step introduction how to choose good search words and how to evaluate the result set.