iOS 11 is here. With iOS 11 comes one of the biggest overhauls to the App Store we’ve ever seen. Not only that, but many of the games and apps that you’ve collected over the years, some you may treasure, will cease working. The times, they are a-changin’.
A Curated App Store
The App Store has had a major redesign to introduce more of a curated experience. Apps and Games are now separated and a new ‘Today’ screen delivers a curated, editorially led experience.
While potentially more ‘curated’, developers will need to spend more time on their submissions, in case they are one of the apps that get selected to be featured. With hundreds of apps submitted each day, the chances of being selected are relatively small – unless of course you have a very polished app and meet all of Apple’s guidelines (or are a big, well-known company).
Today will feature different apps and recommendations, with further information to help you learn more before downloading.
As someone who has been using iOS 11 for some time now, it feels like a nice touch – but I’m not sure whether it’s because it has a higher level of gloss than many review sites, or I just enjoy the way articles open and close.
Essentially, Today helps to mask the fact that there over 1.6 million apps. Even with Apple acting as a gatekeeper, many of these apps aren’t great.
The separation between games and apps also helps to curate the App Store. Both sections show the top free and paid apps, with the ability to see a small number of featured apps. Mostly, it’s all designed to make the App Store feel like more of a curated experience.
To start with, it feels like there are fewer apps than before – mainly because any apps not to make it onto one of those pages is only discoverable by searching for a type of app, or the name of an app. Whether the changes to the App Store help developers with their issue of discoverability is still up in the air. The new App Store is how Apple thinks it can help apps to still be a vital part of our lives for the next ten years.
Death to 32-bit apps
When upgrading to iOS 11 back in June, it meant having to say farewell to some of my most loved games such as Trivial Pursuit, Civilization 2 for iPad and The Dark Knight. With 32-bit apps no longer working, a large number of apps will cease to work. Alas, if apps haven’t yet updated to 64-bit, it may be that they never will be – as the economics of app development mean it may just not be worth it for many developers.
Apple has not yet announced how many apps will cease to work on iOS 11, but it is likely in the hundreds of thousands. Apps that haven’t been updated will still appear on your device. However, they just won’t open, and you won’t be able to find them on the App Store. Once you install iOS 11, you’ll be able to see which apps are no longer supported by going to General > About > Applications.
X years in
As Apple moves to Roman numbers for the iPhone, apps are no longer revolutionary. While AR will bring about some new experiences, it is merely an evolution. Many of us have our app routines – and honestly, with some of the improvements made to stock apps, many apps have become slightly redundant.
The changes to the App Store are designed to help people discover something new, by making it feel like more of a boutique experience. By not overloading you with apps to find, the hope is that you will find the gems, some of which you may have installed, others that you may be seeing for the first time.
10 years into iPhone and nine years into App Store, Apple knows that it needs to keep the excitement on its platform. Whether the new App Store helps Apple do this will be seen over the next year or so.