I started off the day putting all my Christmas giftcards into iTunes.  I had the complete intention of spending a good portion of it today on iPhone apps in a hope to both support the indie developer community and to get some new material to write about.  Neither happened.  I couldn’t find one application that would make my life easier.  Before you get all huffed and puffed about exhibit A and exhibit B applications that have “changed” your world–I know they exist.  I just can’t find them.  Unless I know the application name, there’s a very good possbility that i’ll never find anything useful.

There’s 25 New and “featured” applications, 25 what’s hot applications.  20 Categories that list multiple sub categories and once you’re through selecting categories you’re met with three more pages, each with 25 listings–Top Paid, Top Free, Release Demo.

 

What’s a user to do?

 

If you’re not a “popular” application there’s little hope your application will ever be found unless you put a lot of time and effort into getting your name out around the internet.  But the problem with this application hub isn’t the “popularity” issues.  It’s the complete lack of attention paid to “useful” applications.

 

At the time of this writing, 17 of the top 25 applications are crappy games.  Games I’ve downloaded a thousand times in a thousand different iterations, from a thousand other indie developers trying to make a quick buck. Fart Applications ring a bell?  Flashlight Applications?  Beer Games?  Check, Check, and Check!

 

You know what this tells me?  There is a serious disconnect between “real” applications and jokey/fun applications.  We need to split them up, and Apple needs to do a better job of promoting “real” applications in their Appstore. Maybe the categories need a tweek or a tag needs to be assigned that categorizes the “fun” and the “real” applications into two distinct places.  I don’t want to see Fart noise generators beside mileage trackers.

 

I want to see my options, and I want to be able to find what I need quicker.  It says a lot about a devices usability when I have 60 dollars to spend on applications but the opportunity cost of spending a dollar to find that application I need just isn’t worth it.  Three categories in, and two pages later I was still without any “real” options.  My only real choice was to go to the iTunes store and buy a new album.  Sorry to the indie developers out there, but you should know I tried.  I really did.