How Do You Use the iTunes App Store?

appstore1There’s a lot being written about iTunes and the App Store this week. And a lot of it is by developers who are guessing what people want, how they find it, and how much they’ll pay for it.

Rather than guess, I thought I’d ask.

I’ve put together a very short survey. If you’d like to fill it out, please do! We’d appreciate the answers. And we’ll give away a bunch of iTunes or Amazon gift cards to people who fill it out (and include their email addresses, which we won’t do anything else with), so you’ll have a good chance to win.

We’ll publish the results if we get enough responses to be meaningful. So if you’re interested, help us publicize it!

Check it out. Tell your friends. And if you have comments, please post them below.

18 thoughts on “How Do You Use the iTunes App Store?

  1. Pingback: How Do You Shop for Apps - Help an iPhone Publisher Learn More About Your Habits & Preferences | Just Another iPhone Blog

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  3. Bill Curnow

    I filled out the survey, but I’d like to expand upon it.

    The AppStore is worse than Fibber McGee, with a signal-to-noise ratio that puts short-wave radio to shame. To top it off, most of the descriptions and reviews are useless, filled with self-promoting hyperbole and shallow praise. It was a hard lesson to learn, and I have a ton of software sitting on the shelf that I’ll never use thanks to Apple’s lack of a return policy and demo options.

    These days I rely I rely almost exclusively upon a handful of review sites, and even then I wait until several reviews have been written before purchasing.

    Frankly, for many of the apps out there, I’d prefer a well-designed web interface over a dedicated application.

  4. Doug Winenger

    After I first acquired my 3G iPhone, I used to check the app store all the time. I also subscribed to a couple of RSS feeds that announced every new application making it’s way into the app store.

    After seeing the 425th tip calculator (really, is this THAT big of a problem for ppl? I mean, if you can’t do 10-20% in your head…and even if you can’t…there IS a calculator on the phone already…sheesh) and some of the other inane apps making there way into the app store, I canceled the announcement feeds…and stopped swinging by the app store so often.

    Now, I am most likely to go to the app store at one of two times, one more so than the other:

    1) at the risk of revealing too much, I will potentially visit the app store as an effort to multitask an otherwise inflexible task…this can occur daily, sometimes twice daily, and on the rare occasion…three times daily…but, sometimes I just play kings corners ; )

    and

    2) (AND, the much more likely time) I check in the app store after I’ve read a review or announcement of the app in one of the many blogs in my rss reader.

    On a rare instance, I will search the store when I am looking for a specific app to solve a specific problem….ie…controlling my Xbox 360 Netflix instant queue without having to go grab my laptop and log in, etc. So far, I’ve found 3-4 apps developed by 3rd parties…but, I haven’t pulled the trigger yet….

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  6. Doug Winenger

    additional comment after completing the survey….

    for questions #6 and #7 (both about price ranges if I am remembering correctly)…

    I don’t really have a ‘set’ price range concept in my mind such as “utilities should always be $10″ etc. Rather, I assess the value of the app in solving the problem I have or completing the task I want to complete.

    If the app only goes part way to the solution, I am less likely to place high value on it.

    For instance…I currently use the task list app called “Zenbe”. I searched around for a relatively simple check list utility to use while waiting for ListPro for iPhone to make an appearance. in this case, I was less likely to pay for any app since I had experience with an app on another platform that would potentially migrate, etc. Having said that, Zenbe has a feature that I absolutely love…the online account. It allows me to edit my lists from my iPhone, my desktop at home, or my laptop at work. This is by far one of the most valuable aspects of the checklist utility for me. I don’t really need a lot of fancy widgets and tools for the lists I’m keeping (simple grocery list…do I need it, yes or no…pretty binary). So, for what I need, Zenbe is meeting my needs and it is free…perfect marriage.

    However, if ListPro or some other competitor came along and offered the existing feature set I use with Zenbe, and then added to the mix…i’d be willing to shell out for the value add assuming the features were valuable to me.

    I remember being able to add various parameters and characteristics to my lists in ListPro…a practice I would likely resume were I able to find an app that did all that.

    One other item that I think is important to me after buying apps that fail in this area…is the “slickness” of the data entry. This is one of Zenbe’s weak points overall…too many clicks to add or remove an item from a list. I understand the barriers on the delete end of things…but…maybe offering options for “simple delete/add” vs. “complex delete/add” would allow the user to determine how fluid the experience is. Having said that, I work for a software company that delivers SAAS. I ‘get’ that over developing an app can be costly.

    This influences my shopping habits in that I specifically read reviews to find out what the author says about the ease of use. I don’t really care how well you solve problem #1 if you introduce problem #2, #3, or even #4 into the mix…I’ll hold with problem 1.

  7. Dean Roberts

    I agree that the pricing questions will not provide the real world results you were hoping for.

    However, the hardest question to answer was what is more important, organizing the app store or free trials. I chose free trials because that really is needed but the app store is messy than then my eight year old daughters room on her worst day!

  8. Ellen Post author

    Thanks, everyone. Yes, I know there’s a lot more I could ask, especially about pricing. What I was trying to pin down was just – is there an overwhelming majority of people who won’t pay anything, or won’t even consider an app over 1 or 2 dollars. Or are there a lot more people like me, who would rather buy an app than get it free, because I tend to think the ones where someone is making money have a much better chance of still being around in a year or so.

    I’m looking forward to more answers and comments – thanks again!

  9. Paul H

    “And finally, what one change would you like most to see in the iTunes App Store?”

    I would like to see Apple hold developers financially responsible for meeting commitments made at time of sale. Case in point is Ilium who published (in their AppStore listing) a commitment to have the Mac e Wallet desktop app available by the end of 2008, took customers’ money based on that commitment and failed to meet it.

    The ongoing ‘we’re working on it’ comments are tiresome and, at this point, meaningless. Clearly little or no effort is being made to meet this commitment and it has left a bad taste for many whenever Ilium or its products are mentioned.

  10. Ken

    I must be tired because I did not understand the difference between questions 6 & 7.

    I have eWallet, an RSS client, LinkedIn, an IM account consolidator, Google Earth, Kings Corner (pay version), a voice Dialer, a book reader, HandDBase and a Chinese phrase translator on my iPhone.

    Of those the Voice Dialer was a complete waste of money, it has never worked and has never been updated and while The Chinese phrase translator works well it provided less than 1% of the value promised in the description. All the rest of the apps work fine.

    Price is actually the least important determinant when I add an app to my iPhone, and none of the ones I have cost more than $10.00.

    I look to see if an app is being updated before I add it as that could be interpreted as a level of commitment on the part of the supplier.

    Back in July I accessed the store once a day and scanned every app that was added but after Apple removed the ability to see all apps by post date it became too cumbersome having to flip in out of the list and each category so now I may look once every couple of weeks.

    The reality is I am missing one app, ListPro and so check the Ilium site for progress reports far more often that I check the app store.

  11. ellen

    Thanks, everyone. It’s clear from the comments that my questions could have used either a little less or a little more tweaking. But I’m finding out interesting stuff anyway, which I will publish next week. And the comments are great – keep them coming!

  12. Andrew

    I have only paid for one app so far – eWallet. I have maybe 20 apps total and some were free full versions (weather, iTv, Fring, AirSharing, etc.) and the others are “lite” versions. Most lite version games are full featured enough that I have no reason to buy the full version.

    Honestly, if the lite versions were timed trials, then i may have bought some of the official versions; but, adding more levels doesn’t make it a must have game for me. I don’t spend that much time gaming on an iPhone. I liked the Kings Korners trial, but I don’t use it that often that i would buy it (regardless of price), and the lite version really doesn’t force anyone to buy the full version (you should make it more restrictive so i WANT to buy the full version).

    For me I like productivity apps. those things that i can’t live without. ewallet fits that bill, and having it sync to a desktop means it is even more indispensable.

    For finding new apps, i read reviews on different site (gizmodo, TUAW, apple insider, etc.) and occasionally get surprised with something i have not seen before.

    So after writing my comments i see the word/link “survey”… so thatnks for listening. :)

  13. Rachel

    I’m doing this on my itouch as u read this and it’s hard to text and it’s impossible IMPOSSIBLE to do even though I have an acount!!!GAH!!!

  14. Marie Taschen

    I’ve fastforwared your survey to some friends. We hope we’re gonna win. :)
    iTunes App Store is really good. I use it a lot. There’s just so much to discover!
    Cheers!

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