Apple has made some changes to the way the listing and reviews of iPhone apps are handled in iTunes in an attempt to address loopholes that were being exploited by some developers.
Apple has addressed one of the concerns raised by iPhone developers where anyone was allowed to leave "Customer Reviews" for an app, even though they had not purchased it. This used to result in many complaints about the pricing rather than reviews of the iPhone apps.
Apple has made a simple change to fix the issue raised by iPhone developers, something they should have probably had in place from the start, users can leave a customer review only if they have purchased the iPhone app. If you try to leave a customer review on an application that you have not purchased, you will now get the error message as seen in the screen shot below.
Based on initial reactions, it appears both customers and iPhone developers are happy with this change.
Apple has also made another change, it has removed the "All iPhone Applications" link. This was used by many iPhone users to look at the most recently released applications. So now users need to actually go through each individual category to find out the recently released applications in that category.
As per an iPhone Developer, Krishna Vegesna, whose company TouchMeme offers three applications on the App Store, has observed that Apple has also started sorting applications by true release date rather than most recent updates.
This should help in plugging one of the loopholes that was being used by some iPhone developers to gain unfair advantage.
As per Krishna, Apple’s earlier practice of using most recent updates would bump an application to the top of the list, thus increasing its exposure.
He has also posted the graph below to illustrate his observation, as seen below each spike in sales coincided with release of an update to his apps.
This change in using the true release date would result in a longer shelf life for applications in the category listings as they no longer will be bumped down the listings as quickly due to frequent minor app updates.
However, Krishna points out that this could be good thing as iPhone developers will now focus more on real innovation rather than releasing minor updates just to get exposure to their apps, but at the same time raises a concern that it could also mean that some iPhone developers would focus on releasing new iPhone apps to generate more profits rather than improving their existing iPhone apps.
In case you used the "All iPhone Applications" link, you can use the RSS feeds mentioned below (currently in testing) to find new applications in the App Store.
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