Apple’s (AAPL) App Store doesn’t just boost the iPhone and iPad — it’s a boon for an entire subsection of the economy. Without the App Store, we likely wouldn’t have things like Uber, Seamless, Lyft, Snapchat (SNAP) or Tinder. Heck, even companies like Spotify, Facebook (FB) Messenger and Yelp (YELP) wouldn’t be nearly as popular if they weren’t available as apps.
In other words, the App Store is a hugely important piece of Apple’s pie. What’s more, App Store developers have pulled in more than $70 billion for themselves as of January 2017.
But, unfortunately for us, the App Store is a mishmash of different app categories and icons that make it difficult to navigate and tough to discover new apps, even for long-time iPhone users.
Thankfully, mercifully, Apple is updating the App Store in a big way for iOS 11. From a cleaner design to auto-playing video previews and editorial pieces on the making of apps, the App Store is about to become far better.
A more welcoming App Store
The current app store is a series of bland, lifeless lists of apps arranged based on different feature categories. It has all the character of an Excel spreadsheet. It’s not exactly attractive is what I’m saying.
Apple’s updated App Store, however, has a far better look. Fonts are bolder and easier to read and images are larger and clearly designed for the new space.
The home screen is one area that will see a big change: The new App Store has a Today page rather than the Feature page available in the old store. From here Apple will provide you with daily updates for things like new app premiers and collections of apps for occasions like date nights and the like.
Beyond that, the Today page will feature both a Game of the Day and an App of the Day. The apps aren’t just given a small mention, either. Apple has an entire editorial team talk to developers and pull stories out of them about how their apps came together complete with images. It’s a great way to present apps and could ensure people spend more time with new apps.
A home for games
Games is Apple’s most popular app category in the App Store. But right now, getting to them is a bit of a pain. So the iPhone maker is cutting out the middleman and adding a new Games tab at the bottom of the screen that you can access at any time.
The Games tab will provide you with curated lists of games, as well as the familiar most-popular games lists. More importantly, the games will include auto-play videos that show off what you’re getting yourself into.
It sounds like a small addition to the store, but it makes a world of difference. Browsing the games’ videos and seeing them in action made me more apt to download them and give them a try, whereas the older store simply shows you images and a description of the games.
Apple’s iOS is one of the largest gaming platforms on Earth, and this update could push it even further into the stratosphere.
More from Dan:
- The best alternatives to Apple’s iPhone 8
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review: A big phone with bigger expectations
- The most important iPhone features ever
- ‘Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle’ review: An insane mix of strategy and absurdity
- Microsoft’s mixed reality headsets could save VR
- Fitbit’s Ionic smartwatch is here to take on the Apple Watch
- Galaxy Note 8 preview: Samsung’s big bet
Email Daniel at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.