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#372249 - 08/09/2019 15:31 Apple Store
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2426
Loc: Roma, Italy
I've been very familiar with IOS over the years, for a number of reasons - but I have never used an iPhone as my main, daily phone until last May (after several Windows Phones and Androids). SO I guess I've never been really familiar with it? Maybe.

Anyway, I won't go into the details here, but I've been liking the experience quite a lot so far, which is interesting. OSX could never really replace Windows as my main machine - especially since using the Surface Pros - but the iPhone is nice!

However, among the things I dislike of the Apple ecosystem is the App Store. Is it me, am I missing something obvious here, or is it really hard to find what you're looking for, among the many things Apple wants you to see?! ("curated" App Store, right?).

I miss being able to browse through the several apps, organized by type, rating, date of publication, etc. Microsoft Store is really the best from this perspective, which is ironic since it's the least successful one out there.

Case in point: music players for locally stored music (no streaming needed). Are there really so few and so bad music players, in the Apple ecosystem? What music player do u use, other than "Music"? The one good one I found is the Onkyo player.

Just curious on your feedback, and for some music player app recommendation smile
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= Taym =
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#372250 - 09/09/2019 12:30 Re: Apple Store [Re: Taym]
K447
old hand

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 716
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
‘Discovery’ in the App Store has been a problem for a long time. The shear scale of the App Store (zillions of apps) and developer gaming of the rating system and the recommendation engine are real problems.

Apple does make efforts to reduce the success of bad actors and changes the game every so often.

Overall, using the App Store itself to search for desirable apps tends to be sub optimal.

Often the better path is to find a resource outside the App Store, such as trusted reviews or people you know/trust that can point you to the better apps for your particular needs.

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#372251 - 09/09/2019 12:33 Re: Apple Store [Re: Taym]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12174
Loc: Sterling, VA
I'm a fairly recent (~2 years) iPhone user too. I guess I've never actually browsed the App Store. I feel like I've always known the app I was looking for ahead of time, either because it was suggested to me or it was something I already knew about.

If it's that bad, I'd probably say your best App Store curator will probably be Google. Try just Googling "iOS local music player" and see what you get! For me, I got some article listing the top ten iPhone music apps...
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#372252 - 09/09/2019 19:07 Re: Apple Store [Re: Taym]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2426
Loc: Roma, Italy
Yes, I've tried to Google for Apps. What I found is mostly (only?) low quality articles from random/unknown on-line magazines that seemed to list the first few Apps they got from the store (as I had, already) laugh

Oh well...

smile
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= Taym =
MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

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#372253 - 09/09/2019 19:19 Re: Apple Store [Re: Dignan]
K447
old hand

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 716
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Dignan
... best App Store curator will probably be Google. ...
Google is itself a massively gamed platform. SEO is a thing, as is monetization of search placement and search results.

I would not consider Google search results to be a ‘trusted source’ when hunting for quality apps.

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#372255 - 09/09/2019 19:44 Re: Apple Store [Re: Taym]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2426
Loc: Roma, Italy
Duckduck Go did not help much either, I have to say.
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= Taym =
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#372256 - 09/09/2019 19:47 Re: Apple Store [Re: Taym]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2426
Loc: Roma, Italy
... case in point, I just started the store and installed the Game of the Day: a classic laser beam / mirror game. Of course, it ended up being a poor excuse for a ton of ads. "App of the day"? I can't imagine anything *less* curated than that.


Edited by Taym (09/09/2019 19:48)
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#372258 - 09/09/2019 22:48 Re: Apple Store [Re: Taym]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31321
Loc: Seattle, WA
Originally Posted By: Taym
Case in point: music players for locally stored music (no streaming needed). Are there really so few and so bad music players, in the Apple ecosystem? What music player do u use, other than "Music"? The one good one I found is the Onkyo player.


I remember recently going through this same exercise. I tried a couple for a while and then uninstalled them.

Someday when I have infinite time, I'd like to try writing a music player app which is more like the Empeg in feature set. I was looking for other apps which had good features, and really didn't find any. All the App Store apps did was duplicate that "Music" feature set with a slightly different interface.
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#372262 - 10/09/2019 00:58 Re: Apple Store [Re: Taym]
Shonky
pooh-bah

Registered: 12/01/2002
Posts: 1977
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
Didn't Apple at one point also deny apps that replicated/repeated builtin functionality? I think the restrictions are a lot looser now but maybe that's why no one's put much effort in?

Specifically for a music app, it would probably have to somehow link in with files synced by iTunes, which may be difficult. As compared with Android where music apps can usually just be pointed to an eMMC/SD card location which can be easily written to with just the raw files straight from your NAS or wherever.
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#40104192 120Gb (no longer in my E36 M3, won't fit the E46 M3)

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#372263 - 10/09/2019 10:15 Re: Apple Store [Re: Shonky]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5802
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
It used to be the case that apps couldn't access the music managed by iTunes, that hasn't been the case for a while now though, apps can get access to that music now.

I expect people listening to their own music, as opposed to streaming, is very much a shrinking market.

I use the Apple Music app. It isn't perfect, but now it actually has now playing playlist management it is more usable (and empeg-y) than it used to be.
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#372264 - 10/09/2019 10:46 Re: Apple Store [Re: Taym]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14148
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Taym
Duckduck Go did not help much either, I have to say.

Isn't DuckDuck exactly the same as Google (uses Google to do the searches) except with tracking etc removed?

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#372266 - 10/09/2019 11:08 Re: Apple Store [Re: mlord]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5802
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
I don't believe it uses Google for its searches.

It appears to use main Yahoo!'s search data, with extra sources added in.
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#372268 - 10/09/2019 11:41 Re: Apple Store [Re: andy]
K447
old hand

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 716
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: andy
...

It appears to use main Yahoo!'s search data, with extra sources added in.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/DuckDuckGo

Quote:
DuckDuckGo's results are a compilation of "over 400" sources,[14] including Yahoo! Search BOSS; Wolfram Alpha; Bing; Yandex; its own Web crawler (the DuckDuckBot); and others.[4][14][15][16] It also uses data from crowdsourced sites, including Wikipedia, to populate knowledge panel boxes to the right of the results.

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#372269 - 10/09/2019 13:42 Re: Apple Store [Re: tfabris]
tahir
pooh-bah

Registered: 27/02/2004
Posts: 1772
Loc: London
Originally Posted By: tfabris
Originally Posted By: Taym
Case in point: music players for locally stored music (no streaming needed). Are there really so few and so bad music players, in the Apple ecosystem? What music player do u use, other than "Music"? The one good one I found is the Onkyo player.


I remember recently going through this same exercise. I tried a couple for a while and then uninstalled them.

Someday when I have infinite time, I'd like to try writing a music player app which is more like the Empeg in feature set. I was looking for other apps which had good features, and really didn't find any. All the App Store apps did was duplicate that "Music" feature set with a slightly different interface.


I use the Denon app. I tried several and they were all just reskinned variants of Music

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#372277 - 10/09/2019 22:24 Re: Apple Store [Re: tahir]
Taym
pooh-bah

Registered: 18/06/2001
Posts: 2426
Loc: Roma, Italy
I see you guys had my same experience overall, then.
Unexpected! I just assume dthr App Store would offer a pletora of music players. Android has way more.

Yes, I suppose streaming services have shrunk the market for music players. Too bad.

If Tony of anyone ever decided to make an Empeg player app.... You have my money. smile

Oh well. Anyway, Onkyo music player is good. I'll try the Denon one too. Thanks for mentioning it.
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= Taym =
MK2a #040103216 * 100Gb *All/Colors* Radio * 3.0a11 * Hijack = taympeg

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#372282 - 11/09/2019 19:48 Re: Apple Store [Re: Taym]
BartDG
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/05/2001
Posts: 2598
Loc: Bruges, Belgium
Originally Posted By: Taym

If Tony of anyone ever decided to make an Empeg player app.... You have my money. smile

Ditto.
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#372284 - 12/09/2019 10:19 Re: Apple Store [Re: Taym]
tahir
pooh-bah

Registered: 27/02/2004
Posts: 1772
Loc: London
The only benefit of the Denon app for me is it tells you where you are in a playlist, e.g. Playing Track 358 of 594. Not as easy to inadvertently shuffle either

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#372286 - 12/09/2019 14:27 Re: Apple Store [Re: Taym]
tahir
pooh-bah

Registered: 27/02/2004
Posts: 1772
Loc: London
Foobar2000 is available on iOS but it can't see my playlist which is visible in the Apple & Denon apps

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#372287 - 12/09/2019 20:02 Re: Apple Store [Re: tahir]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5409
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
I don't know if this is even the slightest bit relevant, but I use a free program called CopyTrans Manager. I build my playlists by creating a directory on my computer, file by file or even directory by directory, then use CopyTrans drag the whole thing into my iPod Shuffle. No Apple software of any kind required.

[Thank you, Tony, for steering me to CopyTrans about 10 years ago!]

tanstaafl.
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#372288 - 12/09/2019 21:45 Re: Apple Store [Re: Taym]
andy
carpal tunnel

Registered: 10/06/1999
Posts: 5802
Loc: Wivenhoe, Essex, UK
In this case Doug, not directly relevant. We're talking about that app to plays the music with once it is on the iPhone, not which app to use to get the music there in the first place.

But yes, CopyTrans Manager can also be used to put music/playlists onto iPhones, but once it is there you need an app to play it with (either Apple's included Music app or a third party one).
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#372289 - 12/09/2019 22:28 Re: Apple Store [Re: andy]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31321
Loc: Seattle, WA
Andy, your user icon is amusing me because it makes you look like Bill Corbett of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

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Tony Fabris

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#372290 - 13/09/2019 00:03 Re: Apple Store [Re: K447]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12174
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: K447
Originally Posted By: Dignan
... best App Store curator will probably be Google. ...
Google is itself a massively gamed platform. SEO is a thing, as is monetization of search placement and search results.

Yeah I'm not a dummy. You have to be a savvy consumer. It's not like I'm searching Google for a type of app, then click on a link for an app its self. I understand that's how it works. Instead I look for articles ABOUT the kind of apps I'm looking for. I also end up adjusting to search for results from the past year at first and then shrink the timeframe down from that so that I'm not getting information on apps written for iOS 8 or something. I look for multiple articles to get a consensus. I compare that with sources I trust. I ask you folks and add that into the math.

But Google is still where I start because you have to start somewhere. There's ways to game all the algorithms, so I choose to work within that system.
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#372291 - 13/09/2019 00:04 Re: Apple Store [Re: Taym]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12174
Loc: Sterling, VA
I also think that folks like us don't want to admit that usually/often/mostly the best stuff tends to bubble up to the top. We want to think that the PERFECT app is hiding, a diamond in the rough, waiting for us to discover and defend to the death. Hey, it was like that with the empeg, why not everything else? Well I don't know about you but I haven't found that to be the norm. And this is from someone who's tried at least 25 different weather apps (though that's a bad example because I still haven't found one I like). I try lots of them and often it's one of the popular ones that I end up with.
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#372292 - 13/09/2019 02:54 Re: Apple Store [Re: Taym]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3732
Minor data point about app discovery:

I've got an open-source free Wear OS watchface that I've noodled on for the past few years. It smears your calendar free/busy time around the next 12 hours of your watchface. Very handy.

Around last December, I set out to port it to work properly with Wear OS 2.x, which of course doesn't support original Wear 1.x apps (because reasons), and my original app had thusly been unceremonious removed from the store. Here's a trace of the number of installed users of the new app, which I posted with a new name (CalWatch2 rather than CalWatch).



What you'll see is a growth spurt starting in April and firmly ending by July. Why? I have no idea. I answered a handful of relevant questions on Reddit and pointed people at my app. Did that drive the users? Was it tweaks I made to the content description or app name? No idea.

I'm kinda tempted to pay for advertising to Android users, just to see if anything useful comes of it.

And, of course, I suppose I cannot leave a post like this here without the links for installation (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.dwallach.calwatch2) or the source code (https://github.com/danwallach/CalWatch).

Sigh.

Serious digressing post script: Current Wear OS hardware isn't particularly exciting, and the software platform is evolving at a snail's pace. Six months ago, I got myself a Garmin Fenix 5S+, because it does what I need for biking and other athletic things. But it's also a remarkably capable watch with a week of battery life if you don't use the GPS tracking. The only downside is that programming it seems to be an exercise in awful. Some details for the curious: https://www.reddit.com/r/WearOSDev/comments/b6k2ow/has_anybody_looked_at_garmin_monkey_c/

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#372293 - 13/09/2019 12:44 Re: Apple Store [Re: DWallach]
K447
old hand

Registered: 29/05/2002
Posts: 716
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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#372294 - 13/09/2019 17:20 Re: Apple Store [Re: Dignan]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3166
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: Dignan
I also think that folks like us don't want to admit that usually/often/mostly the best stuff tends to bubble up to the top.

Just because it's "the best" (and popular) doesn't make it good. There are a large number of people who aspire to nothing beyond mediocrity. If you can distinquish between mediocrity and excellence in some area -- and care about the differences -- you have to do your due diligence before resigning yourself to accept that what's popular really is the best that's currently available.

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#372295 - 13/09/2019 20:28 Re: Apple Store [Re: canuckInOR]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12174
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: canuckInOR
Originally Posted By: Dignan
I also think that folks like us don't want to admit that usually/often/mostly the best stuff tends to bubble up to the top.

Just because it's "the best" (and popular) doesn't make it good. There are a large number of people who aspire to nothing beyond mediocrity. If you can distinquish between mediocrity and excellence in some area -- and care about the differences -- you have to do your due diligence before resigning yourself to accept that what's popular really is the best that's currently available.

It's weird how the first half of your response miss-characterizes what I said and the second half basically sums up what I said.

Or did you not think that my comments about trusting Google searches extended to using critical thinking when it comes to App Store results? That would be weird.

I think you folks are making this a lot more of a thing that it is. The way I see it, if you don't already know what app you need (because you need it for a service you already use**, for example), here's what I do:

1- Google search for the app category, look for reputable resources in the results
2- See what they have to say and determine if any of the apps jump out at you
3- Go to any other resources you have available for opinions, like social media, or ancient discussion boards for long-defunct consumer electronic devices
4- See what the App Store brings up
5- Compare your notes
6- Try out all of the free apps and any paid apps you're willing to try

Is that crazy? Why is this contentious?

I was just suggesting that the best apps are probably going to pop up on the most lists in your research. That doesn't seem too controversial to me. I didn't even say always, just usually.

I say this as someone who's most-used app is a middlingly-popular podcast app called Pocket Casts.

And if you find that diamond in the rough, then good for you! Congrats!

**this describes probably 90% of the apps on my phone


Edited by Dignan (13/09/2019 20:29)
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#372296 - 16/09/2019 17:01 Re: Apple Store [Re: Dignan]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3166
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: Dignan
Originally Posted By: canuckInOR
Originally Posted By: Dignan
I also think that folks like us don't want to admit that usually/often/mostly the best stuff tends to bubble up to the top.

Just because it's "the best" (and popular) doesn't make it good. There are a large number of people who aspire to nothing beyond mediocrity. If you can distinquish between mediocrity and excellence in some area -- and care about the differences -- you have to do your due diligence before resigning yourself to accept that what's popular really is the best that's currently available.

It's weird how the first half of your response miss-characterizes what I said and the second half basically sums up what I said.

Or did you not think that my comments about trusting Google searches extended to using critical thinking when it comes to App Store results? That would be weird.

Oh, no... it was probably just a poorly thought out/edited response -- more of a "yeah, here's why I don't want to admit it." Usually what happens for me is I try the popular app, see a dozen glaring issues with it, and then say "there has to be something better." Then I'll go through the same process you do only to discover, no, sadly, this is the best there is.

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#372297 - Yesterday at 02:57 Re: Apple Store [Re: Taym]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12174
Loc: Sterling, VA
Gotcha. Sorry about that.

I think the humorous part of this is that I almost never go through this process. I'm hard-pressed to think of apps that fall into this category. Here's a very rough, estimated breakdown of the types of apps I have on my phone:

70% - services I already use (Google, Amazon, social media, banks, home automation)
10% - apps that have so little competition it was an easy choice (a couple woodworking apps like a measurement calculator and a cut list optimizer)
10% - built in OS apps like the calculator that I use because it's on the control center
5% - games
5% - apps I needed to find recommendations for

You could technically lump games into that last category, but I tend to know the games I want to play already.
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