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The iOS 7 App Store Opportunity

Marco Arment has a good take on what iOS 7 represents for developers: a huge opportunity to differentiate apps that will inevitably remain stuck on iOS 6 from those that will embrace iOS 7’s new modern approach later this year.

As I wrote today, it’ll be interesting to see how developers of existing apps will adapt to iOS 7’s dramatic reimagination of the OS. I do believe that many will try an in-between approach to a) keep their identity in the jump to iOS 7 or b) target both iOS 6 and iOS 7 with separate interfaces. I either case, I don’t think that’s a great solution. And, I am curious to see how long it’ll take designers and developers to exclusively target iOS 7 with different, custom interfaces – as many have done in the past five years.

I’m also thinking about how the App Store team will handle the transition from iOS 6 to iOS 7, which should coincide with Apple reaching the 1 million apps milestone (I was off by < 100,000 apps). Aside from App Store improvements that I mentioned in the past, I believe Apple should find a way to clearly promote and organize apps that have been built exclusively for iOS 7. The new OS isn’t just tweaking functionalities or refining some UI elements; I find it hard to envision an App Store that doesn’t make any distinction between “classic” and “modern” apps.

In the past, Apple launched App Store sections for apps taking advantage of new OSes or hardware features, and I’m wondering if, with 1 million iOS apps, differentiation between iOS 6 and iOS 7 should deserve another simple section or something more advanced like search filters, “made for iOS 7” badges, or new editorial efforts from the App Store team.

Properly promoting and organizing iOS 7 apps on the Store can benefit Apple, its users, and third-party developers. The App Store’s back catalog isn’t a new topic of discussion, but with iOS 7 and six zeros getting closer, it’s worth reconsidering it.