Sometime mid-December 2009, Apple quietly redesigned their Application store in iTunes. This is the kind of crazy thing you can do when you have tons of identically formatted content. If the app store was a WordPress blog, it would be as if they had installed a new theme.

I like the new design quite a bit. Here are some of the things I’ve noticed:

  1. They’re hiding the full text of the app description now, until you click a “…More” link. Not sure how they decide where to split it, although it looks like they’re just showing the first paragraph. In the case of my game, ActionChess, I only have one sentence for my first paragraph. I might try putting some more text after that first sentence, because that description looks a bit short now.
  2. They’ve removed the “web 2.0-style” reflection from the large application icon!
  3. Links to the application’s website and support website have been given a bit more prominance in this design, moved all the way above the screenshots, in bold text.
  4. The screenshots are now in a scroll box (which scrolls to the right), and you can no longer click one to see the next one. That seems like a poor choice to me. They could easily have kept the “click to view the next one” in this iteration.
  5. The triangle next to the application price opens a drop down menu with the following options: Add to Wishlist, Tell a Friend, Copy Link, Share on Facebook, Share on Twitter. These are very exciting to me. I’ve been using for my app wishlist for a while now. I’m definitely going to try out using iTunes for my wishlist, and see how that works. The Twitter share is very nice in that it simply takes you to with a URL filled in to the update box for you. You can customize the message before posting it.
  6. Unfortunately, just like a webpage with a fixed-width design, if your iTunes window is too narrow, this design hides some things behind the right “fold”. The “…More” link to view the full description will be hidden, as will the paging for reviews and “report a concern” links next to each individual review.
  7. Finally, there is a new element they’ve added to each application page, a section that highlights other Applications “Customers Also Bought”. This probably uses the same technology behind the “Genius” feature for apps, which I have only played with a bit. Browsing these has so far been a bit disappointing to me. I haven’t found any must-purchase apps by looking through this section thus far.

The only screenshot I could find for the old app store design was for the free Citibank app, so here it is compared with the new design:

Old Design

New Design