Apple is in the process of rolling out new App Store category pages that more closely resemble the main App Store Featured front page. The new pages are live now for some categories, specifically Education and Games, in both the iTunes- and iPad-based App Stores.
Like the main Featured page, the categories that have received makeovers now feature a large banner with a carousel of highlighted apps and app lists, followed by “New and Noteworthy” and either “What’s Hot” or “Staff Favorites” sections in iTunes or on the iPad, respectively. There are now also additional featured apps in blocks between the two subsections, and on the iPad you can navigate between “New,” “What’s Hot” and “Release” date tabs to check out additional features software or the most recently added titles.
It’s not a huge change in the way the App Store works, but it could make a significant difference in app discovery, which has been difficult owing to the size of the Apple’s third-party software library. The App Store continues to grow at a steady pace, and the sheer volume of titles poses an ever greater chance of overwhelming users and burying quality software under a tide of titles that range from so-so to just plain terrible. Having additional feature spots and big, splashy banner ads available for developers who earn them will put more quality titles in front of more App Store customer eyes. Apple also appears to be doing more curation, by creating more lists tailored specifically for each individual category.
If you haven’t opened up the App Store Category pages in a while, take a look at the new ones. You might be surprised to find some hidden gems that are finally out in the open.