Even before AppGratis was famously removed from the iOS App Store earlier this month, AppShopper, a similar app discovery service, had already been there: it was removed from the App Store late last year for similar reasons. It had been so long that I thought I would never see an updated version of the native AppShopper app back on my device again. But I was very happy to find out that AppShopper has recently returned to the iOS App Store with a completely new app titled AppShopper Social (free on iPhone).
The team behind the app announced the news in a blog post on Sunday.
AppShopper Social has a very familiar look and feel to it when compared to the original app. The app name has changed, which means I can continue to use the new app and the older version of App Shopper to find new apps to download. But the big difference in this version is that is no longer lists every app in the App Store in ranked order, which was too similar to what Apple does with its own App Store lists.
If you’re familiar with the old version of the app, what you’ll find missing from AppShopper Social are the What’s New and Top 200 lists. Thankfully the Wish List and My Apps lists are still present and are linked to my AppShopper.com account data. While I may not be able to use the new app to shop for apps that are trending toward the tops of the lists, I will at least be able to track all of the apps on my Wish List again.
Another notable difference from the old app is a switch from a Popular list of apps to a new Stream list. The Stream, as AppShopper calls it, is a continuous list of app recommendations that have been made by the friends you have added to your friends list. Your friends list can be compiled by manually adding other users within the app. You can also enter your Twitter account credentials, which will let you add all of those you follow in Twitter that also have AppShopper accounts as friends. Attaching AppShopper to your Twitter account is currently not required, as I was able to add quite a few AppShopper friends to my list without linking my Twitter account directly.
The current version will not allow you to drill down into your friends list of apps or wish lists directly. It would be nice to see the apps my friends also want to buy, and that is a feature that AppShopper claims to be working on for a future release. Also on AppShopper’s to-do list is a way to make friend discovery an easier task. I can definitely see where I may want to follow one group of friends because they have interesting things to say, and another group of friends because they have interesting taste in apps. AppShopper will also be looking to update the iPad version of the app as this initial release is only for the iPhone, the developers said in their blog post.
The team behind AppShopper is still treading on thin ice with Apple’s App Store rules, apparently: its recent blog post states that “a few features didn’t make the first cut,” referring to the What’s New and Top 200 features. But the developer promises it “will see about returning those features in a future version.”
I am just happy to see the app return as it has been an integral part of my app shopping experience for quite a while now.