The Revamped Apple Store App

Almost exactly one year ago we took at look at the brand new Apple Store app for iPhone, which allowed you to browse, find and make appointments at local stores as well as actually purchase products right from your phone.

Recently, Apple upgraded the app with a few new features. Today we’re going to take a renewed look at the app to see what you can do with it and whether or not it deserves a spot on your home screen

Browsing Products

As always, the app launches you into the “Featured” section of the Apple Store, where the iPad 2 is currently taking center stage along with a few notable Apple and even third party products. From here you’re only a few taps away from purchasing any of these products.

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The app makes it easy to find what you're looking for

Also as before, the bottom navigation is split up into five sections: Featured, Products, Stores, Search and Cart. If you don’t see what you want under the “Featured” section, jump over to the “Products” tab to get a look at everything you can purchase.

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The Products tab

Browsing is extremely intuitive and is a nice mix between large, beautiful icons and list-based information. If you’re looking for one of the flagship products, you’ll find it in seconds. If not, the app holds your hand pretty well and leads you right to whatever you’re after quickly and painlessly.

Build a Mac

The previous version of the Apple Store native app was almost unforgivably limited in its Mac-purchasing abilities. If you didn’t want the default configuration, you were in the wrong place because that’s all you could buy.

However, the newest version has thankfully moved beyond this limitation and now offers the same customization features that you’ve seen on the website for years.

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Customize your Mac with a few taps

With the new app, you have the freedom to choose to upgrade your memory, hard drive, graphics card, Apple Care and more. Options are presented as a simple list with checkmarks and you just scroll through the list and tap the options you want. It couldn’t be any easier.

Physical Store Features

Even if you’re not buying a new Mac any time soon, the Apple Store app has always been great for finding physical stores in your area, making appointments and keeping an eye on events. I’ve used the app several times to book a spot with the geniuses recently and loved how quick the process was.

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Finding a store near you

The new app has taken a seemingly small step that I think could be revolutionary for retail chains in the long run. When you walk into an Apple Store, the app now interacts with you in the same way that a salesperson would: it tells you how many customers are in line, when the next available genius appointment is and when you can expect to see the next workshop start.

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The new location-aware store features

At just about every Apple store I’ve ever been to there’s usually a wealth of employees standing by to help you, but it’s still great to have this kind of information at your fingertips, even if you’re standing right outside the store. I can easily imagine other retail chains picking up on this and creating apps that interact with you in unique ways as you enter and explore their stores.

Still No iPad Version

The biggest disappointment with the new version of the Apple Store app is that there is still no iPad-optimized version (you can just use the small iPhone version). To be honest, I’m fairly clueless as to why Apple didn’t include one. Every single feature found in the iPhone app would prove just as useful to iPad owners.

Much like the iPhone did a few years ago, the iPad has really reached a new audience of people who were making their first major Apple purchase. Reaching out to these new customers with a store app that entices them to browse the rest of the product line simply makes too much sense for Apple to ignore for much longer.

What Do You Think?

Go download the Apple Store update and let us know what you think. Do you ever use this app? If not, will these new features make it more useful to you?

Also be sure to comment on whether or not you’ve seen any other retail store apps that respond uniquely to people who happen to be standing in the store. This is a promising market and I’d love to see some more exploration in how to make it both fun and useful for users.


Summary

Browse the Apple Store, build custom Mac configurations and purchase products all from your phone. You can also find and make appointments at physical stores. When you walk into the store, watch as the app informs you of important location-specific information. Unfortunately, iPad users are still left out!

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