4 Big Name iOS Apps That Could Do With A Rethink
When a big-name brand with a swelling bank account and past record of providing innovative products and services creates a sub-par mobile app, many of us have to resort to the mobile web or give up altogether. It’s a shame because software that runs natively on your device should perform faster, provide a couple of extra bells and whistles and much of the time allow some limited offline access too.
It’s true that much of the time the app and service is provided for free, but in certain instances the information you have surrendered to the company and the adverts you have stared at for hours on end are payment enough. More importantly why would a company sit back and let the bad reviews come in, lose potential users and let the creation stagnate?
Let’s see who isn’t pulling their weight on the App Store.
From first hand experience, the Facebook app doesn’t work all too well. OK, I’ll say it – it’s terrible. Don’t just take my word for it, there are plenty of reviews on the app store saying the same thing.
Many users report that the app functions perfectly well when first installed, then seemingly becomes bogged down and starts behaving erratically. The ordering of status updates seems to be a repeating problem, with updates from a few hours ago interspersed with updates dating back days.
Facebook Chat isn’t much better either (though the new Messenger app provides a workaround). The app is sluggish to load your online friends and occasionally things go very wrong with no friends listed – just a blank scrolling screen. I’ve had this issue many times, and it seems killing the app is the only way out.
A friend even managed to break his Facebook application to the point of no return. He left the app on a status update, realised he needed to change his password, returned to the app after doing so (back to the status update, he was prompted to enter his new password) and this happened:
See if you can work out how to get “back” from there. Thanks to @AndrewFairbairn for the image!
How do you break an app that is seemingly pretty good? According to Tumblr, removing the search facility is one way of going about such a feat. That’s right, and the app was updated this very month to include “Bug Fixes” – but complaints about the lack of search and angry comments from their legion of users went unheard.
Tumblr doesn’t necessarily owe us anything – we should be lucky to have a mobile app, right? Sure, but what’s the point in leaving out probably the most important feature on just about any website?
Also present on the App Store are a considerable number of reviews from users who are unable to login, despite providing the correct credentials. Bug fixes!
It’s not a bad app this one. At all. In fact, it’s pretty damn good. It just needs an update or two to include many of the things that the full-fat desktop version has had for a while. Implementing Google Street View would be a great start, but there’s more that could be done to make this awesome.
Both Mars and our moon have had the Google Earth treatment for quite a long time on the desktop version. Whilst this isn’t exactly a navigational aid or useful feature, it would certainly make Google Earth that little bit more varied and exciting.
Google Earth desktop has also been used to highlight seasonal events and trails – such as the Tour de France – and it would be great to have access to this sort of thing on an iPhone or iPad.
It was a combination of the tweet below and my sub-par Internet connection that spurred me to include YouTube on the list. No low-quality video streaming option means I can’t actually use it in a lot of situations, instead I have to rely on YouTube’s (thankfully excellent) mobile site.
Of course this app isn’t necessarily bad, but it could certainly use a major update. The ability to choose lower-quality video streaming options would also reduce mobile data usage, saving precious data allowance.
My main annoyance is that YouTube links automatically open in the YouTube app. I then have no way of watching the video because I’m locked into a high quality iPhone optimized stream that takes forever to cache.
There are plenty more problematic apps on the App Store from companies who should know better. In some cases, Apple’s own suite of apps aren’t up to par – but with iOS5 just around the corner we won’t have to wait long to enjoy updated versions of core apps like Mail and Safari, as well as deep integration of Twitter. Let’s just hope a couple of other apps get the updates they so badly need too, eh?
Are you a disgruntled iOS user? Which app has angered you this time? Vent some steam in the comments below.