Ads 468x60px

Apple Updates Online Store With Touch-Friendly Navigation and Search Result Tweaks

Apple today rolled out a few minor tweaks to its online store , making it easier to navigate the store on touchscreen devices such as the iPhone and iPad.

One change involves a new sliding navigation bar for product categories. From the main store page, once users select one of the four main shopping categories (Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod), the navigation bar at the top of category page showing various products and other topics within that category can now be slid back and forth with the touch of a finger. Users on non-touch devices can slide the bar by clicking on arrows at each end.

A second change involves product search results, which had previously been presented as lists of items. Results are now presented in a grid formatted to allow easy tapping on touch-enabled devices. Users on non-touch devices will also see arrows appearing on either side of each product image allowing them to view all associated product images without having to click through to the product pages.

Apple's change should notably improve the user experience on the iPad, where the large screen can take full advantage of the grid-based search results and where Apple does not have a dedicated app for shopping the store. The company's Apple Store app has been iPhone-only since its July 2010 launch, with Apple believed to be refraining from making it a universal app with a native iPad interface under the view that the iPad allows for a full web experience.

iOS 7 Concept Features Widgets, New Lock Screen, Mission Control and More

Earlier this week, a number of Apple-focused bloggers claimed iOS 7 was running behind schedule and that it would bring a significant user interface refresh.

Designer F. Bianco has posted a set of images to Flickr with some interesting thoughts on what useful changes Apple could make to iOS 7 to improve the user experience. Apple's user interfaces will likely face new scrutiny now that Facebook has laid out a new vision for how phone users interact with their devices with Facebook Home.

One of the more interesting concepts that Bianco shows is a 'widget' mode for apps that allows users to see quick information or change app settings straight from the home screen, as well as a quickly accessible settings screen that can slide out from the side to quickly adjust settings.

Turning Bluetooth on and off, for example, takes four distinct steps and the process could be much improved with a quickly accessible preferences screen.

Apple Continues to Gain Smartphone Market Share in U.S.

comScore today released the results of its monthly rolling survey of U.S. mobile phone users for the December-February period, revealing that Apple's smartphone market share rose 3.9 points from November to February going from 35% of total U.S. smartphone platform and hardware sales to 38.9%. Last month's report demonstrated similar growth for Apple.

Samsung was the hardware manufacturer with the second largest share of the market at 21.3%, up from 20.3%. HTC, Motorola, and LG all experienced slight drops in market share.

Google's Android is still ranked as the top smartphone platform with 51.7% of smartphone platform share, though it experienced a significant drop from 53.7% in November, which was absorbed by Apple.

Apple's share increased 3.9 points to 38.9%, while Blackberry came in at 5.4% (down from 7.3%) and Microsoft experienced a slight jump from 3% in November to 3.2% in February. Collectively, Apple and Google control over 90 percent of the smartphone market, up from 87% last month.

comScore's data tracks installed user base rather than new handset sales, which means it is more reflective of real-world usage but slower to respond to shifting market trends than some other studies.