Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store came out ahead of the competition in a new analysis by Pfeiffer Consulting that compared the three major app stores. The “2013 App Store Maturity Shootout” report examined the iOS App Store, the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play app store, and the Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Appstore. Pfeiffer Consulting noted that they tried to answer two questions in their analysis. “How mature are the three major app stores, and, more importantly, how good could they be?”
As defined by Pfeiffer, “the mature app store should not be envisioned as a simple market place to purchase apps, but as a tool that empowers you to reach the full potential of your device — whatever your interests or level of expertise.” Based on this definition, the consulting firm gave Apple’s App Store the highest overall maturity index score of all three app stores with 53.1 points out of a possible 100. Second-ranked Google Play was given a score of 40.9 and Amazon’s Appstore took third place with a score of 34.1.
Pfeiffer relied on “four specific research angles” to determine the overall maturity index score for each app store. The four different benchmarks and evaluations were: Search, Discovery Assistance and Content Curation, App Store Evaluation Grid, and User Experience Friction. Although Apple didn’t score the highest in every category, Pfeiffer concluded that Apple is “clearly ahead of the competition in terms of overall app store maturity.”
Search options were one area where Pfeiffer noted that Apple could improve. The firm pointed out that the App Store lacks a “natural language search” option. Google Play outranked Apple’s App Store in this category with a score of 33 over Apple’s 25. Despite lacking the “depth” of Apple’s App Store, Google Play was also judged to have less “user friction” than Apple due to its “coherent, easy to navigate structure.”
However, Apple blew away the competition when it came to the Discovery Assistance and Content Curation category. Amazon’s Appstore and Google Play were each given scores of 8.4 and 2.25, respectively. On the other hand, Apple’s App Store was given a score of 44 in this category due to “the largest number of specially selected groups of apps.” The Apple’s App Store Evaluation Grid score of 67.5 was also significantly higher than the competition. Amazon’s Appstore and Google Play trailed Apple with scores of 40 and 42.5, respectively.
Although Apple came out ahead of its competitors in this analysis, Pfeiffer’s report was mostly critical of all three major app stores. “None of the contenders come even close to reaching the kind of maturity that users should be entitled to expect in this rapidly developing market,” stated Pfeiffer.
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