Schiller on app discovery, Passbook not being a direct payment product

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of all marketing at Apple, talked to The Wall Street Journal yesterday about the app ecosystem, how the upcoming iOS 6 mobile operating system helps third-party developers get better exposure for their software and why Apple’s brand new app called Passbook is not meant to become a full-blown mobile payment solution…

Schiller talked to Jessica E. Vascellaro, the author of the Wall Street Journal article, about Apple’s efforts to help developers profit more from making apps for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

As rumored, Apple’s content stores in iOS 6 have been remodeled with social integration and easier app discover in mind (here’s Jeff’s video demonstration).

Schiller argues Apple’s done a “tremendous amount” to help users discover great software on the App Store:

“The opportunity is the best it has ever been for software developers,” Mr. Schiller said, adding that he thinks the app store is a far more democratic way to sell software than traditional retail stores with limited shelf space.

Apple recently introduced Free App of the Week (akin to Amazon’s Appstore for Android) and Editor’s Choice promos to boost sales of big hit apps. But Apple’s Mr. No is adamant that the charts are not quintessential to app discovery.

Every other day you hear about another app going off the charts. You can still get discovered and get a hit overnight.

And on Apple’s new Passbook app, seen below, Schiller said that “for now” Apple has no plans to make it a direct payment product.

Mr. Schiller said the company is steering clear of making it a more direct payment product, for now. He said so-called digital wallet mobile-payment services are “all fighting over their piece of the pie, and we aren’t doing that.

And “Mr. Schiller”, the steward of Apple’s relations with developers, also touched upon a new set of tracking tools that won’t require UDIDs.

Apple has also introduced new tools for app developers to gather data from repeat users that is more limited than an earlier tool it said it would phase out amid privacy concerns.

Mr. Schiller said the new tools were only a first step and “more can be done to help users have control over what apps and advertisers want to do with data.”

Just don’t let advertisers harvest too much data or else

Apple appears to have not yet taken advantage of its February acquisition of Chomp. Two months later, Chomp, a popular app discovery and recommendation engine, got axed for Android.

According to 9to5Mac‘s Mark Gurman, who pretty much leaked all of Apple’s cards for WWDC 2012, “while Apple plans to use the Chomp technology across their three digital stores, the implementation will not be ready in time for the iOS 6 launch”.

He also claimed “Apple is still planning to roll out complementary store redesigns for computers later this year”.

I still think Apple needs to do lots more to improve content discovery in its digital stores. On top of that, Google’s Play Store is catching up, recently passing the 500,000 app milestone versus 650,000 apps on the App Store.

And while devs still write for iOS first, we’ve seen some notable iPhone exclusives deflecting to Android, like Instagram, Path and Instapaper (though our readers don’t care).

If I were Apple, I wouldn’t put my faith in that Flurry research, which says roughly seven of every ten apps developed are for Apple’s iOS – things change fast in the mobile space.

Right now, app stores are a mess. Their layout and navigation logic discourage discovery outside specific searches and charts.

A better solution is clearly needed and Apple better do something about it and do it fast.

Perhaps Siri will come to the rescue?