There was no word of it during Apple’s Rock and Roll event this morning, but iTunes 9 and the revamped iTunes Store comes with at least one big surprise: a new section for “Top Grossing” applications on the App Store, which now fits alongside the “Top Paid” and “Top Free” apps on the right hand side of the screen (this is normally the first place people go to check out new apps). So why does this matter?
Since launching, applications in the “Top Apps” lists on iTunes have done very well — if you can make it to the top 50 or the top 10, you can expect to see your sales figures get a very significant boost. Unfortunately, up until now the store has done a poor job helping high quality and more expensive apps get much exposure. Sure, there’s been a “Top Paid’ section, but this was gauged by popularity alone and has been dominated by apps that cost a dollar or two, since those were the apps that people were most likely to buy impulsively. This meant that “premium” apps — say, those running $5, $10, or Heaven forbid, $20 — had a much harder time getting any exposure.
The new Top Grossing section should help with this. Now apps that have sold moderately well at a high price will have a chance to get as much exposure as a cheap app that has sold very well. To give an idea of the difference, here’s a list of the current price of each app in the Top Grossing section, which includes applications that run as high as $99.99. In comparison, the Top Paid section currently has nine out of ten top apps selling at $2.99 or less (the one outlier is at $4.99).
Also worth pointing out — it looks like Apple is heavily downplaying its Free Apps section, which currently only has one application appearing on the App Store’s homepage.