iOS 7’s Worst Feature

Maybe the title is a bit harsh maybe it’s iOS 7’s most pointless feature, albeit a minor feature, however it’s a feature in iOS 7 that may expose a short coming in the entire iTunes ecosystem. It’s a problem that has bothered me for many months. Let me explain. When you first get that shiny beautiful new iPhone, one of the initial set up options is to give Apple your credit card details and create an Apple ID. In turn a user now has access to an almost limitless amount of apps, music, movies and TV shows. However all this content potentially will be locked to the country that your credit card is issued in. To simplify the issue take the following example. You create an iTunes account in the UK and travel to the USA. Whilst in the USA you hear a local band and want to purchase their music. It’s possible that you will see the following message.

“the selected content is not available in your country”

What!!!! I’m in the USA right now, why can I not get this content. No, sadly because your account is for the UK iTunes Store you will not have access to this content. Lets take this one step further. You later decide to take a year out to live in Australia. During your time overseas you learn of some great TV catch up apps. So you proceed to download the app…

“the selected content is not available in your country”

What!!!! I’m in Australia right now, why can I not get this content. No, sadly because your account is for the UK iTunes Store you will not have access to this content.

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Is it clear of the iOS 7 feature I’m referring to?

Apps Near Me

This feature, like “Genius” before is meant for app discovery, a term Apple and app developers will be very interested in due to the lucrative benefits of mobile apps. Basically the App Store will take the users location and present a list of popular apps in this location. So if your walking around London Zoo the theory is you will see the Zoo’s official app in this new area of the App Store. Take this feature overseas and the great idea starts to fall apart. Any foreign tourists may start seeing a glorified list of restricted nearby apps. Now in all fairness the likeness of such apps being restricted to the origin of an account is highly unlikely. But as I said at the start of the post, this feature may expose what I feel to be a massive problem with the App Store and iTunes. Sure you can create a second Apple account for a second country, but Apple devices do not support multiple accounts. This leaves the user having to hot swap accounts just to check and update apps. Very frustrating, not user friendly and not a touch of elegance. Phrases people tend not to associate with Apple. Now it’s oblivious these restrictions apply because of local copyright laws. However Apple’s biggest competitor Google does not seem to have this problem. If you take the same examples from earlier a user with an android device would NOT see the message.

“the selected content is not available in your country”

Because the Google Play store does not determine the content you see based on your Google accounts original creation location. But on a dynamic, always updating geographic location. So if your from the UK and visiting the USA the moment you step off the plane and check the Google play store you will see the US Play Store, the popular apps in the US, in dollars and available for consumption right away. All from your universal Google account and charged to your nominated payment method. If only the Apple stores followed this setup, the future of iOS 7’s worst feature would be a little brighter and so would the entire iTunes ecosystem but more on that another day.

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