Posted on March 12, 2009 at 5:59pm EDT. More.

iTunes App Store now identifies reviews by app version

Apple has apparently updated the iTunes App Store, specifically with regard to ratings and reviews.

First, you may now rate an application without writing a review. Previously, you had to write something, unless you were using Apple’s “rate on delete” feature. I hope this will restore some balance by making it easier for people in a hurry to provide a positive rating, although it is still up to developers to direct satisfied customers to the app’s review page. ;-)

Second, and I think this is a big deal, reviews are now tagged with the version of the software being reviewed. Average ratings are computed for both the current version and across all versions. Thanks to this change, I was able to compile following table for FatWatch:

Version ★★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★ ★★ Average
1.4 3 1 4.75
1.3 6 1 1 4.63
1.1 2 3 2 3.43
1.0 1 2 1.67
Total 11 5 2 4 3.86

(In case you think I’m cooking the books, version 1.2 was never released to the public.)

iTunes reports that FatWatch’s average rating of 3 stars is based on 50 ratings but only 22 reviews. With some algebra I can determine that the remaining 28 reviews have an average of 2.32 stars. If those are all from “rate on delete,” that’s seems pretty good.

I think this paints a more favorable (and honest) picture: FatWatch got off to a rough start, but its grades have been steadily improving. I’m relieved, because two of the negative reviews about version 1.0 were voted as Most Helpful and used to appear on the main page.

I’m happy that Apple has improved the App Store in this way. A lot of developers are quick to criticize them, but I know they aren’t out to get me, and that running a huge operation like the iTunes Store isn’t easy.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering what I’m up to and when the next update to FatWatch will be released. I have been dividing my time between FatWatch and consulting, and lately the divide has not been as even as I’d like. I have several pages of ideas sketched out, however, and I’m eager to work on them. The next update will probably focus on improvements to the Trends feature, specifically on making the calories per day number easier to interpret and apply to your goals.