Ahead of the iPad 3 launch, Apple added a new category for catalogs to the App Store. Since the key feature of the next-gen tablet is believed to be upgraded visuals, catalog apps might need to be broken out into their own category, showing off high-resolution graphics and offering a more visual way of purchasing third-party titles.
Both the iPhone and iPad already have catalog apps like Catalog Spree showcasing a number of catalogs with impressive visuals and links to retail sites. This sort of applications was previously categorized under “Lifestyle,” though. A move to their own category suggests that Apple expects publishers to make more use of the App Store to introduce their own products.
Phil Schiller, Apple Marketing VP unusually noted that catalogs belonged to the types of publications that could be created with the help of the free iBooks Author app released in February. The remark could indicate that the company is interested in teaming up with retailers to push catalog applications as an alternative to online shopping sites.
Being a relaxing pastime for a number of customers, flipping through catalogs also keeps them informed on merchant offerings, photography, fashion, cars and other areas of interest for both male and female consumers. Allowing users to indirectly or even directly buy via catalog apps, Apple may seek its tablet to be used as a retail tool for app and media purchases.
Google has also revealed its interest in catalogs, releasing Google Catalogs for both Android and the iPad late last summer. The App Store now has the title listed under the Catalogs category.