The App List from The Sunday Times – Why?

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The App List from The Sunday Times

The Sunday Times has produced a listing of mobile apps. They’ve humbly titled it ‘The App List’ and stuck with the theme in their short description of the list:

Sunday Times writers and experts have hand-picked the 500 best apps in the world, in one  easy-to-use interactive guide.

Today they’ve offered up the first half of this great marvel of app listings. I love a good list as much as the next guy, especially if it focuses on mobile apps – but sadly this one is far from a good list. I wouldn’t even call it a decent list. It’s a strange and lame list more than anything. Here are just a few reasons why:

— For starters, the whole premise of The Sunday Times picking the 500 best (mobile) apps. They don’t even qualify things by saying mobile apps, but that’ what it is, or what it’s trying to be. They don’t offer any background on what criteria was used to choose the apps on the list, why they chose the platforms they did, or anything of the kind. And really, when it comes to mobile apps, you immediately think Sunday Times right? Why they didn’t use some real experts from around the web or print journalists who cover the mobile space, or even to their readers, is beyond me.

— The idea that it is a list of the best apps in the world is a bit of a stretch, as it seems heavily UK focused. To be fair, there are more than enough US-centric lists around – so the UK bias isn’t that big a deal, but it would’ve been better not to use that wording in describing the list.

— The categories of chosen apps are bizarre. Just as one for-instance, Evernote – which is a note-taking app in the Productivity category of the App Store – is a selection in the ‘Problem Solvers’ sub-section of the Reference category. What?

— The selections in some categories are surprising to say the least. The News category for example features The Sunday Times and The Times right at the top and The Sun and The News of the World (also published by the owners of The Times) in the top 5. Thoroughly objective choices there I’m sure – though funny how I cannot recall seeing those apps being chosen in anybody’s else list of top news apps.


— Even more bizarre than the categories within the list are the mobile platforms covered. Or not covered would be a better way of saying this. They’ve included both iPad and iPhone, raher than showing any understanding of mobile and combining them as iOS.

They’ve also chosen to include Blackberry, Windows Phone 7, and Nokia (which OS?). This makes for some excellent unintentional humor within the list – because all the categories have check boxes for each platform alongside each app, and huge swathes of these show zero ticks within the Blackberry, Windows Phone 7, and Nokia checkboxes.

There’s not a single tick for Windows Phone 7 or Nokia in the Sport category, just as one example. Even Android is not well represented in the lists. The more you browse through the categories the more you wonder why they bothered including these platforms only to show a ton of empty spaces by their names. If this was going to be 99% a list of best iOS apps, then they should’ve just titled it and done it that way. It just looks farcical the way it is.


The  bottom line is if you’re going to do a list – especially if you’re going to call it ‘THE LIST’ kind of thing, it’s probably a good idea to really know the subject of your list inside out. This list looks like one slung together by a group of ‘experts’ who are clueless about their subject.

Oh, and of course the ‘easy-to-use’ part of the list’s description proves absolutely false in using it on the iPad. The navigation in the lists is terrible, almost non-existent and it’s awkward to use all-round.

So … if you really enjoy a good list of iOS or mobile apps, you’re going to want to avoid ‘The App List’ altogether. If you just want to laugh at the lack of apps on Windows Phone 7 and ‘Nokia’ then by all means dive in and enjoy. You can find it as a section in the Sunday Times iPad app or at the Sunday Times online.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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One thought on “The App List from The Sunday Times – Why?”

  1. I thought the App List was heavily biased towards Apple, which just destroys its crediblitiy in my opinion. Why list iPhone first when talking about apps? Are there more iphones than androids? Are there more apps available in ios than android? Does i come before A in the alphabet?


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