And there was much rejoicing. Sort of.

Recently, Apple made a stealthy update to the App Store, finally changing a bit about the way we search for apps. Here’s what they did and how it affects you.

Previously when searching for an application, you could use the search bar or the search tab, type in the name of an application or a few keywords, results would show up, and that was that. You couldn’t filter out anything, from the crappy 1-2 star apps to paid versus free apps, and so on. It wasn’t a big deal if you knew exactly what you were looking for most of the time, but it was kind of a pain.

Some time in the last day or so, Apple’s sneaky update changed that a bit.

Now you have access to some basic filters. Here’s what the new page looks like on the iPad.

Not too bad, right? After typing in a search of some sort, Canabalt in this case, you can apply filters for category, subcategory, release date (filters for last week, last two weeks, and last month), customer rating (2+, 3+, 4+, and 5), price (free or paid), and device (iPhone, iPad, or all).

While not the most amazing or useful update ever, it certainly introduces a few welcome features that should make searching for apps a little bit easier. I wish you could somehow use it to search with just filters instead of requiring a search term, though. It would be nice to see, for instance, all free action games released in the last 14 days with a 3+ star rating. Alas.

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