Some Stats that you should know about the Iphone App Market

business-man-climbing-up-blocksWe all know that the iphone app market has been growing like crazy since it launched….   We want to help keep you up to date on the amazing growth of the app store….  Here are some quick #s to keep you up to speed on the growth of the market:

  • The app store has been open for just over 9 months.
  • There have been over 1 billion apps served.
  • There are over 30 million devices sold (between the iphone and itouch).
  • There are over 35,000 apps available on the itunes store.
  • The average iphone user downloads over 20 apps (some say more than 40)
  • In the first month there was over $30 million transacted on the app store.
  • The app store is growing quicker than itunes.
  • Number of app users is growing at about 10% per month - Comscore

Source - AdAge

Are you the next iphone app millionaire?

We’ve all heard the stories…. independent developers make millions by building a random yet wildly popular iphone app.

Wired recently wrote about app developers who went “from rags to riches” with their apps.  Take, for example, Steve Demeter - the app poster boy. His wildly popular game Trism sells for $5 (a really high price point for the app store) and it is estimated that he’ll make over $2 million from his app by July.  Steve has been featured in a video by Apple, and on CNN and a number of other news sites.  He built the app himself with some help from a friend and a designer (who he paid $500).

In a sense, the App Store, despite its corporate ties, has created an open market where developers can strike it rich with minimal resources — even out of a garage — so long as they possess the talent and the time. - Wired

What is the secret to Trism success?  According to Demeter:

  1. Unique Gameplay
  2. High Replay Value
  3. An online leaderboard that creates community

We’d also add a few things:

  1. He got in Early - When the app store launched there were only a few thousand apps; now there are over 25,000.  It is harder to stand out.
  2. Already been tested - the game was launched as a free version for jailbroken phones prior to the launch of the app store - the bugs were worked out before he started selling the app.
  3. Momentum early on - Gaining early momentum matters in the app store.

What do you think makes an app successful?

Cell Phones Are Changing Everything (just in case you didn’t already know that)

Cell Phones Give Us More

Last month NYTimes columnist John Markoff wrote a great article called The Cell Phone, Navigating our Lives.

The cellphone is the world’s most ubiquitous computer. The four billion cellphones in use around the globe carry personal information, provide access to the Web and are being used more and more to navigate the real world. And as cellphones change how we live, computer scientists say, they are also changing how we think about information.

Think about that.  The smartphone and especially touch phones like the iphone, storm and HTC are making it easier than ever to get information on-demand.  We are consuming that information every day.  

Powerful apps for these platforms don’t simply take a website and put it into an app.  They provide unique value.  A newer, better way to get and process information.

With the dominance of the cellphone, a new metaphor is emerging for how we organize, find and use information. New in one sense, that is. It is also as ancient as humanity itself. That metaphor is the map.

The Power of the MAP

“The map underlies man’s ability to perceive,” said Richard Saul Wurman, a graphic designer who was a pioneer in the use of maps as a generalized way to search for information of all kinds before the emergence of the online world.

map-pinpointHmmm - the power of the map.  Not only can you find great restaurants, the nearest gas station and how to get to the closest Starbucks, you can also stalk (errr…. track) actual people.  Google Latitude is a great example - you can find out where you friends are (like BriteKite, which never really caught on).  The power of the map and of location is HUGE, and we are only just beginning to see apps that really take advantage of this data.

There is even a company involved in making money off of tracking you, Sense Networks, a New York City firm that mines the millions of digital trails left by cellphone users for marketing purposes.  This is both very cool and very scary at the same time (data privacy anyone?).

Why are maps and location such a powerful concept?  They unite the “real world” with the cell phone world.  Marketers and app programmers now know where you are in the real world and can use this information to provide services and incentives for behaviour.

Imagine If…..

Think of the power.  Seriously. Marketers or Google or whoever will know that you have been to 5 car lots and are thinking of buying a car.  They know that you go to Starbucks every morning but are sometimes open to Duinkin’ Donuts.  They know that you spend 45 minutes in the pet store each week (you must really love your dog).

For a generation of older Americans, exposing their precise location around the clock to an army of little brothers for marketing and advertising purposes is a privacy invasion.

But Just How Big Will Maps Get?

  • About 10 percent of cellphone users take advantage of map features, according to the market research firm M:Metrics.
  • 24 percent of those interviewed wanted GPS mapping capabilities on their next phone (according to LJS)
  • Only 19 percent wanted an Internet connection (According to LJS)

We are still only beginning to realize how the power of smart phones will change our lives.  What do you think?  Are cell phone maps the game-changer for how we live our lives?  Is providing our location a violation of privacy?

-Krista Neher

Iphone App Store is More Competitive than Ever: Venture Beat

Last week was a big week for the iphone app community.  Apple unveiled some big things with the release of the Iphone OS 3.0 including peer-to-peer bluetooth play and more robust features for pricing apps including purchase within apps and subscription models.

While the possibilities are huge, the reality is that for app programmers, it is harder than ever to really make your app stand out.  In their presentation apple featured individual programmers who have had success with iphone apps, but as more bigger players join the game it is going to become increasingly difficult for individuals to develop successful apps.

“With more than 6,700 games on the iPhone, and more than 2,000 of those free, according to Mobclix, it’s becoming harder for developers to draw users to their games. Venture-funded companies such as Ngmoco, Zynga and Social Gaming Network are moving in fast. If your game dips below the top 100 games, it’s almost impossible for users to discover. Apple highlights cool games on its web site, but being selected is like winning the lottery. While viral social games spread from friend to friend, it’s easy to get lost.” - Venture Beattug-of-war

And that’s just games.  There are now over 25,000 apps on the app store.  It is also important to note that there are currently only 17Million iphones and 30million devices with the iphone OS (phones plus ipod touch).  The total market potential is still huge.

Keith Lee, chief executive of startup Booyah, predicted that the iPhone and iPod Touch installed base would reach more than 100 million by the end of 2010. That’s far faster than the nearly six years it took for the Nintendo DS to reach the same number.

The growth is a lot to get excited about but as a programmer or a company with a new app, how will you make your app stand out?  How will you embed word of mouth and viral spread into your design upfront?

- Krista Neher


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