The 2009 Apple Design Awards were announced recently. It is interesting to note that all the iPhone winners were ‘paid’ applications. Here is the breakdown
- MLB.com At Bat 2009 - $9.99
- Postage - $2.99
- Topple 2 - $2.99
- Tweetie - $2.99
- Wooden Labyrinth 3d (best iPhone Student App) - $3.99
Compare these amounts with the average price for iPhone paid apps of $2.52 and we see that these are all priced higher than average. We can assume that being seleted an Apple Design Award winner shows that these are all ‘Quality’ applications. Being that they are quality applications, how has that affected sales even though these apps are priced higher than the average? Well, quality does equal success in all 5 cases.
Looking at current app rankings, ALL of these apps appear in the coveted top 100 ranking for at least their category in one measured region (as defined by Apple). Here is a highlight:
- MLB.com At Bat 2009 - $9.99 - the most expensive app in the list, is the number 1 sports app in the USA and the number 79 ranked app against ALL paid apps. Very impressive numbers. Hopefully those dollars are supporting the production of the great video and streaming audio that comes along with all the other geat features of this app.
- Postage - $2.99 - out of all the photography apps, this cool electronic postcard app is ranked 33 in the US, 25 in the UK, and it is interesting to note that it is 45 in France and 9 in Germany and it only supports English language right now.
- Topple 2 - $2.99 - following up on the great success of Topple, Topple 2 is currently the #98 game in Canada and it was only released in late March.
- Tweetie - $2.99 - This great iPhone Twitter client (and the one I personally use) is the number 1 or 2 social networking app in US, Australia, Germany, UK, and Canada and in the top 70 of ALL paid apps.
- Wooden Labyrinth 3d (best iPhone Student App) - $3.99 - This app created by Finish student, Elias Pietilä, entered into a crowded genre of Labyrinth games, but the quality use of OpenGL truly gives the game a 3D feel. This plus an available level editor (with over 100+ user generated levels contributed so far) has pushed his product into the top 100 games in Germany and Italy and it has almost bumped into the top 100 games in the US. The free version is in the top 50 games in most regions.
The analysis of these 5 quality apps shows that quality apps can garner a higher price and be very successful.
There you have it, congratulations to the winners, and to those of you working on the next great app idea, remember that quality = $$s.
There are almost 43,000 apps in the iTunes App Store as of this writing. If you are releasing an app right now, you are releasing into a crowded market. Android’s store has less than 3000. Should you stop developing and jump to the android store (or Pre or Blackberry or Nokia?). Probably not (but don’t rule out porting your apps) as there is still only one android phone sold for every 30 iPhones or iPod Touches. The latest iPhone 3Gs is already reported to be on backorder at many places.
In this crowded market, people always ask us “What is the number one way to jumpstart our sales?” Like most marketing answers, there is no simple ’silver bullet’ solution. That being said, we have found ONE sure fire way to increase app sales and jump into those coveted top 100 spots.
Get featured on an Applie iPhone commercial!
According to the few lucky developers that have had this happen, getting featured on an Apple iPhone commercial is second to nothing else. In a good article recently in the New York Times, they describe how Mitchell White’s iBird application went from an average app to number 1 in the reference category after being shown for less than 7 seconds in an iPhone commercial.
Unfortunately, it seems there is no secret or magic formula for getting your app into a commercial. The best way to make it happen is to build a great app that resonates with a solid target audience. So while getting featured in a commercial is key, at the end of the day you need to build and market a great app first. That is a more attainable goal. All the basic app development rules apply.
- Identify and understand your taret audience
- Design an app that solves a problem or provides the right entertainment for your target audience
- Test the idea with your target audience - before you spend all the time developing!
- Be sure the design mirrors the Apple human interface guidelines, in other words, make it look and act right. In our opinion, good designers are as important as good developers when it comes to app store success
- Build word of mouth capabilities or features into the app as much as possible as word of mouth is the number one way people learn about new applications
- Market your app to your demographic in the most appropriate way.
All these things will ensure you have a good quality app that just might become noticed by the Apple iPhone Marketing team. According to our understanding, the iPhone App marketing team goes solely by what apps they think will resonate with the target audience they are going after. As the article says, they are very democratic about the process, whether you are one developer or a company with one hundred developers. If Apple is looking to create a general commercial played on prime time network TV, wide reaching apps are going to fit the bill, if it is a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal then business apps are going to get the focus.
So, if you want a simple answer for how to jumpstart your iPhone app downloads, our answer is “try to get your app in an iPhone commercial”. Of course, if you don’t then at least you will have taken 6 solid steps to building the best possible app for your target market.