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Studying the Apple App Store – is bigger really better?

Apple App Store’s proprietary apps

In a recent analysis by PCWorld, the most popular apps in Apple’s App Store are not exclusive to Apple, rather, they appear on Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Nokia, Palm and others.

The reason this is an important study is that Apple marketing wants you to know that “there’s an app for that,” which is a major selling point, but what it should probably mean is “there’s an app for that and you can find it on any smartphone.”

Perhaps bigger isn’t better? The Apple App store has nearly three times the number of apps as it’s younger competitor, Android.

The advantage Apple does have, however, is proprietary games which happens to be the top app download category. The bottom line of the study is that size of an app store doesn’t matter, it’s how it’s used that matters.

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Resource: PCWorld study on Apple App Store.

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  1. Shock Me

    May 3, 2011 at 9:39 am

    The advantage to the larger app store is the specialty app that can be found no where else. A particular game, a business app created for a particular industry can drive the adoption of the platform. Multi-platform apps are only important for keeping the platform in the game.

  2. Martin Hill

    May 3, 2011 at 10:44 am

    App numbers are important as long as the quality and variety is there.

    How do you measure quality? Well, App download numbers, paid app income and advertising income actually measure the popularity and real numerical and financial wealth and health of each ecosystem.

    By those measures, iOS leads Android by an absolutely enormous margin:

    *App Store Revenue 2009 – 2010* (source: IHS ScreenDigest):
    – iOS App Store grew from $769 million to $1.782 billion = $1.013 billion increase
    – Android Marketplace grew from $11 million to $102 million = $91 million increase

    So annual Android developer income is a meagre 6% of iOS with an annual rate of increase only 9% as large as iOS. The gap between the two is 1,000% and getting far larger every year.

    – Apple captured 82% of the revenue from all app stores in 2010 compared to 5% for Android

    Now you may think that Android developers are instead making their money with many more free app downloads supported by advertising, but that is not the case:

    – 71% of all app downloads were to iOS devices in 2010 according to ABI Research
    – iOS users are worth up to twice as much as Android to advertisers according to Mobclix
    – Millennium reports iOS captured 45% advertising income marketshare vs 38% share for Android in March 2011
    – Net Applications reports iOS captured 3.3x the web browser share of Android in March 2011


  3. Peter

    May 3, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Guess what? This is the same thing that the Mac partisans have been saying for the last 20 years.

    The issue is about the brand. People equate the brand with the ability. For example, for years there was no QuickBooks for Mac. Therefore, Macs couldn't do accounting. Forget AccountEdge or any of the other accounting packages for Macs. No QuickBooks, no accounting.

    Similar thing here: No Twitterific? Then I guess I can't use Twitter. No Angry Birds? It doesn't matter if it has "Irked Avians."

    Of course, the other issue is Apps themselves. There is no NetFlix app for Android. However, you can go to NetFlix and watch movies on your phone just fine–the beauty of having Flash on your phone is that you don't need to waste space on your phone for an App.

    • Shock Me

      May 4, 2011 at 5:40 am

      No but you do have to waste space and battery power on the Flash Plugin every time it is loaded and running. Not that I wouldn't be willing to do so.

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