The Growth and Growth of the Apple App Store

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Since the App Store was officially launched on July 10th 2008, it has had a profound impact on Internet and Mobile Phone Usage. It is arguable as to whether the iPhone was truly the first smartphone, but its combination of messaging, telephony, email access, web browsing - plus its myriad of useful utilities and applications, really blazed the trail for all others to follow. Where Apple and Google now lead, Microsoft, Nokia and the other former leaders of the mobile phone sector are desperately scrabbling to catch up.

Wired Magazine went as far as to proclaim ’The Internet is Dead!’ based on the now increasing dominance of smartphone and tablet devices - which rely increasingly on custom applications to deliver their content and services. What Wired failed to mention, is that most of the service applications still rely on Internet Hubs to provide them with their content. Two of the most used - Facebook and Twitter push everything through their respective websites. Twitter is an interesting service, as increasingly users of its services typically totally bypass Twitter when posting to it or receiving updates from it. This is in part what led to Wired’s headline, as well as recent efforts by Twitter to introduce its own Dashboard style interface on its own website.

The smartphone really is about a series of convergences and consolidations - it’s not that long since I left the house with 4 items in my pocket - phone, iPod, wallet and keys. My iPhone now serves the 2 first functions, and as you may have read on other blogs on this site, I am pretty sure that before long, smartphones will contain electronic wallets, and control keyless access to domiciles and other buildings. My brother Markus’s preferred reading device is his iPhone - he though that the iPad might supplant his affections in this area, but that has not been the case. Recent announcements from Samsung concerning its Galaxy Tab and its use in Home Automation, lead me to believe that such applications - alongside home security, personal ID - even passports and contactless payment systems - these will all find their way onto smartphones within the next year or two.

The App Store has grown to 253,934 applications in a little over 2 years, and has seen 6,500,000,000+ downloads of said applications. Latest category breakdown are as follows:



Active Apps by Top 10 Categories - September 2010


  Category ~ Units ~ (Percentage%)

  1. Books ~ 45,876 ~ (17.44%)
  2. Games ~ 37,866 ~ (14.40%)
  3. Entertainment ~ 29,671 ~ (11.28%)
  4. Education ~ 20,491 ~ (7.79%)
  5. Lifestyle ~ 16,919 ~ (6.43%)
  6. Travel ~ 16,168 ~ (6.15%)
  7. Utilities ~ 16,789 ~ (6%)
  8. Music ~ 10,969 ~ (4.17%)
  9. Reference ~ 10,199 ~ (3.88%)
  10. Sports ~ 9,028 ~ (3.43%)

Other ~ 50,092 ~ (19%)



Thinking of how I use my iPhone, my top 10 activities would roughly be:

  1. Messaging / SMS
  2. Music / iPod
  3. Web Browsing - factual lookup (Google / Wikipanion)
  4. Mail
  5. Weather (Native and WeatherPro)
  6. Google Maps
  7. Phone!
  8. Other Reference - Travel, World Stats etc. - various applications
  9. Games
  10. Calculator

(Note - this is based on frequency of use, if based on time taken, Music and Games would come top!)



10 Personal Favourite Apps (in no order)

  • Tube Deluxe - Essential London Underground utility
  • Snapture - Great camera app
  • Photo Transfer - Wireless transfer of snaps
  • Wikipanion - Best Wiki application
  • BBC iPlayer - Great for catching up with BBC TV content
  • Flixster - Perfect for looking up movies and cinemas on the move
  • Skype - Great for phoning friends and family
  • Facebook - Good for checking on who’s up to what
  • RadioBOX - Favourite Internet Radio app
  • AppBox Pro - The ultimate Swiss army knife of utilities

10 Personal Favourite Games (in no order)

  • Plants vs Zombies - The ultimate tower defence game - beautifully rendered
  • N.O.V.A. - Best first person shooter on iPhone to date
  • Osmos - Beautifully rendered amoeba absorbtion physics-based game
  • Fragger - An improved, update of Angry Birds - with grenadiers and terrorists in place of birds and pigs
  • Mirror’s Edge - Slick horizontal scrolling running and jumping game with best iPhone graphics to date
  • Peggle - Classic marble shooting casual game
  • Beyond Ynth - Beautifully rendered puzzle game - can be infuriating though
  • Meteor Blitz - Excellent update of Asteroids format
  • Field Runners - The best tower defence game before Plants vs Zombies came along
  • Spider (The Secret of Bryce Manor) - Ingenious Spider web-spinning and jumping game
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