10,000 iPhone Apps: Why We Care And You Should


The Apple iPhone App Store now has 10,000 Applications available for download and we’d like to take a moment to applaude that figure as Google Android sits with only 462 applications in Android Market. The App Store launched on July 11th while Android Market launched in late October, yet some news organizations are reporting the figures as if its some type of apocolyptic foreshadowing of what is to come.

But nope – what’s to come is the rest of this article where we’ll put this thing into perspective using a little… dare we say, logic? Mmmhmmm uhoh no he din’t girlfriend!

First of all, congrats to Apple and the iPhone. I hope Android Fans embrace the success of the iPhone because the successes and failures of that platform can be used to aid the success of Android. A few days ago, Apple announced the most downloaded iPhone Apps to date. If I was a developer I would be taking a CLOSE look at this list and seeing what type of applications have the most potential. This is market research at its best.

While Android and the iPhone have their differences, the core value of enabling consumers with a central hub to download third party applications is close to identical. The iPhone is a few months ahead of Android in the life cycle and Android developers can use that as a guide to follow the relative successes and avoid the relative failures.

And oh my gosh, look at this! Apple just published a list of the top paid and free applications in a number of key categories! Wow, talk about nice research for Android developers, sheesh! Lets take a look at the Top 10 overall Paid and Free apps while we make some distinguishing marks on the graphic.

  • Red Circle = Game
  • Purple Circle = Novelty App

Okay so of the top 10 Paid Applications, 6 were games and 2 were essentially useless novelty apps. Its pretty safe to say that regardless of price, these Top 10 Applications made absolute BANK. Meanwhile, take a look at the Top 10 Free Apps. These are more connectivity tools resources from existing online companies… many of which Android already has.

To me, the clear difference is PAID applications. Android Market will start offering paid applications and I bet you as soon as that happens we’ll see a HUGE influx of games that will have the Android Application numbers skyrocketing. Why would a game maker release these games for free right now when in a couple months they could sell it for a HUGE profit, with a good shot at being one of the Top 10 Paid Applications?

Take that one step further, why would ANY developer release ANY application if one of their main goals is to make money? If iPhone apps as pointless as KoiPond and iBeer made people rich, why not put more work into perfecting their application or making new ones and then release them for .99 cents or so come January? If I was an Android developer, I would be looking at this data and saying, “Time to make some games and creative novevlty apps,” and start churning that stuff out as quick as possible before the Paid Market goes live.

Some would say that FREE is all about the Open Source spirit and I agree, but the lack of Paid applications is the Hoover Dam of Android Market. And I think there could quite possibly be one more big thing holding developers back… Android Developer’s Challenge #2.

Another Android Developer’s Challenge was supposed to have been announced and, supposedly, will be announced before the year’s end. We haven’t heard anything about this in quite awhile but again… there have to be a good number of developers who would, instead of releasing their app now, work on it more and enter it into the Android Developer’s Challenge in hopes of huge monetary compensation. This could especially be motivating those who want to release Free applications.

And lastly… this is a marathon, not a sprint. Right now the Apple OS is limited to the iPhone and while the volume thus far is incredibly impressive, the fact that the OHA is comprised of dozens of world class companies across the globe and numerous manufacturers and carriers all eager to support Android, I see no evidence that suggests Apple will outpace Android in Number of Applications, Quality of Applications, etc… for any sustained period of time.

In the end, the best part of this whole thing is that Apple and Google are being discussed as leading mobile phone entities with the reason being they are offering consumers more. Each market is only in pre-school at this point and we’re already trying to guess which one will go to a better college… it makes no sense.

But what does make sense is these summarizing points:

  • Paid Apps in the Android Market will promote rapid growth
  • We’ll see an influx of Games and Novelty Apps
  • Android Developer’s Challenge 2 is still looming, limiting the amount of new apps to some degree
  • When Paid Apps are launched and ADC 2 is over, we’ll also (likely) see some new handsets, at which point Android will be where the Apple iPhone is now.
  • This is a marathon, not a sprint and ultimately… both of these horses are placing in the money.
Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

Kogan Agora Pro = Android Phone #2

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  1. “And lastly… this is a marathon, not a sprint.”

    Good thing, too, since Sprint doesn’t yet have an Android handset.

    Thank you, thank you. Please, try the veal.

  2. All good stuff and summarised nicely, I do truly believe that when paid for comes along then we will start to see an influx of well thought out and designed applications but there is still one major stumbling block:

    Memory restriction, it really could hinder what developers make in terms of application and money. From and end users point of view people will have to be very careful and choose wisely what they pay for because as it currently stands whereby people can only install to the phones memory and not the SD then you can’t afford to make the wrong decision on something and then have to delete what you have paid for just so that you can install something more suitable.

    I am hoping that as the market develops then OHA/Android/Google do upgrade the phones FW and allow installation to the memory card.

  3. ADC1 alone had more than 1700 entrants, so we should so a great number of those appear on the marketplace once it is opened to paid applications at the very least.

  4. I would think that releasing an earlier version apps (for free) to the end users and collecting some feedback will allow developers to enhance their applications in the right direction. Trying to perfect your application until the Market supports paid apps is a gamble.

  5. @Lior – the one thing about that is consumers tend to get irritated when you give them something for free and then, in the near future, start charging for it. They often view it as a bait and switch EVEN if its for wholesome purposes. That’s the unfortunate truth.

    I would even go as far to give this example:

    Take one application and offer it for free. Then, when paid apps come out, start charging $1.99 for it. People would be irritated. Take that same app and don’t release it until the paid market. Release it for $4.99 or so and people will have no problem with it.

    I’m not saying its right… its just consumer perception.

  6. 10K apps huh? And how many of those are flashlight apps? How many of those are calculators? How many of those are notepads? How many of those are tip calculators? And so on. Add to that how many of those are duplicate apps in some form or another? Apple is the master of spin and bull crap. they have a ton of apps out there. 10K? doubt it.

  7. Finally someone with sense.

    I believe the paid app launch is going to be a fairly big boom. There are apps that won the developers challenge that aren’t in the app store right now like TeraDesk. I’ve gotta believe that these developers are holding out until they can charge for the apps. Google left Android with a ton of areas for third parties to fill in and those parties are going to want to get paid. I have an app in mind right now that I would wait to charge for.

  8. Also you failed to mention to key points –

    a – Apple has a very large (much larger than OHA) userbase on the iPhone and iTouch so many devs start with the largest installed userbase

    b – More Apps, More downloads from more users “it would seem” but I wonder if there is “rough math” way to figure # of apps per person.*

    *Currently I will download many an app to try it on the G1, that counts as a download. I have even downloaded, discarded, seen an update and downloaded again. If OHA could show that their subscribers download more apps then likely there is a compelling case for devs.

  9. @John Doe

    You are right. I’m sure there are some notepad and calculator Android tutorials I could slap a couple bells and whistles on. I’ll charge people 28 cents a download. :) Who cares if it is useful, lets just make sure we get paid.

    Seriously, there is a lot of junk out there on the iPhone. I’m sure there will be on the Android platform as well. The community will just have to make sure people know what is what.

  10. App developers. Need to look at corporate ops solutions…still an open market and first in wins. I’m launching a new company…..need partners.

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