App Store success could change software-buying habits

Apple store hits 2 billion-download mark

More than 2 billion applications have been downloaded from Apple Inc.'s App Store, with more than 85,000 apps available to 50 million-plus iPhone and iPod Touch owners worldwide.

The numbers announced by Apple are staggering to even normally reserved analysts, who noted that after a somewhat slower summer buying rate, App Store downloads globally have exceeded more than 10 million a day in much of September.

After the App Store launched on July 11, 2008, it took nine months to hit 1 billion, and only six more months to hit 2 billion, noted Carl Howe, an analyst at Yankee Group Inc.

"The more devices that are out there, the more people want to download software, and they see it's an easy and fun experience," Howe said in an interview. It also helps that Apple has attracted 125,000 developers to its iPhone Developer Program, he noted.

After the one-year mark was reached in July, analysts were heralding application stores, including several imitators of the App Store, as the new way to buy software.

"You don't have to go to a store to a buy a disc and get the ultimate in instant gratification," Howe said.

With the success of the App Store and the growth in other application storefronts backed by BlackBerry, Android and others, "any digital media is fair game," Howe said.

In fact, while games are a big hit on the App Store, both the free and the paid versions, Apple is calling attention to its "staff picks," which include a free app for the complete works of Shakespeare, with a text-sizing tool. In a 28.8 MB app, users get all 40 plays, 154 sonnets and six poems, as well as some works attributed to the Bard, although whether he wrote them remains in doubt.

Howe said one of the secrets of the App Store's success is the large number of devices downloading them, but another is the ease with which the apps are downloaded.

"If you provide a friction-free way of buying things like App Store, which shortens the time it takes from an impulse to buy to actually buying something, you'll sell a lot," Howe said. "There's not a lot of time for buyer's remorse, and it's a lot like going past a magazine stand in a store and paying $US3 for a magazine. There's not a lot of remorse in buying that item."

A Yankee survey of 1,200 U.S. smartphone owners showed that 18 per cent of applications are paid for. However with growth in the average cost of the paid apps, and the growth in the number of devices, the U.S. revenues from applications will grow by 10 times between 2009 and 2013, reaching $US4.2 billion in 2013 . In that survey, more than 70 per cent of all the apps downloaded in the U.S. were games.

"It's interesting that you see how the App Store is doing when it was not that long ago -- about 2001 when the dotcom bubble burst-- that people were saying people would want information to be free on the Internet," Howe noted.

Even the recession has not held back this kind of impulse buying. "The recession doesn't seem to be having an impact. These small impulse purchases are kind of recession-proof," Howe said.

Rob Enderle, an analyst at the Enderle Group, said the two billion mark is "outstanding" given the number of phones available for downloads. Enderle said the application store concept might have come along earlier had bricks-and-mortar retailers not objected.

"The fact is, that with enough bandwidth, there's very little that can't be delivered over the Web," Enderle said. "We're witnessing what will probably be the end of the traditional software delivery model. App Store is an indicator that the times they are a changin'."

Tags Yankee Groupipodapple appsiPhoneEnderle Group

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?