14 Percent of App Store apps target the iPad

From Distimo (registration required):

  • The number of applications in the Apple App Store has grown from just under 200,000 in April 2010 to over 300,000 in October 2010.
  • The proportion of iPad only applications outgrew the proportion of universal applications during the second quarter of 2010.This trend reversed in July 2010 with the proportion of iPad and universal applications in November being equal (7%).
  • The average price for an application in the Apple App Store for iPad increased from $4.34 in April 2010 to $4.97 in October 2010 (+14.5%). During the same period, the average price of an application in the Apple App Store for iPhone increased only slightly from $3.94 to $4.03 (+2.3%).
  • The average price of the top 100 paid applications in October 2010 is 171% higher in the Apple App Store for iPad than in the Apple App Store for iPhone; $5.80 compared with $2.14, respectively.
  • The lower average price of applications in the Apple App Store for iPhone is due to the fact that a large portion of paid applications are priced at $0.99 (45%), while only 24% of applications are priced at this price-point on the iPad.
  • Angry Birds was the top paid application in both the Apple App Store for iPhone and Palm App Catalog in September 2010. Angry Birds HD was the number three paid application in the Apple App Store for iPad.

  • Ziad Fazel

    Thank you for sharing this information, Horace. Interesting to see the ASP for 3rd party apps roughly similar to that of Apple products – avoiding price erosion over the year, and more expensive s/w for the newer more expensive iPad.

    On proportion of iPad only v Universal apps, it looks like some developers seized the new opportunity for iPad first with sole-platform software if necessary, and then once in the market, began to make their applications universal. Others simply entered the market later with their first application as universal. It would be interesting to know how many developers grabbed the iPad marker first, and others waited until their software was universal. Or to learn of some examples of either approach, and their experiences. Either approach has its pros and cons, depending on the application and market.

  • Brad Larson

    None of these numbers are particularly surprising. As someone who has developed two universal iPhone / iPad applications, one of which having launched with both iPhone and iPad App Stores, I can see good reasons for the statistics.

    The iPad is a different class of device from the iPhone / iPod touch. Despite the claims by many that it is "just a big iPod touch", the larger interface area makes certain applications practical that just wouldn't make sense on a smaller screen. The Omni Group's professional diagramming application OmniGraffle, as well as Apple's Pages, Keynote, and Numbers, are prime examples of this. None of these would work well on the iPhone's smaller screen (and I'd argue they'd have problems on a 7" screen as well), yet they perform nicely on the iPad. Because these are more powerful applications, people are willing to pay more for them.

    Likewise, some of the quickly written simple cash-in titles shoveled onto the iPhone don't work well on the iPad. The iPad isn't something that every teenager has in their pocket, so there isn't as much of a market for these applications.

    As a developer, the iPad can be more difficult to write applications for. This is not because of the underlying APIs or any hardware limitations, but because the larger screen gives you many more options for how to lay out your interface and present information to your users. This increased freedom can be paralyzing, because you need to make tough decisions about interface design. Additionally, you may need more in the way of assets from your graphical designers.

    It also can be challenging to take an existing iPhone application and make it a universal iPhone / iPad one. You have to maintain compatibility with both platforms in your application, and make sure features work across different OS versions (a unified iOS 4.2 will really clean that up). The universal application numbers catching up with the standalone iPad stats shows that iPhone application developers are just now completing their updates that bring the iPad interfaces.

    Apple encourages us to go the way of universal applications, for the simplest experience for our end users (something I agree with), but many developers have wanted to be compensated for the time and cost of developing a whole new iPad interface, so they created separate iPad versions. Many consumers did not react positively to this, so I wonder if other developers are now leaning towards universal applications instead.

    It will be a long while, if ever, before the number of iPad applications catch up to iPhone applications simply because there are more challenges in developing for the device. Likewise, I think we'll see fewer Mac applications on the Mac App Store than the iPad App Store. However, these fewer applications will be more capable and will be able to make developers more per unit. The pricing sweet spot for the iPhone is $1-$10, for the iPad it's $5-$20, and for the Mac I see it being $10-$40.

    • famousringo

      Always great to hear what the actual developers are thinking.

      As a huge app consumer, I always feel like giving a developer a big hug when they put out a free universal upgrade. I don't begrudge developers who put out an App HD and asked to be paid again, because as you point out, it's a fair amount of extra work to redesign your app for iPad. I've even been known to pay for such upgrades when the app is compelling enough.

      But those universal apps are a special treat, and when I'm shopping, that little plus sign represents a certain amount of flexible thinking and customer care that makes it a lot easier to tap buy, even if the price is higher than a similar non-universal app. It feels like a more premium product just because I can buy it once and use it on two devices.

    • Iosweekly

      I think the Mac app store will be larger than the iPad store in terms of number of apps, for the sole reason that there are already a huge number of Mac apps available ready to be sold through the app store with minimal modification.

      • Brad Larson

        As of right now on Apple's Downloads page for Mac software, they list 4843 applications. A number of these will run afoul of items in Apple's published review guidelines, and many developers have stated that they're taking a "wait and see" attitude with the store, so I'd expect significantly fewer applications at launch.

        The iPad App Store launched with around 2000 applications and is now up to about 38000. There's no way that the Mac App Store will come close to 38000 applications at launch. Even comparing the launches of the iPad App Store with the Mac App Store, I don't see the Mac App Store beating the iPad's launch.

        The pace of new Mac applications being released has slowed significantly, with many longtime Mac developers spending a lot of time on iOS applications. It is significantly more difficult to develop Mac applications than iPad ones, for many of the same reasons that iPad applications are harder to develop than iPhone ones. For better or worse, desktop computers are much more complicated than iOS devices, with mouse and keyboard input, menus, multiple windows, etc.

        The Mac App Store will be a kick in the pants to Mac developers, and I do think we will see the rate of new Mac releases accelerate rapidly. However, I see the iPad App Store outpacing the Mac App Store in both the short- and long-terms for sheer number of applications.

        The quality and power of these applications is of course a harder stat to track.

      • Ziad Fazel

        Good points, Brad. When you said 7 weeks that many developers would be taking a "wait and see" attitude with the Mac App Store, were you assuming at the time that Apple would keep operating the Apple Downloads site?

        I would be interested in your thoughts on whether this changes your assumptions. Both of St. Clair's products will have to find a third way to get to market, left without either option.

        Other than jailbreaking, Apple App Store is the only way to get iOS applications. However, for Mac applications, there are many options for developers, from their own sites to well-curated places like VersionTracker/CNET Downloads, MacUpdate, etc. I wonder whether either of these will become even more respected and profitable alternatives to the Apple channel to market, or whether they will be viewed as black/grey market like jailbreaking.


  • CndnRschr

    Personally, I am prepared to pay more for iPad optimized apps. I recognize the effort that goes into putting together a good interface (even with the UI tools) – its not just a matter of dragging code blocks around. While productivity apps are clearly in a different league on the iPad, good games can make better use of the real estate. It is a question of what else you can simultaneously display that programmers are asking. The iPad is far from seeing its best apps yet.

  • Steko

    What I find really interesting (that would be a good third graph) is the ratio in the delta of new iphone vs new ipad apps.

    May: 4.34
    June: 3.00
    July: 1.83
    August: 1.97
    September 2.46
    October 1.91

    It will be interesting to watch that metric over the next couple of years.

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  • Jim

    Horace – great article. Any chance you have updates to these numbers?