Keep in mind I was on the record very early saying that Apple’s App Store was going to be a big game changer. That bit of history refreshed, I wish I had the temerity to play with numbers in my business the way Apple does with its App Store. Today Apple is trumpeting that it has over 85,000 apps available in the App store and that consumers have downloaded over 2 billion of those apps. Both are big marks and deserve to be celebrated, but I don’t think anyone believes the numbers tell the entire story.
First, there are no distinctions made between paid and free apps. Second, if I and a couple of colleagues and friends are any indication, there are quite a few apps that get downloaded (especially free) that get tossed away after a quick look. Think of them as novelties that, thanks to the easy point of purchase (or download), you can put on your device, play around with, then discard just as easily. Apple is helping to create a culture of the “App as disposable entertainment.” Third, if you watch the feeds of various services fly by that chronicle new iPhone apps, you’ll notice that there is a large volume of repackaged material (public domain books, guides, novelties, flatulence apps, etc…) that run up the count.
Again, Apple deserves tremendous credit for how it changed the landscape with the App Store, easily judged by the number of me too App Stores that seem to surface with regularity. But, I think we all know that the numbers game is just a game in the end.