Half a million apps!



Half a million apps! 


Yeah…but… me the iphone owner says… how many apps are really good ones and how many are crappy ones or just another means of advertising that pale over time and then become an unused icon on a page.


On my phone the number one app I use is AuthAnvil, a two factor authentication app.  After that it’s Messages, Photos, the Camera, Gas Cubby for keeping track of gas mileage, maps  (and it’s amazing how many times we end up using the best of two out of three phones or gps units as they tend to not agree on locations and directions, but I digress).  Then, okay so I have the Kindle app on there but I really have to be bored to use it as the iphone is too small to read from.  Even Elena Kagan reads court briefs on her Kindle (see http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2010/12/justice-elena-kagan-kindle-over-ipad-and-other-supreme-court-insights.html) but I bet she’s not doing it on her iPhone but on the actual Kindle. 


Then there’s Logmein on my iPhone, better known as iAmReallyDesperateAndMustNotHaveMyLaptopWithMe as it’s really painful to use for remote access.  Scroll, scroll scroll finger expand finger expand… etc.etc….


Maybe Tweetdeck, but only for reading tweets, not posting them.  Sigalert … better known as.. the web page that reminds me why you don’t want to live in Los Angeles… is a web page, not an app. 

When I’m traveling AroundMe is helpful to know what is around me…but when I’m at home I already know what is around me so I don’t use it around me.

If I was more into ebay (I’m not) I’d find the ebay app to be of use.  My sister uses it and is one of those annoying people that swoops in at the end of the bidding. 


So for all of those 400,000 apps on the iphone download page, there’s about 395,000 that really aren’t very good.  Of the 5,000 apps that are left, the vast majority of them are games.    


So really.. in the ecosystem of applications that are in a smart phone inventory… honestly?  Is even 1% of those apps ones that you use on a long term regular basis at all times?  Or are the vast majority of them marketing and advertising related that end up on you iPhone for a rainy day that you get bored?


Sure there’s 400,000 apps.. but is the ecosystem of apps filled with really GOOD apps or just a lot of marketing and ‘let’s build an app and get rich quick’ kind of apps?

Can you name me 10 apps that you use DAILY?  A screenful that you do daily?  And are the rest only there for rare use? 

Is that ecosystem of 400,000 apps a really healthy one of GOOD solidly developed applications?  Sometimes I wonder.

3 Thoughts on “Half a million apps!

  1. Craig Chambers on December 27, 2010 at 11:25 pm said:

    I think you are missing the point.

    First, use this same logic with a Windows Desktop OS. How many apps are there in the world, how many are “good”? In any app ecosystem there will always be a (low) percentage of good apps vs. total apps. (Thought your definition of what good is many differ from mine.) I think what is important to consider is does 400,000 apps in 2.5 years indicate a vibrant developer community and by extension a vibrant growing platform that people are interested in. The number isn’t so important so much as the growth. What the number shows is that there is a lot of interest in the iOS platform (also shown that in the fact that most multi-platform apps originate on the iOS platform as apposed to Android or Windows Phone (unlike in the desktop space, where one could argue the Windows platform has the “develop for first” lead).

    Second, A far as the assertion that that it is only the apps that you use regularly that are important, I disagree. There are several apps I use on a regular basis and they are indeed very important but there are also many apps that I have (I only have 3 games on my phone out of 100+ apps on my phone) that only serve a useful purpose occasionally or rarely but that doesn’t negate their importance. For example I do not travel frequently, but when I do Gate Guru is very valuable to me at that particular moment. The same could be said for my auto repair app and my insurance company app. They aren’t important until they are needed, and then they are needed.

  2. Apps I use regularily:
    The Weather Channel
    Navionics (during boating season anyway)
    The Onion News Network (not every day but often enough)

    Apps I use on occassion:
    Ace Casino
    Bakodo (bar code reader for product information)
    Public Radio
    Sit or Squat
    PS Express
    Trip IT
    Tweet Deck

    Of those only Navionics cost me money. All the rest are advertising driven, which is fine for iPhone use.

  3. Joe Raby on December 29, 2010 at 6:43 pm said:

    I find the readability of apps in WP7 a lot better than on iOS on the iPhone (I have an iPad, but I’ve seen the same apps on the iPhone, so I know what I’m talking about). For instance, IMDB is a mess on iOS, but it’s a joy on WP7. The Yellow Pages (.ca) app on WP7 has much nicer navigation than iOS too.

    It seems that iOS favours sliding content around rather than static pages as a whole.

    A few things I hate about iOS autocorrect that WP7 doesn’t do:

    1. When you move the cursor around during text entry (or sometimes just backspace at the wrong time) it wants to capitalize the word that you’re typing even if no period precedes it.
    2. It doesn’t learn any words. When I type my email address (which contains my name), no matter how many times I erase and correct it, it automatically capitalizes the name part (which doesn’t work).
    3. It doesn’t contain Canadian spelling. See point 2.
    4. It always replaces words automatically (WP7 NEVER does, but it still offers suggestions – and not just one, but variations with suffixes too).

    Note: every single one of these behaviours negatively affected the typing of this note.

    I like the “typography-as-a-design” concept of the Metro UI. It works a lot better on the small screen than iOS, but iOS does work better on a larger screen. It’s no surprise that Apple started their tablet work on a larger device. Had they actually started on a small device like the iPhone, iOS might have looked a lot different.

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