Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Response: Why the Number of iPhone Apps is No Longer Meaningful

This is a response to an article from the always excellent John Martellaro of MacObserver.com.   In the article John opines about how it was once important for Apple to tout how many apps were available for the iPhone.  But now with the number of apps exceeding 200K it ceases to be relevant.  What are the relevant metrics then?  Well check out the article to find out, it's well worth the 3 minutes of reading time.

As for my take, the number of apps available for the iPhone was a Big Deal when the iPhone and app store were still reaching out to new customers. It was important to show that the app store had developers behind it and that it was a thriving ecosystem.  Now after 2 years of having the app store and 3 years of the iPhone, I think it’s safe to say that Apple has achieved the respectability and market penetration it desired to call the whole iPhone ecosystem a success.

From here on out, the number of apps doesn’t really matter like it once did, and as John accurately notes it can only lead to ammunition for Apple’s mobile competitors as the Android ecosystem tries to catch up. Time for Apple to make another trademark maneuver and change the rules before the market catches up. Focus on the few remaining markets the iPhone hasn’t penetrated before settling in as the leader not in total market share, but in high revenue market share - just like where the Mac platform sits today.

In the meantime, I would like to see Apple diverst some of its attention back to the iTMS ecosystem (particularly AppleTV, NOW before GoogleTV makes it irrelevant), change MobileMe's iDisk to allow transparent access to you hub Mac's My Documents folder from any iDevice (just like DropBox), and maybe clean up the OS X GUI a little bit more.  They are amongst the few significant holes in Apple's digital hub architecture, but like any hole left open it's just opening the door for a competitor to come in and exploit it.

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