You probably have a ton of apps sitting on your smartphone, but how many do you actually use on a regular basis, and how many sit there unopened for months? Though you might continue to use only a small percentage of the apps you download to your mobile device, it appears we still love to spend plenty of time in the App Store, loading up anything that takes our fancy – and it’s not just the free stuff that’s grabbing our attention.
How do we know this? Because on Tuesday Apple said it took more than $10 billion in mobile app sales (including in-app purchases), the most it’s ever taken in a 12-month period since the App Store opened for business in 2008.
In December alone, iOS users downloaded almost three billion apps with sales totaling $1 billion, making the month the most successful in the App Store’s history, the tech giant said, noting that developers have now earned $15 billion through the online store.
Apple said the launch of its all-new mobile operating system, iOS 7, had provided developers with the opportunity to make interesting new apps, or boost the functionality and style of current ones, commenting that “developers such as Evernote, Yahoo!, AirBnB, OpenTable, Tumblr, Pinterest and American Airlines re-imagined the user experience, bringing content to the forefront while increasing the overall efficiency and performance of their apps.”
The Cupertino company also mentioned there’d been a number of “surprise hits” including Ellen DeGeneres’ Heads Up, ProtoGeo’s Moves, Simon Filip’s Afterlight and Kevin Ng’s Impossible Road.
The iOS store now contains more than a million apps for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users, with over half a million native iPad apps currently available.
Rival app store Google Play, which offers a similar number of apps for Android users, appears to be closing the gap in terms of app store revenue, with app analytics company Distimo reporting last year that on an average day in November 2013, global revenues for the top 200 iOS apps hit $18 million compared to Google Play’s $12 million. A year earlier this figure stood at $15 million for Apple’s App Store and $3.5 million for Google Play.
It is of course vitally important for Apple to retain developers and attract new ones to its platform, though if Android app revenue goes on rising, some may be tempted to focus purely on Google’s platform instead, a situation Apple will be keen to avoid.