News Analysis: Apple's App Store is now solidly established as one of the most important services this hardware company offers. In 2009 the App Store turned Apple into a major cloud distributor of third-party mobile applications at relatively little cost to itself. And as 2010 progresses, it will likely be the cornerstone for Apple's dominance. In fact, much of Apple's success in 2010 will be directly attributable to the explosive growth of the App Store.
Apple announced on Jan. 5 that users have downloaded over 3 billion applications
from its App Store. It's no small feat. The App Store, which launched in July
2008 with just 500 applications, has grown at an astounding rate and now
has over 100,000 applications.
It hit the 1-billion-downloads mark in April 2009 and the 2 billion plateau that
November. It's becoming clearer than ever that Apple's App Store is the central
feature that adds so much value to the company's mobile endeavors.
But the value of Apple's App Store goes far beyond the iPhone. The App Store
will also contribute heavily to Apple's success in 2010. It will likely keep
the company dominant in the mobile space as it prepares to compete against a
new Windows Mobile version, Google's Nexus One and any new BlackBerry devices that
Research In Motion might be releasing later in the year.
Without the App Store to supplement Apple's offerings, it's likely that the
iPhone wouldn't be the dominant device it is today. It's also extremely likely
that Apple wouldn't hold such a commanding position in the mobile space. Let's
take a look at why the App Store will keep Apple dominant in 2010.
1. Quantity matters
Apple's App Store easily bests the competition when it comes to available
applications. As noted, Apple currently offers over 100,000 apps. The
competition can't even come close to matching that. Google's Android
Marketplace has a little over 20,000 applications. It's trailed by RIM's
BlackBerry App World, which has a fraction of the apps Apple offers.
Applications have quickly become a requirement in today's marketplace. But only
Apple is providing
customers with an app for just about anything they desire.
2. The quality is there
Quantity isn't everything. In order for the App Store to be a success, there
must be value. In Apple's store, there is. The store is filled with
applications for just about anyone. There are high-quality games from major
developers; social apps for communicating with friends on the go; and several
productivity programs that improve personal management. Thanks to the quality
of so many of the available apps in Apple's store, it's likely that, when given
the chance to decide, most folks would pick Apple's devices over all others.
3. Developer support
Apple has the support of a vast community of app developers. Having that
support is extremely important. With it, Apple can provide a unique offering
that users won't find elsewhere. And considering that more
users have iPhones than any other single competing device,
the value in continuing to build apps for Apple's store. As 2010 brings more
iPhone owners to the App Store, we should fully expect more fine applications.
4. A bridge to the enterprise
Unlike the other application stores in the market, Apple's store has
thousands of applications designed specifically for the corporate world. That
will significantly contribute to Apple's dominance in the mobile space in 2010.
The enterprise has yet to get behind multitouch phones. Soon, companies will
need to decide if they want to go with iPhones or an alternative. The more
enterprise apps companies find, the more likely they will be to opt for the
iPhone. Look for more enterprise iPhone owners in 2010.