Apple Emerges as Low-Cost Software Distributor
5. iTunes integration Apple's decision to integrate the App Store into iTunes cannot be underestimated. If nothing else, it brings consumers to a marketplace where, besides apps, they can pick up music, movies, television shows and more. Apple's applications have lured many more customers to iTunes, helping Apple become a leader in entertainment consumption.6. It's going elsewhereApple's App Store isn't solely a marketplace for users wishing to extend the value of their iPhones. The store can also be used by iPod Touch owners who want to use apps while they listen to their favorite music. And considering Apple's iSlate might be right around the corner, it's possible that Apple's App Store will be integrated into the company's rumored device. The App Store will be used in more places in 2010, and that can only mean trouble for the competition. 7. Apple, the distributor Apple might be viewed as a hardware company first, but the App Store has allowed it to become a distributor of high-quality applications. Make no mistake, having that luxury is an extremely profitable business. Rather than spend cash on developing new products, Apple simply provides the store, while independent developers do all the hard work. If a paid application sells in the App Store, Apple benefits at almost no cost to itself. That distribution business will be even more successful going forward. 8. Consumers are engaged Apple has found a way to keep its customers engaged and acquiring more and more applications. The company's SDK (software development kit) does a fine job of helping developers get the most out of their applications. The App Store is intuitive, making it easy to add several applications to a device. Best of all, many apps are free or low-cost. All that combines to make the store appealing to customers. 9. It's not going anywhere Like iTunes when it was only used for music sales, the App Store has quickly become a place where Apple can generate revenue for years to come. That's great for Apple, but it's a problem for the competition. Considering that Apple's App Store is the gold standard in the market, how can the competition find ways to innovate beyond what Apple has done? Worse, how can those other stores expect to compete? 10. It's carrier-agnostic The beauty of the App Store is that regardless of whether a user has an unlocked iPhone, a deactivated iPhone or an iPod Touch, he or she can still download applications, use them at will and keep adding more apps to the device as time goes on. The App Store is independent of all limitations, which makes it available to all users whenever they want. That not only contributes to its success, but also guarantees that as time goes on, Apple will increase its chances of gaining customers rather than losing them to other stores.