To read TechCrunch and GigaOm, you’d think that the iTunes App Store is crashing and burning. Both articles have used the overwhelming sales numbers as a catalyst for a “too cool for school” rant about how the App Store and iPhone apps in general are destined for failure.
Steve Jobs released the numbers for the first 30 days of the App Store:
- Total Downloads: 60 Million
- Total Revenues: $30 Million
- Sales Going To App Developers: $21 Million
- Sales Going To Top Ten Apps: $9 Million
- Sales of Sega’s Super Monkey Ball: $3 Million
Both Om and Erick have concerns about basically the same issues:
- Too many apps are being downloaded to be manageable
- Email is the killer app for the iPhone
- Usage is minimal, perhaps in only 5 minute bursts
- Users aren’t using the apps daily
All of this is fairly ridiculous. Yes, email and phone is going to be the killer app for a mobile device. Yes, when the store is new and untested people are going to experiment by downloading many more apps than they will realistically use (and probably realize that while doing so). Yes, apps are going to be used in short bursts – it’s a mobile device! Yes, just like the desktop, only a few apps are used daily while others might be wonderfully useful and only used infrequently.
Don’t pay too much attention to either of these articles – they’re focused both on the writer’s personal usage patterns and the very short term view. Personally, I believe we’re only just beginning to see the potential of a platform like the iPhone. While they might not be “killer apps” for everyone, there are three that excite me beyond belief about the iPhone application platform:
- Jott – Incredibly effective way to create voice dictation notes to yourself, which are then transcribed (and available online, on your phone, or via email). I never use Jott on the Web, as cool as it is but find myself using it daily on the iPhone. Of course, never in more than bursts of a minute or two. That’s the point.
- Pandora – Mobile, customized music “stations” that give me a personalized radio anywhere I go.
- UrbanSpoon – While I’m not using this much, and I don’t think it’s close to “killer app” status yet, I’m excited about the interface design that has me shaking the phone to create an action in the application. I can only imagine what this might allow and encourage UI designers to do in the coming months.
I know it’s cool for tech nerds to bash on new, hyped tech platforms to show off, don’t pay much attention to them. The iPhone and the App Store are a platform that has already created a lucrative marketplace for developers, a significant revenue stream for Apple, and tons of great content for users. If this is what can be developed in the first 30 days, imagine what will happen in the next year!