by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
apps, iphone, popularity

Early Warning Signs: iPhone Apps Might Not Be As Popular As Believed

from the people-don't-use-them dept

While the iPhone App Store is being used by some as an example of people willing to pay for software, people might want to wait before declaring the store a complete success. New research is coming out suggesting that many apps -- both paid and unpaid -- don't get much usage after they're purchased. The further out you go, the fewer and fewer apps people use. While this may mean that Apple and some lucky developers are making money from users who spend on apps they don't use, this should actually be an early warning that the App Store and the various apps in there aren't really delivering the value that users are expecting. That doesn't bode well for the long-term sustainability of the system. If people feel they're spending money on apps that don't have much value, they're going to be a lot less likely to come back later.

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  1. identicon
    Bill W, 26 Feb 2009 @ 4:21pm

    Missed the point, I think

    I think the original article misses the point completely. I have many apps, many, many apps come to think of it, that I have purchased over the years for my PCs (originally) and my Macs (now) and a few of them don't get much use at all. I am finding the same situation on my iPhone.

    But so what? People probably had fewer apps that went unused on the desktop platform because those were comparatively expensive. With the 'phone a lot of apps are free or a buck or two. So I am MUCH more likely to pay to try an app out even if it turns out that it wasn't that useful or interesting in the end.

    But just because I have a higher percentage of "uninteresting" applications piling up on the phone there can be lots and lots of them until I get to the eighty bucks or so that a desktop app might have set me back. Plus, if I buy an uninteresting app from Company A I would be doubtful about getting another from the some company. But on the 'phone there are 1000's of developers and the taint of uninteresting doesn't necessarily go beyond the original app and that developer.

    So, no, I don't think the momentum is likely to be killed by unused apps any more than the likelyhood that you'll stop buying cookies in the market if you bought one kind that you didn't care for. If you find you don't like Nabisco cookies you may stop buying them but may still consider Keebler.

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