iPhone App Store: the money's there for those accepted. Fancy a go?
Based on guesstimates of how popular iPhone applications in the official iTunes App Store are, the mobile ad group Medialets has suggested that a number of developers have raised significant revenue from sales of their software.
Of course, it isn't at all surprising that users have downloaded a lot of free applications. There's nothing to lose apart from a few minutes installing the application and trying it out. In fact, Super Monkey Ball (which the analysis suggests may have netted Sega $4.9m in its first weekend alone) was the only pay-for application in the top ten highest rated applications.
That doesn't mean people aren't paying for software, though revenue may be declining somewhat per head.
When it comes to paid content, games are very popular. Social networking apps, which tend to be free, are also a major pull.
It will be interesting to see how much smaller developers, many of whom are charging very small amounts of money ($1 or less) are making. Though some may trust their software less than that of the big boys (Sega, PopCap, et al), there's a certain impulse factor when it comes to something that costs less than a cup of coffee.
How else do you explain people paying for a flashlight, when there's a free version? Or an e-book? Or a "game" which is more a concept?
I'm not knocking these apps. Apple obviously deemed them worthy enough for inclusion into the store at opening time - and we aren't privy to their quality control procedure - so hats off to them. Well done for getting in.
Given the relative ease of developing at least simple applications for the iPhone (according to software developers themselves) it may not be too difficult to write something that people will buy, even if it's not the most amazing piece of software ever.
Fancy a go? I'm tempted myself, though I'm not kidding myself that it's really easy to do so, nor that I'd even be accepted by Apple.
Miss out on getting into the App Store, and you might as well kiss the possibility of fame and fortune goodbye. If you can't get in front of the millions of eyeballs browsing the App Store from iTunes and directly from their iPhones, you may as well forget it. Only apps on a small percentage of jailbroken iPhones can be freely installed outside of iTunes, and if money's your goal, you won't make any that way.
It's going to be interesting to see whether accepted applications remain in the store indefinitely, or if they can be removed if better versions of the same software come along. How many "to-do" list applications do we need, anyway?
Will the quality requirements for an application's acceptance into the store increase over time? Have developers who couldn't submit their software in time for Apple's first deadline missed out on a golden period of time? How much more chance is there of someone downloading even a simple, cheap application amongst 500, compared to the thousands of apps which could be in the store in a few months time?
For the small developer, getting Apple's approval probably won't create a millionaire, but it's the best chance most have of getting a piece of the iPhone action.
Now, what app shall I write?
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