According to a press release from Cupertino yesterday, Apple’s App Store delivers roughly 6.3 million downloads a day or a head spinning seventy-three apps per second. You can now choose from over 85,000 programs, up over twenty thousand in the last two months alone. All of this software serves the more than fifty million iPhones and iPod Touches in the market right now. More importantly, it drives sales and differentiation for this smartphone platform. The release quotes Steve Jobs as saying “The App Store has reinvented what you can do with a mobile handheld device, and our users are clearly loving it.”
While this is clearly a bit of sales-driving commentary, those words rang incredibly true for referring to my iPhone as ‘a mobile handheld device.’ It is mobile, it is handheld, and it is one remarkable device. Unfortunately, it’s also a lousy phone. It drops calls, it stumbles for minutes at a time as it searches for a 3G connection…but it does have those wonderful, engaging apps. I have a modest thirty-five on my phone and use maybe four everyday, the rest very sporadically. That’s not particularly surprising; it’s not like anyone really needs to constantly check movie times.
Still, there’s undeniable genius in this model; create a platform and open it up so that independent programmers can supply it with an endless variety of new and fascinating content, which insures the platform remains differentiated and vital in the world of smart phones. Mr. Jobs clearly learned some things by watching how software developers flooded the open PC market with choices that his closed Mac system could never have. And he leveraged that to insure the iPhone’s long term success.
Now if he will just let us pick our own carrier. I can’t wait for a Cricket iPhone.
By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79