App Store World Domination in 2010: 300,000 Apps Strong


IDC is making some bold predictions for 2010, one of the boldest being a tripling of the number of applications at Apple’s App Store. In reality, that might actually be a conservative guess.

According to IDC, the App Store will have 300,000 applications by the end of next year. Looking at the history, that looks pretty good in a chart, except IDC is predicting even faster growth for Google’s Android Market.

In its first year, the Android Market amassed about 10,000 applications, tepid growth compared to the App Store’s first year. The reason was pretty simple, not a lot of Android devices to choose from, not a lot of mobile providers carrying them. Going forward, the Android Market currently has about 15,000 applications, but the number of devices, from mobile phones to tablets to netbooks will be greatly increase in 2010. There may be as many as 50 devices, including mobile phones on networks all over the world.

In contrast, Apple will still have only the iPhone and iPod touch, and maybe a tablet. Considering the propagation and availability of Android devices, it’s not unreasonable to see the Android Market at 75,000 applications by the end of 2010. That wold be a fivefold increase, two more folds than the App Store is projected to have, but there’s a problem with that projection. The number of devices available does not necessarily equate to more devices being sold.

In June at WWDC, Apple announced that more than 40 million iPhone OS devices had been sold. Since then, the company has probably sold another 10 million iPhones. The iPod touch appears to be selling around half as many iPhones now, so that’s another five million iPhone OS devices. By the end of this year, there will easily have been more than 60 million iPhone OS devices sold.

It’s widely expected that a Mac tablet capable of running applications from the App Store will be released early next year, as well as rumors of a Verizon iPhone in 2010. However, even without either of those devices, Apple will easily have sold 100 million iPhone OS devices before introducing new models of the iPhone and iPod touch around the middle of the year. What’s the best case estimate for Android device sales by that time? Five million, maybe ten?

In the New York Times, IDC analyst Frank Gens made an interesting comment. “The market follows the applications,” Mr. Gens said. “That’s a message for the software industry, particularly for the PC industry.” I wonder if IDC has considered the reverse of that, that the applications follow the market, in this case the iPhone OS device market.

300,000 apps in the App Store by 2010? Try half a million, minimum.

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