A new report says people are willing to pay more for apps on the iPad, and the gap is growing. The average price for an iPad app has risen 14.5 percent in the last six months, compared to 2.3 percent for iPhone software.


A new report says people are willing to pay more for iPad apps than they are for those that support only the iPhone, and the gap may be growing. The average price for an iPad app has risen 14.5 percent in the last six months, while the average iPhone app has only experienced a 2.3 percent rise.

The average selling price of an iPad app is just under $5, and that number grows to $5.80 for those found in the top 100 paid apps list. On the iPhone, the average app sells for just above $4, and when you look at the top 100, that number drops to only $2.14. That makes successful iPad apps 171 times more expensive than their iPhone equivalents.

The iPad has only about 13 percent of the total 300,000 apps available in the App Store, with 37,887 titles as of this writing. And only 7 percent of titles are universal, meaning they work on both devices. So while the volume business isn’t quite there yet, and it’s early yet to make any definitive pronouncements, it does seem like iPad owners are willing to spend more on apps than those carrying iPhones.

I know I feel more comfortable spending $9.99 or more on apps for my iPad. The difference in screen size accounts for some of this, which is tied to an increase in usability on the Apple tablet. Also, since the iPad exists somewhere between a smartphone and a computer, I feel comfortable paying prices for software somewhere between what I expect to pay on either platform.

Given that users seem willing to pay more for the iPad, and given that investment in the development process seems to be about the same for apps for both it and the iPhone, I think we’ll see a lot more interest in the platform. We’ve already seen that devs and publishers are keen on providing iPad offerings, and if the device really does sell as much as many are saying it will next year (subscription required), I think iPad-specific apps could see way more growth than anticipated in 2011.

If you’re an iPad owner, are you willing to pay more for apps for your tablet than you would for the iPhone or iPod touch? And if you’re a developer, is iPad development an attractive option because buyers are willing to pay more?

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  1. Matthew Frederick Friday, November 5, 2010

    “That makes successful iPad apps 171 times more expensive than their iPhone equivalents.”

    I take it you mean 1.71 times — or perhaps 171% — more expensive. They are most definitely not 171 times more expensive, as that would put their average price at $368.08 each.

    From a developer perspective you’re missing three important things. First, there are are more than 10 times as many iPhones and iPod Touches as there are iPads, making the 1.71 increase not nearly as impressive.

    Second, people rightfully expect more from iPad apps than iPhone apps, making development significantly more expensive.

    Lastly, you make the number-of-apps comparison seem like a negative, but in fact it’s far easier to stand out in the much smaller field of iPad apps, making it more appealing.

  2. I think the best price range for common app are $1-$3 for iPhone, $4-$10 for iPad, and $10-$25 for Mac (App Store). That’s IMO very much make sense, of course unless you have an app that is very specific, hard to build, with very niche market, you may sell it out of the price range and people won’t complaint.

  3. If there’s a direct correlation between display size and software market pricing, then I believe a lot of developers will be quite pleased with the Mac App Store.

  4. I do pay more, but I find quite a bit more value. iPhone apps are useful but mostly fun trinkets that I mostly ask to entertain me for a few minutes – iPad apps seem to genuinely straddle the line between novelty and productivity. You can use an iPad app for several hours without straining your eyes, so playing a full, rich game or actually doing something productive like producing music or writing seems a lot more feasible.

    Add in the fact that the screen size really gives you exponentially more interactivity and fun, and these $5 – 10 apps seem like bargains.

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