With the holiday season coming up, it’s worth taking a look at what retailers, mobile content companies, game-makers, and advertisers are doing on the iPhone’s App store to capitalize on the big money-making event — especially since this is its first year and there’s no past experience to learn from. I see two camps forming: One by retailers, which are trying to create easy-to-use apps that encourage purchases; and one by content companies, which are hoping downloads will spike from people cashing in gift cards for a game or other entertaining app. It will be interesting to see what people learn from this holiday and how they will do things differently next year. Already, one thing I can see Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) doing differently is by adding a temporary “holiday” category since finding everything was not intuitive.
A look at what Santa’s putting in the iPhone stocking, after the jump…
— iPhone savvy retailers: A recent example of what retailers are doing is the application launched by Amazon.com today. The online retailer’s first iPhone app lets users search for anything from a CD to a $1,500 TV, or suggests “a little something” you can buy yourself. A more unique mobile service is an experimental feature that allows users to take a photo of a product, which is then sent to real people who try and match it to a similar product in the Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) store. Within a day or two, the results will be revealed next to the photo. Other examples of retailers trying to tap into the iPhone’s engaged audience include Gap and Target, which have both launched Christmas-themed retail applications, and other shopping comparison sites, shopping lists and even an app called “Delivery Status Touch,” which allows shoppers to track purchases on UPS, Fedex, DHL, and sites like Amazon.
— Content under the tree: Almost all other applications making their way on to the App store right now can fall into this category. In the last two weeks, about 2,000 apps have been launched in the store, which is likely an abnormal spike since there’s of a grand total of about 10,000 apps since the store launched about five months ago. Apple also held a briefing two weeks ago to highlight the developers that were rolling out games and apps just in time for the holidays. Those included things like ngmoco’s upcoming Rolando game, and Gameloft’s