Critics today are questioning whether it is fair to say that Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) truly has 65,000 applications in its App Store if some of them are built on templates. The phenomenon, being called “bulk apps,” is when several apps are offered at the same price point and have the same look and feel, but swap out the content.
Skyhook Wireless, which provides location-based information to application developers, released a report today on July trends for the App Store. It said in the first half of 2009, there was an abnormal spike of hundreds of 99 cent apps due to “Bulk Apps.” For example, one developer is selling 850 travel apps based on the same template, but changes the content based on a specific location. Release.
So, the question is whether the number of apps — pegged at 65,000 — is a fair representation of what’s going on if some of the apps are nearly identical? Om Malik at GigaOm is calling the trend Apple’s “The Dirty Little Secret,” and says that template-based apps should be counted as one.
But why? Aren’t they individual apps? Users would download them individually and for good reason. If you are going to Costa Rica, why would you want information on Paris? Using a template doesn’t change that, and as developers look to become profitable in mobile, it makes sense to leverage their resources to their best ability.