The Dirty Little Secret of Apple's App Store


Earlier today, the guys from Skyhook Wireless sent me their latest location-aware applications report. The first thing I noticed was a sharp decline in the number of location-aware apps during the months of May and June 2009. Why? Because of something known as Bulk Apps — the dirty little secret of Apple’s (s aapl) App Store. [digg=]


These are typically local search or travel apps written by a single publisher. Molinker is one such example. It pulls content from Wikipedia and Flickr for a country or travel destination and renders it for viewing offline. Molinker offers more than 800 of such applications, at 99 cents a pop. Another bulk apps provider is GP Apps; it has 380-plus apps, each of which essentially takes a search word and marries it to Google Maps.

The presence of these bulk applications makes you wonder how real the 65,000 applications (in the Apple iTunes App Store) number is. It certainly makes me wonder about the data that was released earlier this week. I have reached out to Apple, asking them to clarify exactly how they count these applications.

Either way, the question is: Should Apple count these 850 applications as separate apps or as a single one? I, for one, believe that all template-based apps should be counted as one. What do you guys think?