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iTunes Rewind 2010 Highlights Top Apps, App Trends

Apple’s (s aapl) year-in-review iTunes Rewind special section of the iTunes Store went live today, and the App Store selections in particular give a good overview of the year that was for iOS software. The App Store sections of iTunes Rewind are broken down into iPhone and iPad categories, with top downloads for the year and hot trends listed for both platforms.

Apple identifies a number of trends that seem to have struck a chord with consumers. Photo and video apps are the first trend identified for iPhone apps, including Instagram and Path, which we featured recently in a roundup of social photo sharing applications. Other sections include news apps, augmented reality software, four separate categories for different types of games, cloud apps and location-based software. Maybe the most interesting category? Zombies, which is a subject that seems to have really captured the public imagination of late (see The Walking Dead if you require additional proof).

iPad trends include many of the same categories found in the iPhone section. Photos and videos apps aren’t on the list, probably due to the iPad’s current lack of any camera, but magazines and newspapers, apps for painting and sketching, mobile office apps and interactive stories were all trends that seem to uniquely benefit from the iPad’s larger screen.

The top paid apps for 2010 for iPhone and iPad probably won’t be a surprise to anyone who regularly checks out the App Store charts, but they do say a lot about where consumers are spending their money, and how much they’re willing to spend.

The top five paid apps overall for iPhone were Angry Birds, Doodle Jump, Skee-Ball, Bejeweled 2 + Blitz and Fruit Ninja. Notice any similarities? Yes, they’re all games, but that’s not all. Each is also priced at $0.99. By contrast, the top five overall paid apps on the iPad were Pages, GoodReader for iPad, Numbers, Angry Birds HD and Keynote. There’s only one game on that list, and three are Apple’s own products. Four of the five are productivity apps, and the average selling price is $7.59. The pricing gap between the two lists reflects what we’ve seen in earlier reports.

Apple also breaks down the top apps for each category for the year. It’s worth noting that despite the absence of a single universal app in the top five overall list for iPad, a significant percentage of the individual category leaders are optimized for use on both iPad and iPhone. The same definitely can’t be said for the leading iPhone apps in each category. That seems to suggest that many iPad owners also own an iPhone or iPod touch, and that cross-platform compatibility is a key selling point for them.

Check out the full iTunes Rewind micro-site at the iTunes Store for a look at which free apps were most successful, which apps grossed the most, and at the top performers in music, movies and TV for the year.

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