Research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts in a new report that based on current trends, sales of mobile apps will be a $35 billion industry by 2014. That massive boost, which represents a compound annual growth rate of 60 percent, will see app downloads climb from the 10.9 billion that took place this year to 76.9 billion in 2014.
IDC’s report, the short title of which is The “Appification” of Everything, predicts that apps will be the means by which the connected home operates in 2011 and beyond. That means smartphones, media players and tablets, as well as emerging app device categories like connected TVs and home theater streaming media boxes, and even further, into connected appliances and beyond. As mobile devices become more and more able to connect to a range of other devices, the mobile app will become more and more central to our daily lives. As IDC VP of Mobile and Wireless Research Scott Ellison puts it:
Mobile app developers will ‘appify’ just about every interaction you can think of in your physical and digital worlds. The extension of mobile apps to every aspect of our personal and business lives will be one of the hallmarks of the new decade with enormous opportunities for virtually every business sector.
Apple (s aapl) won’t be the only company to benefit from this growing wave of app development, but it will be at the forefront. While its competitors have managed to gain a foothold in the mobile app arena, the iTunes App Store created by Apple is still far and away the market leader in terms of reach, library, revenue and downloads. iOS is still killing Android (s goog) in worldwide OS market share based on web usage, despite Android closing the gap at home. The App Store boasts well over 300,000 apps, while the Google marketplace reportedly has just over 100,000 at last count. The gap has narrowed significantly, but that’s still three times as many apps.
Recent evidence suggests that Android’s meteoric rise may be slowing. In terms of ad impression, Google’s mobile OS hit a lull recently as it ran up against Apple’s revamped iOS line up, bolstered by the release of version 4.x software across all devices. Most importantly, developer interest still seems to be strongest in iOS devices.
If apps are the future, then so is Apple. When the Mac App Store is introduced sometime in the next two months, it’ll provide cross-platform software sales opportunities that will have still more developers lining up to fill Apple’s library. With $35 billion in revenue potentially on the line, there’s little doubt in my mind that we’ll see them unlock the Apple TV’s hidden app potential next.
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