Viewing entries tagged
App Store

Scale Requires Curation, Apple Beginning to Address in iTunes & App Store with iOS 6

I have been sitting on this post for weeks and weeks: I tend to write posts, or the skeleton of posts, ahead of time and publish them later on. In some cases enough time passes - or enough happens and changes - that it makes those posts irrelevant. This one is pretty close. I had the below screenshot surrounded by blurbs outlining three primary points: 1. We all talk about curation as the balance to search in finding. Apple does a good job with it in Movies and in app themes (Fitness: Get in Shape below). This experience is far better than searching a basic category. And they do a better job with it in Movies (actors, categories, etc).

2. Curation of some sort is necessary as content scales. Findability was a constant focus for eBay and for anyone with great inventory: Apple, iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, etc. It is probably best as a balance of editorial and algorithmic curation.

3. Curation is powerful by Apple. But it doesn't scale. Curation by friends (hello Facebook, data!) is arguably more powerful and does indeed scale.

This of course is all rather out of date (good!) with Apple's WWDC and iOS 6 announcement on Monday. Coming in iOS 6 are Facebook recommendations to the app store (terrific news - years late, but great... and it looks similar to Facebook's own App Store effort). Furthermore, they are remodeling the Appe Store, iTunes and the iBookstore. Those mock ups (small one below) look like a great effort will be placed on visuals, findability and some form of curation (again: algorithmic + editorial).

From Apple's iOS 6 intro page:

Today's Top Grossing iPhone Apps

Following up on yesterday's post about the impact Apple and Android are making on the gaming industry... here is a screenshot of today's top grossing iPhone Apps. A couple notes of interest: 1. The highest grossing application is free... meaning that financial success can come from 'freemium' apps

2. ... but don't overlook that it is the NBA App: massive brand and timely app (the season just started)

3. Other than the NBA, every other top grossing in the app is a game

4. Most of those games are $0.99

5 ... and the more expensive ones ($4.99 - $6.99) are associated with larger brands (ie Gameloft & Electronic Arts).

This is not to say that non-gaming applications are unable to succeed... but it is clear that pricing, brand and timing play a key role in popularity. This is precisely why Nintendo and others should be scared: the app-store has disrupted how games are played, shared and purchased ($0.99 vs. $29+). It also changes how those games are produced and marketed.

Lastly - while I find gaming interesting and fun, I would love to see other app categories crack these lists. It is already happening on the iPad... and I expect it will happen with the upcoming Chrome App Gallery.

With Slew of Apps, Apple Emerges As Major Developer, Publisher

As a mobile developer / publisher, the Apple App Store is as a much a distribution floodgate as it is an enigma. Being featured within the app store guarantees massive distribution and consequently begins a virtuous cycle: featuring leads to downloads which leads to "top 25" placements which then leads to greater distribution. To date, Apple has been unclear about their editorial stance... but the results have been reasonable: they are quick to highlight branded apps (ie Facebook, eBay), innovative apps (ie Runkeeper, Evernote), and trendy apps (ie Foursquare, Gowalla, etc). Over the last few weeks - with the entrance of the iPad and iPhone 4 - Apple has itself become a publisher and have really pushed their apps: iMovie, iBooks, Apple Store App, Find My iPhone, and the iWorks suite. And then Apple uses their marketing power (primarily real estate) to promote and distribute their applications.

Because the applications are terrific (for the most part), it is hard to complain... but it is another indication that:

1) the app store is an editorial black box controlled by Apple, who itself is becoming a major developer 2) Ultimately, this is Apple's ecosystem and their incentives can certainly conflict with developers'

Below are a few screenshots... the first of which is most revealing. Apple labeled its own Apple Store App as the App of the Week and the first two featured applications are also Apple's:

Also interesting: even if you go to the Apple Store's website via an iPhone browser, it prominently promotes the iPhone application:

Tapulous' Tap Tap Revenge: A Top Grossing App Despite Being Free

A week ago, I wrote that only three of Apple's top twenty grossing iPhone Apps feature in-app purchases. I wondered whether developers have determined that direct sales were more dependable and profitable than relying on user-engagement to derive revenue. Proof it can be done the other way: Tapulous' hit iPhone application, Tap Tap Revenge, is a free application... and it has now cracked the top twenty-five grossing apps - purely through the in-app downloads / purchases. Tap Tap Revenge went free just before Christmas and had over 2,000,000 downloads in the subsequent week:

Tapulous, developers of the popular Tap Tap Revenge series, check in with good news. They’ve pulled down over 2 million installs of Tap Tap Revenge 3 since going free last Wednesday, 700,000 of which came on Christmas day. Between Tap Tap Revenge 1/2/3 and the Metallica/Lady GaGa editions, Tapulous now has 5 applications in the Top 100 grossing apps. (More on TechCrunch from Daniel Brusolovsky)

Tap Tap Revenge's top in-app purchases are all 'packs': nine of the top ten are either two or six-track downloads. Two-packs are $0.99 and six-packs are $2.99. Interestingly, the only individual track is the Avatar theme song (Avatar also has the #22 top-grossing app at $6.99). The paid applications are in addition to the weekly free apps released each Thursday:

Tap Tap Revenge comes with more than 40 free songs! Best of all, we offer Tap Tap Thursdays: every Thursday we feature a FREE hot new or exclusive track from top artists. So far we've featured songs by Katy Perry, Anberlin, Everlast, Michael Franti, Lady Antebellum, Lee Perry, 3OH!3 and Bitter:Sweet, to name just a few. Check out the full list here.

Not that it is directly related to the their revenue success, but Tapulous also does a great job communicating with their users through their outstanding blog. It is regularly updated with status updates, contests, new music, etc. But despite having over 4,000 Facebook Fans, their Fan Page is totally empty:

Apple's App Store Going Premium Apps?

The hot weekend rumor is that Apple will be adding its own version of a Rodeo Drive within the App Store. The Premium Store (if you will) will be a showcase for higher end applications - supposedly at the $20.00+ rate. In addition to the promotion, there would likely be other incentives for Premium Applications... perhaps ala Facebook's preferred developer program.

This makes total sense for Apple as it responds to two major issues:

- Gallery navigation has failed as its size has swelled. Ask eBay what happens when too many listings exist and you rely on the search box? Twitter is falling into a similar navigational issue....

- 99% of applications are better off being free or $0.99... and it is in Apple's best interest to have successful, more-expensive applications.

The rumor, however, sounds less like a Premium Gallery and more like a sort option. I hope it is something more bolder - because otherwise it is merely another tab or box on an already cluttered experienced.