At the end of March we ran a story on the iPad App Store reaching the 75,000 apps milestone in less than 365 days since the original iPad came out in April 2010. Considering the competition the iPad had to face in the past year (though some people say there really isn’t a tablet market) and the options given to developers when it came to choosing which platform to develop for, seeing iPad users gaining access to almost 100,000 apps in roughly 12 months was a surprise — looking back at those statements from tech pundits who claimed the iPad was “dead in the water”, the 75,000 milestone surely helped putting things in perspective.
Yet Apple and third-party developers have set a new record: in 453 days since the original iPad came out on April 3, 2010, the App Store has more than 100,000 iPad-exclusive apps available. Either specifically targeting the tablet, or released as universal updates to existing iPhone apps, at the moment of writing this there are 100,161 iPad apps in the Store. How do I know? The App Store app itself on my iPad shows that.
Obviously, one could argue that the iPad’s development scene was “helped” by the success of the iPhone in the previous years. The original iPhone came out with no SDK in 2007, and developers were told to create web apps for it. Apple listened, and months later they released the first developer tools to create native apps for the iPhone. With the release of the iPhone 3G in 2008, Apple also launched the App Store, a unified marketplace to browse and download apps. The rest is history: a few graphical enhancements, sections, and 10 billion downloads later, the App Store is Apple’s crown jewel as far as digital downloads go. A success that has inspired the company to create an OS X version and name it Mac App Store which, unsurprisingly, is once again helping developers sustain their business because of the ease of use of the whole process. On the other hand, users love discovering and buying apps from the App Store because it’s simple, it’s full of apps, and it’s regularly updated. It’s a win-win scenario for Apple (who keeps a 30% cut off every transaction), the developers, and the users.
What’s next for the App Store and, more specifically, apps for the iPad? 100,000 is an important milestone, but don’t expect things to change dramatically in a short period of time. Considering how Apple rolls, the App Store will be slightly tweaked to accomodate new sections as it’s always been, more apps will be released in the next weeks, and users will keep buying apps and games. Don’t expect a revolution because Apple has reached 100,000 apps for the iPad. But that’s not to say the result isn’t remarkable or that new things aren’t coming: with iCloud going public this fall and Automatic Downloads already set in place, Apple wants to make the process of buying and syncing apps to iOS devices even simpler. With Lion approaching its public launch on the Mac App Store in July, it’s clear Apple is betting on the App Store brand as the de-facto solution for downloading software for iOS and OS X devices.
Congratulations, developers. Now onto 200,000 apps.