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Which apps rose to the top of Apple’s charts for 2014?

Which apps rose to the top of Apple's charts for 2014?

Did you edit images on your iPad with Pixelmator this year, or maybe you lost a few hours playing Monument Valley on Apple’s tablet?

How about your iPhone? Did you give your brain a workout with Elevate or did you get sucked into endlessly playing Threes?

If you answered yes to any of those, then you were part of the “in crowd” that embraced Apple‘s picks for top mobile apps and games of the year. Apple released its annual “best-of” ranking today, with those four apps taking best-of show awards.

Here’s a rundown of Apple’s nice list.

iPad

App of the year went to Pixelmator, at $9.99 one of the pricier apps in the App Store and one which Apple described as “an astounding image editor — an incredible showpiece that’s guaranteed to help your photos pop.”

The runner-up was Storehouse, a free app that’s all about storytelling, allowing users to meld photos, videos and text and then share them.

Game of the year went to Monument Valley. This “genre-defining effort wows at every turn,” Apple said of the $3.99 puzzler.

Runner-up here was Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, the first iOS game to come from Blizzard. The game is free, but has in-app purchases.

Best iPad apps

  • New York Times Cooking
  • Microsoft Word
  • VSCO Cam
  • Yahoo News Digest
  • Replay Video Editor
  • Hanx Writer
  • Star Walk Kids
  • 120 Sports
  • Adobe Voice
  • GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine
  • Makr
  • 1Password
  • Joy of Cooking
  • Nighty Night Circus
  • Molecules
  • OmniFocus2
  • Toca Nature
  • Auxy
  • Slice Fractions
  • Flickr
  • Launch Center Pro
  • Yahoo Weather
  • Incredible Numbers
  • Post-it Plus
  • Stephen Hawkings Snapsots of the Universe.
J. “Josh” Jennings Moss has spent time on the police beat in Florida, on the political trail in Washington, D.C., and on the business front in New York. Among the places he’s journalized: Condé Nast Portfolio, FoxNews.com, ABCNews.com, the Advocate, the Washington Times, and the Tampa Tribune. Moss graduated from the University of Arizona and lives in New York City.

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Article from SF Gate.

“Pinger Inc., a San Jose developer of mobile applications, can get twice as much in sales from programs for Apple devices than for phones powered by Android software. That’s not stopping it from creating its first Android app.

“Even if the revenue generation might be less, we think it’s still going to be significant,” said Joe Sipher, chief product and marketing officer at Pinger, which makes text-messaging and other programs. “Our users are saying, ‘Gosh, I switched to an Android phone. Can you put your Textfree app on Android?’ ”

Pinger and other programmers don’t want to miss out on the $40 billion that Booz & Co. estimates will come from sales of apps by 2014, much of it from Google Inc.‘s Android platform. Android unseated Research In Motion Ltd.‘s mobile operating system as the top U.S. smart phone software last quarter, making developers more willing to put up with its drawbacks, including higher app-creation costs and an online marketplace some users consider harder to navigate than Apple’s App Store.

PopCap Games Inc., maker of the Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies games, doesn’t have any titles in the Android Market. But by mid-2011, the Seattle company expects to release games simultaneously for iPhone and Android handsets.

“Even though we are not making any money on Android right now, we have pretty high hopes for it,” said Andrew Stein, PopCap’s director of mobile business development. “There’s really no reason why users shouldn’t consume and buy content to the same extent on an Android phone as they are on an iPhone.”

Android phones like Motorola Inc.’s Droid X and HTC Corp.’s Droid Incredible are gaining devotees. Stein expects the revenue generated from Android games to approach that of PopCap’s iPhone versions by the end of 2011.

Apple way ahead

A wide variety of apps – as well as the availability of the most popular ones for games, location, texting and content – is critical to luring phone buyers. Android lags behind Apple by that measure. Apple has more than 250,000 apps available, compared with about 70,000 for Android.

Like Apple, Google takes a 30 percent cut of revenue from apps sold in its marketplace.

“We want to reduce friction and remove the barriers that make it difficult for developers to make great apps available to users – across as many devices, geographies and carriers as possible,” said Randall Sarafa, a Google spokesman.

Google may be taking steps to remedy some of the problems that make Android apps less lucrative to developers.

Apple iTunes users can do one-click shopping because iTunes saves their information. While Android buyers can do the same if they sign up for Google Checkout, that service doesn’t have as many users.

Android Market also lacks features for in-app purchases, which some developers of Apple apps use to sell new game levels or virtual products, said Tim Chang, a venture capitalist at Norwest Venture Partners, whose investments includes Ngmoco of San Francisco, which makes games for the iPhone.

Google is in talks with eBay’s PayPal to add its payment service, three people familiar with the matter said last month. That may ease the process. Google may also offer tools that let developers sell subscriptions and virtual goods from within apps, Andy Rubin, Google’s vice president of engineering, said in June.

For now, producing programs for Android isn’t as lucrative. Loopt Inc., the maker of an app for locating your friends on a map, and Zecter Inc., which offers the ZumoDrive file storage service, said they make less from the sales of their Android apps than they do from their iPhone versions. Neither of the Mountain View companies would specify the difference.

Developers hesitant

“There’s no question Android has a lot more phones out than six months ago, but that’s very different from saying Android is a more appealing platform for developers,” said Sam Altman, chief executive officer at Loopt.

ZumoDrive makes money by getting people to download the free program and then upgrade to a paid version. Thirty percent more iPhone customers do that, said CEO David Zhao.

Besides generating fewer downloads of paid apps, fewer people click on ads in Android programs, according to data from Smaato Inc., a Redwood City mobile-ad firm. In July, the iPhone had a click-through score of 140 in the United States, compared with 103 for Android, Smaato said.

Plus, the market share Gartner Inc. measures for Android – 34 percent in the United States last quarter – doesn’t mean there are that many customers for apps, said Pinger’s Sipher. Some Android phones don’t have the ability to access Google’s app store and the proliferation of models means some programs won’t work on some phones.

App creators have to contend with various versions of Android and differences in screen resolution and keyboards. That makes it more expensive to test programs and can force developers to design for the lowest common denominator, said Bill Predmore, president of POP, which builds mobile applications and ads for such clients as Google, Microsoft Corp. and Target Corp.”

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/09/01/BU381F6GOA.DTL&type=tech#ixzz0yLeTxmEa

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Here is some intriguing new opportunities for iPad developers.

“Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers said Wednesday that it is doubling a fund that focuses on the iPhone and iPod Touch to $200 million to include new applications for the upcoming iPad.

Partner John Doerr said Kleiner Perkins has exhausted its original $100 million iFund that it began two years ago. Now with the iPad coming, he said the application boom that began on the iPhone will extend into a new wave of iPad apps that transforms the way people interact with computers.

“We will move beyond spread sheets, word processors and Web sites limited by a browser to an interactive, connected world with incredible speed and fluidity,” Doerr said during a press event near its headquarters.

The public support from a respected venture capital firm lends more momentum to the launch of the iPad this Saturday and gives developers more incentive to develop dedicated iPad apps. The fund could help seed a new generation of iPad app companies that help define the device much the way early iFund recipients led the way for the iPhone.

The original iFund supported 14 companies, including the well-known Ngmoco, Pinger, Shazam and Booyah. The companies have collectively made more than $100 million and accounted for more than 100 million downloads.

Doerr said those companies have more than 20 iPad specific apps in the works with at least 11 to be released Saturday when the iPad goes on sale.

Many of the iFund companies have had a chance to work with the iPad. Some executives on Wednesday talked about how the device will create more engaging and longer experiences that require more thought and can lead to more profitable and memorable apps.

“We’re really trying to take advantage of the added real estate, and we’re trying to leverage the way users want to use the device,” said Neil Young, CEO and founder of gaming company Ngmoco, which is bringing three new games to the iPad. “The iPad has the opportunity to revolutionize gaming in the home in the same way the iPhone and iPod Touch revolutionized gaming on the go.”

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Here is an article from Seeking Alpha.

As I promised in November, below is my updated Q1 2010 earnings estimate for Apple. My previous estimate can be viewed here. Due to numerous analysts’ calls for strong iPhone sales, this update increases iPhone unit sales from 8.8 million to 10 million. With subscription accounting, this increase in iPhone sales does not have much of an effect on GAAP EPS, but it does give non-GAAP EPS a nice bump. Also, after a review of recent trends, I reduced non-iPhone margins from 33% to 32%. Overall, my GAAP EPS estimate for Q1 decreased modestly from $2.44 to $2.41 on $12.7B in sales while non-GAAP EPS increased from $3.67 to $3.97 on $16B in sales. The Street GAAP EPS estimate has remained at $2.04 on revenues of $11.9B.

It continues…

Based on current accounting practices, for the year ending September 2010, Apple could post EPS of $9.70. If they transition from subscription accounting starting this quarter, Apple should earn $17.70. About $3.60 of this is from prior deferred iPhone revenues, so I am looking at FY10 non-GAAP EPS of around $14 on revenues of $55.6B. Additionally, I expect their year end cash position to be somewhere north of $45B. Depending on how you want to calculate EPS (e.g. with cash, without cash, GAAP, non-GAAP EPS etc), forward P/E will be somewhere between 10 and 15. Forward EV/FCF will be about 12.”

Read the full article here.

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Building on the trend of Apple, Nokia and others – Sun makes the move into a independent Appstore deployment. As Apple has shown that it is a viable business model, it only makes sense – end-users like to shop around, and are willing to pay for smaller apps. As Google Android starting to make its way into mobile phones, and Nokia “opened” up Symbian – the end-user community developer trend will create a business eco-system worth spending some research on. The project is codenamed Vector but will likely be called “Java Store” after its official launch.

Here is some quotes from Jonathan Schwartz by way of Washington Post.

“Candidate applications will be submitted via a simple web site, evaluated by Sun for safety and content, then presented under free or fee terms to the broad Java audience via our update mechanism. Over time, developers will bid for position on our storefront, and the relationships won’t be exclusive (as they have been for search). As with other app stores, Sun will charge for distribution – but unlike other app stores, whose audiences are tiny, measured in the millions or tens of millions, ours will have what we estimate to be approximately a billion users. That’s clearly a lot of traffic, and will position the Java App Store as having just about the world’s largest audience.”

“The store will be for all Java devices. Initially, the PC desktop will get the most attention from developers and customers, but there’s plenty of Java-enabled phones and developers will be pleased to have another distribution channel, especially one with the power of Sun behind it.”

Read the full article here. Read Jonathan Schwartz blog entry here.

Other bloggers covering this topic include: OStatic, Mobile Marketing Watch, Mobile Blogs, IndicThreads.

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If you look for growth opportunities, look no further say Strategy Analytics. With a 900% growth forecast, and Google support in the background – the mobile ecosystem will see some intriguing innovations shortly. With iPhone and AppStore showing the way, Android from Google may provide a business opoortunity for global opportunities for mobile developers.

Please also see our previous articles: “Android vs. iPhone: Why Openness may Not Be Best” and “Android to do what no one else managed!”

Hardware Register has more on this story:

“Android-based smartphones will ship in massive numbers this year – at least compared to last year’s total, market watcher Strategy Analytics has forecast.

In its latest report, the firm predicted that Android smartphone shipments will increase a whopping 900 per cent during 2009 over last year. Shipments of Apple’s iPhone will grow 79 per cent this year, SA said.

The Google-developed OS hasn’t featured on phones for as long as Apple’s handset has been on the market. Nonetheless, healthy support from “operators, vendors and developers” will continue to help increase Android’s adoption, SA said.

“A relatively low-cost licensing model, its semi-open source structure and Google’s support for cloud services have encouraged companies… to support the Android operating system,” said Neil Mawston, Director at Strategy Analytics.

The number of Android-based devices is certainly set to expand this year. Vodafone recently launched the world’s second Android phone in Blighty – the Magic. It’s also widely rumoured that Samsung will launch an own-brand Android phones this year.”

Read the article here.

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Since its inception in July last year, Appstore has become a steady and viable business model for Apple. With over 1 Billion downloads, its fair to say that the rest of the mobile industry needs to take a very close look at the model.

As a result, Apple can now show some very significant numbers towards the mobile content market.

“There are over 37 million devices running Apple’s mobile operating system: over 21 million iPhones and over 15 million iPod touches (with 35,000+ apps available in the store) according to the company. Besides driving the success of the App Store, these devices also helped Apple control 50 percent of the mobile ad market and drive the most mobile OS Internet traffic in the U.S., according to the latest market reports.”

In relation to mobile advertising, the PC World story continues;

AdMob’s research shows that the iPhone and iPod touch serve around 50 percent of the mobile ad requests in the U.S., followed by Research In Motion with 22 percent and Windows Mobile with 11 percent. Worldwide, Apple’s handsets go neck-to-neck with Nokia‘s when it comes to traffic generated by smartphones. AdMob’s data shows that Apple’s devices drive the most traffic world wide, counting in at 38 percent.”

Mashable, which mainly covers Web 2.0 news, made an interesting comparrison.

“The milestones comes just over three months after the company surpassed 500 million downloads, and about nine months since launching.

While it’s certainly an enormous milestone, how does it compare to some other massive numbers that various Web companies have reached recently? Here’s a look at a few huge stats:

While impressive in its own, and somewhat unrelated to eachother – web.20 have proven to produce some gigantic numbers that are serving as benchmarks for success.

Comprehensive blog coverage can be found here:  IntoMobile, MediaMemo, TechCrunch, SciTechBlog

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