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Average App Size Increased By 16% Since March
The iPad 3’s Retina display and Apple’s more liberal submission policy have caused the file sizes of leading iOS apps to grow substantially, especially in games. The latest data from ABI Research shows that the global average app size across all categories was 23 megabytes in September, 16% more than in March.
On March 1, I wrote:
I see two solutions. Either Apple gets the carriers to agree to larger download sizes, establishing a new “average” that should work for most apps (let’s say 60 MB as Panzarino suggests), or they rebuild the download mechanism completely by allowing devices to “ignore” resources they don’t need. The second solution would be a “cleaner” approach, in that it would address the root of this likely scenario — that is, devices downloading apps containing all kinds of images and resources for Retina and non-Retina displays.
As we know, Apple decided to increase the maximum download size over cellular to 50 MB. This, combined with LTE networking, has allowed developers to be more relaxed in regards to their app sizes, and users to have reasonable download times on 4G (or DC-HSDPA). The solution I proposed earlier this year — a way to identify which assets to download for an app on a specific device — would still require a major rework of iOS.
Due to international pricing, this year I had to get a 16 GB iPhone 5. But I regret my decision. Something we’ve learned in the past two years (since the Retina display was introduced in 2010) is that that app sizes are only going up, and you’re never going to wish you got a device with less capacity. You’ll either be fine, or want more. With the iPhone 5 and Retina + Universal games, I find myself having to keep an eye on my available space, which is something I despise doing.
For the future, I hope 32 GB will become the new 16 GB, and I’m looking forward to 128 GB iPhones and iPads.