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Apple Also Confirms What The App Store Has Become

Did you check out the iTunes Rewind 2010 section Apple posted this morning in the iTunes Store homepage? It features the best music, movies, TV shows, audiobooks and podcasts of 2010. It also features the best & top selling iPhone and iPad apps of this year.

I’d like to take a second look at the top apps charts, because something interesting lies in there. Something that confirms an idea that has been floating around in our minds for months.

The charts:

Overall Top 10 PAID iPhone Apps

Angry Birds
Doodle Jump – BE WARNED: Insanely Addictive!
Bejeweled 2 + Blitz
Fruit Ninja
Cut the Rope
The Moron Test
Plants vs. Zombies
Pocket God

Overall Top 10 FREE iPhone Apps
Angry Birds Lite
Words With Friends Free
Tap Tap Revenge 3
The Weather Channel®
Paper Toss
Talking Tom Cat

Overall Top 10 GROSSING iPhone Apps At Bat 2010
Angry Birds
Call of Duty: Zombies
Bejeweled 2 + Blitz
FriendCaller 3 Pro
Zombie Farm
TomTom U.S.A.
Plants vs. Zombies
Doodle Jump – BE WARNED: Insanely Addictive!

Overall Top 10 PAID iPad Apps
GoodReader for iPad
Angry Birds HD
Glee Karaoke
Pinball HD
Friendly for Facebook
Star Walk for iPad

Overall Top 10 FREE iPad Apps
Pandora Radio
Google Mobile App
Movies by Flixster – with Rotten Tomatoes
IMDb Movies & TV
Google Earth
Virtuoso Piano Free 2 HD

Overall Top 10 GROSSING iPad Apps
LogMeIn Ignition
Documents To Go® Premium – Office Suite
Angry Birds HD
Real Racing HD
Plants vs. Zombies HD

Let’s give some context to these charts. For instance, let’s see how many games for each chart are in there:

  • Overall Top 10 PAID iPhone Apps: 9 out of 10 are games
  • Overall Top 10 FREE iPhone Apps: 5 out of 10 are games
  • Overall Top 10 GROSSING iPhone Apps: 7 out of 10 are games
  • Overall Top 10 PAID iPad Apps: 2 out of 10 are games
  • Overall Top 10 FREE iPad Apps: 1 game
  • Overall Top 10 GROSSING iPad Apps:  4 out of 10 are games

As you can see, the results are pretty clear. In case you had any doubts, games are the best selling category in the App Store, and even if these charts are limited to the top 10 apps (either free or paid, or both) – they give a fairly accurate idea of what’s going on inside the Store. iPhone users are buying a lot of games, possibly more than the ones they download for free. It’s also likely that the average iPhone users is into free games that come with in-app purchases to unlock – these games may fall into the top grossing chart. Nine games in the top paid apps charts is, however, an impressive number. Call it the “Angry Birds phenomenon” or a natural evolution of the platform (previous DS and PSP owners are jumping to iOS devices for their gaming fix), games are taking over the App Store.

What’s really interesting, as a market and device, is the iPad. In the top paid chart, there are only two games – one of them, guess what, is Angry Birds. The average iPad user bought Pages, GoodReader, Star Walk and Friendly for Facebook this year. Which is noteworthy because, once again, it proves that there’s a real need for a native Facebook app on the tablet. Star Walk also won an Apple Design Award earlier this year – I guess the Apple marketing machine must have worked for the developers. The iPad numbers don’t change much in the top free and grossing charts: only one game made the free list, 4 are listed in the top grossing section.

So, all numbers considered, the question is: what does this mean? Again, these are top 10 charts and don’t provide in-depth stats about the percentage of games sold through the App Store. But they show us a trend. Games are basically huge on the iPhone, while the iPad is more a productivity-oriented machine. Or a media-consumption one. Or a content-creation one. Or perhaps it’s just growing as a platform. Who knows? These charts don’t tell us much about the nature of the iPad, yet they provide an insight into the mechanics of the App Store.

Now I’m left wondering: will Apple ever separate games from apps? Most of all, are games cluttering the App Store, making it difficult for many other users to find what they really want – apps?

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