Back in December, we ran a story about the incredible rise of native iPad software in the App Store: in nearly 260 days since the release of the original iPad in April 2010, third-party developers created more than 50,000 apps specifically for the device. As the iPad was a relatively new device in 2010, that was quite an accomplishment. Especially considering that the iPad App Store had “only” 20,000 apps in August, and 10,000 in June. By the end of 2010, Apple closed with roughly 60,000 native apps available for iPad owners.
In the past months, however, many interesting things happened in the tablet market: Apple announced and released a successor to the iPad after much speculation, Google unveiled a version of its Android OS meant for tablets, Android Honeycomb. Motorola was first to release a Honeycomb-based tablet, the Xoom, which is capable of running Android apps built from scratch for the tablet form factor – rather than blown up versions of smartphone apps. On the other hand, RIM will release its BlackBerry PlayBook onto the market in a few weeks – this one is also capable of running Android apps alongside native BlackBerry apps. Other manufacturers will follow throughout 2011 with their own vision for “the tablet”.
Back to the initial point, anyway. If there’s one segment (let’s just forget about tech specs for a minute) where Apple has a huge advantage over its competitors, that would be the App Store. Since our report from December, the iPad App Store has grown to accomodate over 75,000 native apps – even more than the ones mentioned in Apple’s press releases. Compared to 20 apps available for the Xoom, I think we can all agree that’s a huge advantage for Apple. And even if geeks can say “most of those 75,000 apps suck”, the numbers still hold true: 75,000 apps are available, the 100,000 milestone will be reached in a couple of months. And Apple will make a strong remark about that figure at their next public event. Perhaps at the WWDC itself where, and everything falls into the place, a new version of iOS will likely be announced and demoed.
75,000 apps for the iPad doesn’t come as a surprise if we consider Apple’s powerful marketing machine and the iTunes Store infrastructure. But to think the iPad came out 365 days ago and now we can choose from a selection of 75,000 different apps – I believe that says something about the current status of the tablet market.