It might not seem like one person pirating apps would costs developers much money, but it really adds up when you consider all the people who do it. You have to jailbreak your device to get the most widely-used piracy tools, and after a recent report, it's easy to see why Apple tries so hard to counteract it. A report earlier today estimates the total cost of pirated apps to be $450 million.
The most talked about issue developers have with the App Store has been the long app approval times, but the new year seems to have brought significantly shortened wait times. Several developers have corroborated that Apple's turnaround has greatly improved and are now measuring the time it takes in hours and days instead of weeks and months.
The first time we noticed this was when Facebook released a bug update to Facebook for iPhone in under 24 hours. We initially thought that it was due to special treatment for Facebook, but many of your comments suggested that other apps were being approved just as fast.
Apple has gotten a lot of guff (including from us) for giving developers headaches and laying down the law on certain things that don't always make sense or make us happy iPhone users, but this can be a good thing if the developer happens to be a bad guy trying to steal information or rip you off. Google opted for the polar opposite approval policy, leaving their Android Market wide open for all developers. The danger there is that you run the risk of allowing downright nasty malicious apps in and let people download them, which is exactly what has happened.
Apple announced today that the number of downloads from the App Store has officially reached 3 billion. The 2 billion landmark was passed just three months ago, showing the rapidly accelerating growth of the App Store as more and more people get iPhones and discover new apps. The iPhone and iPod touch are currently available in 77 countries worldwide, with 20 categories of apps available, including games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel.
Analytics from sales analytics firm Flurry has recorded some pretty surprising statistics. For Christmas Day (December 25, 2009), downloads for apps to iPod touches surpassed downloads to iPhones for the first time, and by a positively massive margin. According to the statistics, downloads to iPod touches spiked higher than iPhones by 172%. They fell again the next day, but were still 104% higher than the iPhone.
As mentioned last week, Apple will be rolling out its "12 Days of Christmast" promotion for almost all of Europe. From December 26th to January 6th, anyone with a iTunes account in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Finland, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ireland can download a free song, music video, app, television show, or film from feature acts on iTunes.
In order to help remember the giveaway, Apple has created a "12 Days of Christmas" iPhone app [UK App Store, free], which uses push notifications to alert you when the new download is available and also allows you to connect to Facebook and recommend the download to your friends.
Apple has announced the rollout out a new feature in their iTunes Connect developer interface. In response to each developer having more and more apps they've submitted to the App Store, Apple has added a new search capability to the 'Manage Your Application' module that will allow them to quickly locate their app. Using the search, developers can now find their app by searching it's name, Apple ID or approval status (such as 'Ready For Sale' or 'In Review').
Apple has quietly redesigned app pages in the iTunes App Store. The new pages change the scale and placement of information to highlight the important information and interesting things in each app. Among the changes are much larger icons, side-scrolling screenshots, moving "what's new in this version" to the top, a shorter app description, more information about the developer, and recommendations for related apps that you might find interesting.
Following up on comments from AT&T executive Ralph de la Vega that the company may charge more to bandwidth-heavy iPhone users, iSuppli Corp has offered the view that an industry-wide behind-the-scenes struggle between wireless providers and hardware makers. As growth opportunities in voice service revenue have disappeared, cell phone carriers must turn to revenue from data.
In turn, services like iTunes and the App Store, the firm said, have allowed Apple to usurp control of subscribers from AT&T. In other words, customers are now more tied to their phone than they are their carrier, which results in lost revenue for AT&T.
Apple has just published 'iTunes Rewind 2009' [link] , a page in iTunes that takes a look at some of the most popular items downloaded from the iTunes online store this year. The lists include movies, TV shows, audiobooks, podcasts, and of course, iPhone applications from the App Store. Apps are listed as top rated and top sellers, and include Real Racing [App Store, $4.99], Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor [App Store, $2.99], ColorSplash [App Store, $1.99] and ReelDirector [App Store, $4.99].