Earlier this year, Apple released a list of the most important iPhone applications in the billion download mark. The downloads were only 2 billion, making Apple’s Top-Time Top Apps ranking much smoother than it was at that time – but aside, it’s a very interesting list and there are lots of good lessons to learn from.
We know that developers of some of the top worldfree4umovie applications have received from $ 350,000 (Pocket God) to $ 800,000 (iShoot). Some probably earn much more. Revenue is difficult to estimate even if the number of downloads is known, since application prices are very low. Koi Pond was downloaded about 900,000 times, and Enigmo more than 800,000. So in, for example, one dollar a time, this money is very good.
How to access this giant cash cow? Here are some tips, based on our analysis of Apple’s top 20 apps:
Get in early
The iPhone 3G came in July 2008. Nearly half of the top applications were released by August. The remainder were at the end of 2008, with one exception coming out in January 2009.
Timing is everything. Of course, some of these are just a matter of actual reality – if you sell 5000 applications per day for 100 days, that’s 500,000 sales; if you only have 5 days, you can reach only 25,000. But there is more. There are simply many applications now (over 50,000) that it is very hard to see you. Applications that have emerged early, have gained the power of attraction, a great advantage over competitors, this type of long-term advantages are maintained.
Entertainment of the masses
Whether you want to save the planet, enlighten humanity or improve people’s health, you will receive your reward in paradise, but you will not have an iPhone app winner. Each of the best paid apps is a game of some kind. Fourteen in the category of games, 4 entertainment and 2 music.
Interestingly, this entertainment is generally pointless. Most games are complex, require skill and concentration, and quite a few relays or constant updates (God’s Pocket). Complex games include Divine Pocket, Wilderness, Texas Hold’em Poker and Monopoly. Simple games, such as the Bejeweled 2 memory match or the Skateboard Touchgrind application, still require skill and focus.
Just a few, like Koi Pond, requires only a simple mental effort, but even this person has many options and constant movement. Almost all applications have great graphics and lots of animation.
There were only 2 silly and useless applications, namely the simulator beer application, iBeer, and self-explanatory iFart Mobile.
There is a surprise in every pack
Ocarina, an ancient flute simulation, is a real surprise. Who would have thought that a mysterious musical instrument might be too high? App developers are equally interested – a large crowd of musicians and computer scientists from places like Stanford and Princeton. Could there be a place for real quality and innovation on the Internet? Think happy.
Development of the device
The use of the accelerometer seems to increase the chances of success of the application. Most paid applications are fast intensive, or use iPhone or other unique features.
The message here is that successful application developers benefit from new or unique device functions. iPhone is a mobile phone, has a touch screen, and has an accelerometer. Development of the device! Apps that behave as if on a normal desktop computer are less likely to be successful.
You have the correct background
It is really helpful to be a seasoned developer, preferably having a background in online games. Most companies and individuals who have distinguished have a long track record in this market. In some cases, it was just taking a business model already in place and making a logical leap for iPhone applications. In other cases, the application was the beginning of a business and in some cases it could be the end of the road.
Do not be one
Four of the most paid applications were orphaned or closed, with only one or two applications per developer. More common, though, was developers with stables of 3 to 10 applications. Only one developer has more than 10 applications. Successful developers benefited from existing products and applications, and relied on other products and applications – but adapting the application to make it very similar (iBeer, iMilk, iSoda, Magic Wallet), while clever, seems too opportunistic. App developers who have developed many unique and great games are likely to achieve multiple successes.
In fact, 3 companies (Freeverse and Pangea Software and Electronic Arts) had two of the top 20 applications. All 3 companies are large or large, which means that it requires great resources for the product’s winning application.