Apple's App Store vs Apple Music Store: The Race is On

Apple today announced that 2 billion Apps have been downloaded from its App store in just over a year.  The App store has taken just 5 quarters to hit the same milestone that the music store took 14 quarters to reach (see chart below).

 

Granted we’re not comparing like for like here.  Many (most?) of those App downloads will be free, and the iTunes platform is mature now, whilst it was nascent during the emergence of the music store.  Indeed, the App Store’s success is built upon the prior success of the music store.

 

But even with those caveats aside, it is worth considering that whilst all iPods and iPhones support music store downloads, only 24 percent of all devices sold support Apps (i.e. the iPhone and the Touch).  Put a different way, to date the total number of iTunes tracks per sold supported device is just over 39, whereas the total number of iTunes Apps per sold supported device is 40. 

 

So in just over a year the App store has reached the same maturity of adoption among its addressable device audience as the music store took 6 years to reach.

 

This doesn’t mean that music downloads are dead: at 8.5 billion downloads to date Apple music store is more than 4 times as successful as the App store in absolute terms.  But in the context of potential, momentum and addressable audience adoption, the App Store is setting the pace.

 

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Mobile augmented reality

The pace of innovation is accelerating in the mobile space like never before and opening up new opportunities. Mobile has the potentiel to bridge the digital and the real worlds. Not a day without a new mobile augmented reality service or application out on the market. Of course, that's still niche but it clearly demonstrates the potential of the mobile platform.

If you disagree or if you don't get my point, just watch the video below

This video is not brand new and has already been seen close to 500,000 times. The service is provided by an innovative start-up that offers a reality browser available for Android. However, these types of applications are flourishing. See for example the Métro Paris application here or more recently the Meilleursagents.com app here.

 

I bet the best mobile service at the next MWC conference in Barcelona will be a mobile augmented reality app or service. If you haven't submitted your service, the contest is now open at www.globalmobileawards.com.

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Is Apple Playing a Subtle But Smart Platform Strategy?

I have to admit to being a bit under whelmed by Apple’s announcements today.  I’d been hoping for something a bit grander from a music perspective.  I’ve spoken about the iTunes Album launch and explained my thinking that it falls short of what it could have been.  But on the other hand there is an argument that Apple’s relatively modest tweaking might be part of a bolder strategy: that of establishing iTunes as a platform that explicitly coexists with the big name social platforms, namely YouTube and Facebook.

 

Apple is all of course all about selling devices.  But part of that strategy is building compelling user experiences that establish and reinforce the value of usage scenarios of their portfolio of devices.  This is the context into which to consider approving the Spotify app, enabling posting of iTunes song information into Facebook and Nano captured video into YoutTube.  From that perspective Apple is playing a smart game that builds the social context of their devices as explicit extensions of the value proposition of the iPod an iPhone ranges. 

 

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