The App Internet: What It Means For Tablet Product Strategists

My colleague John McCarthy just published an excellent report sizing the "App Internet," a phenomenon Forrester defines as "specialized local apps running in conjunction with cloud-based services" across smartphones, tablets, and other devices. Tablet devices alone will generate $8.1 billion in global app sales in 2015, up from $300 million in 2010. This is a huge number, but as the report explains, it's only a fraction of the total spend on apps when you factor in the cost to develop the apps and reinvent the processes behind the apps. This is no surprise to companies like News Corp., which will have spent $30 million through June 30 on "The Daily" iPad app. That $30 million included major process reinvention such as building an entirely new content management system to handle the all-digital production of The Daily's newsroom.

I recommend that product strategists developing experiences for tablets read John's report. Some key takeaways:

  • Apps are a source of dynamism and innovation for tablets. What we've seen with tablets is that even on the iPad, consumers report spending more time using browsers than using apps, but apps are an important part of the experience. iPad owners in Forrester's January 2011 consumer survey report downloading, on average, 20 apps for their iPads since getting the device, and spending an average of $34 on tablet apps. 
  • Next-generation apps will raise the bar from what we've seen so far. John's report provides more context around how experiences on apps can and should be different from experiences on browsers: taking advantage of context, intelligence, and power of the local device; working offline; engaging with other apps on the device and increasingly on other types of devices. 


For an 'App Internet' example...

...of local apps running in conjunction with cloud-based services, check out Forms Central by Formotus in the App Store and Android Market, and read about it here:

In this case the local native app is a single client for each device type, and the specialized local solution is provided from the cloud as XML-based business forms.

Enterprise apps to cloud example

There are several good examples on the net of enterprise apps connecting to SaaS based services and I am convinced we will see a radical increase in these numbers already this year. We are delivering mobile enabling solutions connecting the enterprise users with their documents and processes that they store in their cloud services. Some more information is here