State of the Apps: Revenue Numbers, Paid and Switch, and the [Redacted] NDA

Jobs Speaks About App Store

The iPhone App Store Avalanche continues, with seemingly dozens of new Apps popping up every day (though no word yet on NetShare or Box Office!), but as busy as things look out front, they're just as busy behind the scenes.

So what's going on? Business. It's booming. (At least if your customers aren't getting error codes -4 or 5002 when trying to access iTunes!) Apple began to report download stats to developers, and some developers have begun to share those stats with the blogsphere.

What do they say? Read on to find out!

Eliza Block, developer of the popular $5.99 2across is hitting $2000 a day -- and growing -- and she was only at #39! Meanwhile, the free game Tap Tap Revenge has already surpassed to 1 million download mark, with 2.5 million in indie song downloads to go with it, which made developer John Casasanta, who also announced $9,547 and $349 for Where To and Tipulator, think there may be some future in iPhone Apps. (Though there's no word yet on how that $999 "I Am Rich" (Cr)App is doing..)

Others, while not sharing numbers, aren't so shy about sharing expectations. Sega thinks they'll hit 1 million with Super Monkey Ball. At $9.99 a pop, that's almost $10 million. For a mobile game. That's enough to get developers Other Ocean talking about creating a specialized iPhone division to crank out more cash... er... games.

All the competition has gotten some apps to lower their price, a prime example being Cro Mag Rally going from $9.99 to $5.99.

On the flip side, some free apps have switched to paid apps, taking advantage of what seems to be a flaw in the system that keeps their free popularity stat in the App Store when they switch, leading to an instant spotlight in the top paid apps list. Looking at you, Unit Converter... For users, TiPb Forum moderator Bad Ash recommends -- and I heartily agree -- that "it's good idea to stock up on all the free apps while they are 'free' ".

Of course, all's not rosy in App Store land, as developers are still bound by the [redacted] NDA, which many feel is simply a hinderance to quality apps in a post beta world, and others think may just be protecting Apple from competitors peeking into their tech. Likewise, Apple traditionally acts like its under a permanent NDA all its own, with developers constantly in the dark about when their apps -- and updates to apps -- may (or may not) appear in the App Store.

With the App Store, along with Mobile Me, recently being re-organized under VP of Internet Services, Eddy Cue, who will report directly to Steve Jobs, hopefully some of the old iTunes Store quality will rub off on it.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

State of the Apps: Revenue Numbers, Paid and Switch, and the [Redacted] NDA


If I had developed a popular free app, I'd be tempted to begin asking 99 cents for it. Surely there are thousands of dollars to be made.