On November 28th 2008 Apple hit a landmark for their iPhone App Store. They reached 10,000 approved applications for their device. Less then a year later, Apple has hit another landmark in approving their 100,000th app. This number is mind boggling when you think about the amount of development man hours that have gone into it.
Recently I've read some other saddening numbers in that some developers are seeing piracy rates of upwards of 90% on their applications. I firmly believe that Apple's recent move to allow developers to sell in game purchases in their free apps is a direct response to the massive pirating we see going on. If developers, publishers, startups and the like are going to make money consistently on the device in a complete sea of pirates and the race to $0.99 they are going to do start thinking and doing things completely differently. A lot of people are starting to expect a lot of game for almost no money. The problem is very few companies can exist by merely selling their app for such a low price, but then you'll almost never get noticed if you price yourself higher. It is definitely a catch 22 for many devs. What I see happening in this space is that the devs who take the model of giving their game away for free and then convincing me to go farther by spending $0.99 or $1.99 will more likely succeed. The other approach is to lock people out of the game based on a timed events similar to how iMob does it. There may even be a 3rd or 4th solution to this problem that has yet to emerge.
This flood of apps will not stop, and some analysts are saying that we'll see 250,000 applications by this time next year and that number may even be low if we look at the growth pattern over the last year and half. Crazy as it sounds, I think this is just the tip of the iceberg that will be the app store. Everyone will be developing stuff for the iPhone. At some point, Apple will be changing it's slogan to "There are 100 apps for that" as extreme over saturation hits in all areas. Even Adobe is releasing a Flash game converter that allows you to make your Flash game into an app and with that every Flash game will get converted in no time.
It's going to be interesting where the store goes from here. I don't think Apple, even in their wildest dreams, expected such a large community surrounding their store to grow so quickly. I really hope we'll see a revamp for the store soon. The sea of apps is expanding at an insane pace, and it's current form doesn't really do the enormity of it justice.
It's an interesting community to watch grow, and right now the growing pains are there but in the end I think all this innovation is amazing and reminds me of some of the early days of the internet. We'll be watching all of this closely at 148apps, and will keep you up to do date on the trends and changing atmosphere of the store as best we can.