1.5 billion iPhone app downloads: Bogus or Bonafide

I attended a talk here at Sun, by Ilya L. and Chris D. from GetJar.com talking about their download rate of Java ME apps far outnumbering the actual download rate of the Apple App Store for the iPhone. There seems to be some controversy over whether the possibly cooked up 1.5 billion iPhone app download number contains just unique app downloads or includes the frequent updates that an already installed app requires. Jason D. O'Grady a blogger at ZDNet seems to agree and think the Apple number is bogus.

See:

1.5 billion iPhone app downloads bogus?

Here's a quote:

 Apple is cooking the books (ala Enron 
 and WorldCom) when they put out 
 irrelevant and nonsense releases like 
 this. For starters, I’m pretty sure 
 that Apple counts every download in 
 that 1.5 billion number. Updates and 
 re-installs included.
Pretty strong words. Some might even say libelous. But as Jason points out, if the 1.5 billion download number is true, then where is the court injunction against his libelous blog post? Where is the demand for a retraction? If the number were true, I would think Apple would sue his mud slinging, yellow journalism tushie mighty quickly. (Of course, I'm just saying that since I didn't make that claim and I want to see a food fight or at least a court case...) ;-)

By the way, after talking with the GetJar.com guys, we could probably come up with the number of Java ME app downloads that happened last year. Something north of 20 billion is the guess... Not including updates. :-)

Comments:

Since there are about 37 million iPhone and iPod Touches sold (according to Apple's April 2009 quarterly earnings call), 1.5B downloads works out to about 40 per device.

While I certainly don't know what criteria Apple uses for their download numbers, ~ 40/device doesn't seem crazy out of line with the number of apps my friends have.

Posted by Bill Hathaway on July 17, 2009 at 11:24 AM PDT #

Yes, it is possible. You can do a quick poll and ask each of your friends with an iPhone or iPod touch how many pages of apps they have. If each has more than 2.5 extra pages of apps (beside the home page of default apps), they are about average. If many don't have at least that, you'd have to find many more that have 5 or more pages of extra apps to keep the average of about 40 apps per device and balance out those with fewer apps than the stated average.

A good way to quickly do a sampling...

Hinkmond

Posted by Hinkmond Wong on July 17, 2009 at 11:31 AM PDT #

With Apple you always have the feeling that - despite having good products - they know how to create a hype around something. True, the AppStore is a success for the company, and has turned thousands of developers world wide into iPhone developers - including Barcamps, iPhoneDevConferences and the likes.

JavaFX has the potential to do the same, but too most people outside the Java mobile world I'd argue that the technology has only 1/10 of the attractiveness the iPhone apps have. I'm still convinced that Apple will have a hard time to reach the numbers of the J2ME/JavaFX world in the future.

Posted by Raju Bitter on July 19, 2009 at 12:34 AM PDT #

Hi Raju,

Good feedback to have. I agree that Apple will have difficulties reaching the same numbers as Java ME technology. But, lets see if that doesn't matter to them and they instead would want to be in a specialized niche...

Hinkmond

Posted by Hinkmond Wong on July 20, 2009 at 04:25 AM PDT #

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Hinkmond Wong's blog on making Machine to Machine (M2M) and the Incredible Internet of Things (IoT) smarter with Java Embedded Technologies

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