A comparison of download statistics from the iPhone application store, and the iTunes store’s first year of operation has revealed that iPhone apps are growing twice as fast as iTunes did when it launched.
Last month, Apple announced 30 million downloads through the Apps Store. Growth has doubled this month, with Apple reporting 100 million downloads to date. If this growth rate holds (though that is quite a big “if”), then Apple should pass 1 billion downloads sometime in 2009. In contrast, the iTunes store took two months to hit 25 million, and it didn’t hit 1 billion until it’s second year.
The two products are surprisingly comparable. Both launched about a year and a half after the product they’re associated with, both involve mostly low-cost transactions, and both represent new approaches to existing marketplaces. Both also have less-than-legal alternatives – P2P in the case of iTunes, and jailbreaking your iPhone in the case of the app store, though obviously P2P is considerably more widespread than iPhone hacking.
Be afraid of Apple. They have the power to dominate the phone market in exactly the same way they’ve dominated the MP3 player market. If you’re thinking that the iPhone is quite niche, targeted at smartphone fans and early adopters, remember that the original iPod was relatively niche too. It had way more capacity than anyone thought they actually needed at the time – barring a few huge music geeks. Once Apple bring out some version of an iPhone Nano, and you can bet that they will, then they can really attack that mass-market who are currently under the sway of Nokia and Sony Ericsson.