To mark another iPhone milestone (1.5 billion app downloads in a year), I checked our iTunes app store data warehouse. I was expecting the Books category to continue to register the fastest-growth but was instead greeted by an explosion in News (and to a lesser extent, Navigation) apps:
On any given week, about 22% of all apps in the U.S. iTunes store are free. The percentage of free News apps is slightly higher (31%). The most popular News apps are from media companies (and tend to be free), while paid News apps are mostly software for reading and organizing news, or premium content. News content providers increasingly need to have a strategy for delivering content to the iPhone and similar mobile devices. At least for the iPhone, many news organizations have done just that: during the week ending 7/12, there were over 1,500 News apps.
The second fastest-growing category (in terms of # of apps) over the last 12 weeks was Navigation, a category that our resident geo expert Brady blogs about frequently. The share of free Navigation apps (14%) is among the lowest of all the categories (behind Books and Travel).
About 57,500 unique apps appeared in the U.S. iTunes store over the last week, roughly 22% of which were free. In the graph below, I count the number of apps available in the U.S. store during the given week:
In closing, I compare 3 fast-growing categories (Books, News, Navigation) to the largest category (Games). Once again I count the number of apps available in the U.S. store during the given week, but I normalized each time-series to start at 100:
Both the News and Navigation categories added many new apps from late May through the first week of June, surging way ahead of what was until recently the fastest-growing category — Books. Note that all iTunes categories added lots of new apps over the past year. Of the 4 shown above, the slowest-growing category, Games, has close to 50 times the number of apps compared to a year ago.
() We maintain a data warehouse consisting of all apps available in the U.S. iTunes app store, dating back to late July 2008. Data for this post was through the week ending July 12, 2009.