Given the recent rush on iPad-specific applications, it should come as no surprise it has been the subject of intense attention by development houses big and small. The familiarity of the programming environment makes the switch between iPhone and iPad almost seamless. Numbers released by Flurry, a mobile analytics company, show just how big of a market the new device has carved out.
According to Flurry’s numbers, iPad development has accounted for 22% of new development starts over the past 60 days. That’s more than the 10% that accounted for new Android starts and is only eclipsed by the 67% of new iPhone starts. Combined, Apple platforms accounted for an astounding 89% of new application starts. Flurry is already tracking over 2000 iPad applications listed in the App Store and that was before it opened to public iPad app purchases yesterday. The number is certain to skyrocket with the official iPad launch tomorrow.
I’ve contended in the past the iPad’s success or failure can’t be counted strictly in the number of units sold. Units shipped is a nice, easy number for the shareholders to understand but the real indicators are elsewhere. Apps sold and developer support are where real success is found these days. Take RIM as an example of the opposite. RIM’s BlackBerry platform used to dominate the mobile market. If you wanted e-mail on the go, the BlackBerry was your only option. Once the app revolution took over the mobile market, RIM lagged and suffered for it. When most people talk about RIM now, it’s in relation to whether Microsoft or Google will be the first one to buy it. Palm, with its otherwise excellent Palm Pre handset, is on a deathwatch because it failed to gain developer support and buy-in for the device. Well those commercials with the creepy, Cylon-esque girl didn’t help either.
So if the iPad can go from 0 to 22% of the new application development in the 60 days of its public existence, while competing platforms go in the opposite direction, I’d say this is another indicator of the long term success of the platform. The iPad, after all, isn’t just about another platform amongst an ocean of them. This is a shift, a whole new sideways movement into a new era of computing. It’s a baby step to be sure, the iPad isn’t the be all and end all of mobile computing, but it’s the beginning of something totally new and different. The people that understand that understand it and those that don’t will. Sure, there will be people who don’t understand in the same way John C. Dvorak very famously didn’t get the mouse, but they will understand as they see more and more people adopt the device. And when the late adopters come on to the scene, they’ll find a rich and diverse App Store full of applications supported by a strong developer base.
Do these numbers indicate the long term success of the iPad? Will these numbers continue to rise as the platform goes public? Are these developers just opportunistic bandwagon jumpers looking for some easy money? Let us know your thoughts.