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Counting to One Billion iPhone App Store Downloads

When will enterprise applications become as ubiquitous as games?

Apple’s App Store is getting ever closer to hitting the 1 Billion download milestone, check out http://www.apple.com/itunes/billion-app-countdown/ (in fact it is counting up). By my calculation it should reach its goal in the next few days or so and to be sure we will hear about it in the press!

Seriously though, think about it, this feat is outstanding when you realize that the iTunes store took about 3 years to get to 1 Billion downloads and towards the end of 2008 the App Store was only just over 0.5 Billion. So where was the turning point? As far as I can tell, after the iPhone 3G appeared and the native SDK became available to the ever growing throng of developers, application submissions increased and downloads along with the amount of apps available. This increase in developers and applications, has in turn fed the interest and uptake even more in a self perpetuating cycle.

The next questions are…
1. How will they get to 2 Billion?
2. When enterprise applications will become as ubiquitous as gaming applications for the iPhone?

Out of that 1 Billion approximately 25% (my ‘guestimate’) have been games and it leaves this business developer wanting the next milestone set by Apple to be met with adding more business-like applications. This is where companies like Sybase can step in, with enterprise adoption enabling applications such as mobile office and development tools/software the Sybase Unwired Platform, Mobile Office and MobiLink/Ultralite.

Check out my iPhone and Sybase related blog posts…

Sybase knows how to make the iPhone Enterprise-ready!
Securing and Delivering Business Data on the iPhone
i(Phone) have my data here, now I want it there…What's the problem?

I am also wondering about the difficulty around downloading business applications from the App Store. Companies, especially large enterprises, will not want to download individual applications for each employee using an iPhone. I believe Apple will need to change the downloading model/option for enterprise applications to experience significant growth in this area.

STOP PRESS - Even Industry Analysts Forrester Research are now suggesting that companies look towards the iPhone as a key platform for their Enterprise. Check out these other articles below…

AppleInsider: “We find the BlackBerry better for email and calendaring and the iPhone better for everything else,” he notes.

Computerworld: However, not everything was rosy with iPhone deployments, Schadler noted. Combining iPhone and ActiveSync for calendaring functions is still the “single biggest end user problem,” he said.

Fortune: There are the top four iPhone “challenges,” including the dearth of management tools, the lack of full support for VPN and the “usual litany” of “annoying” early-generation glitches (e.g., lack of cut-and-paste and click-to-call).

More Stories By Ian Thain

As one of the Sybase Technical Evangelists, Ian regularly addresses technical audiences all over the world and his sessions are always very well attended. He also writes education classes, whitepapers, demos and articles for various Sybase products and publishes regularly in Journals such as SYS-CON's PBDJ and International Developer Magazine. He is also the Sybase Unwired Platform & PocketBuilder Evangelist and works closely with the team in Dublin, CA and Concord, MA on new features and demonstrations for the products. In his customer-facing Evangelist role, Ian is very involved with the design, production and testing of Enterprise class Unwired Solutions, that have been implemented using Sybase's Unwired tools for Sybase customers around the globe. In addition, Ian is a dedicated technical expert continually working with Sybase's key partners and clients to enhance the capabilities of the Unwired solutions that Sybase can offer to its customers. Ian can also be found on Twitter @ithain