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Study: people don’t use iPhone apps

A new report compiled by iPhone analytics firm Pinch Media finds the majority of people stop using apps the very day after they download them. Where’s the love? The data, presented at this week’s New York iPhone Developers Meetup, is actually geared toward developers–but there are some interesting insights for average App Store users, too. Here are three fun facts for any smartphone fan:

  • Fact #1: With free apps, a whopping 80 percent of people abandon their selections the day after their first interaction.
  • Fact #2: When it comes to paid apps, less than a third of users go back for more the following day.
  • Fact #3: Only 1 percent of people end up developing a long-term usage relationship with any given app. Instead, most tend to lose interest after only a few minutes.

Dating comparisons aside, Pinch Media found apps focused on games and entertainment seem to outlast other categories when it comes to long-term engagement. Even if it can’t complete when it comes to stamina, though, snagging a spot in one of the App Store “top 100″ lists can help an app more than double its downloads. “Top 25″ or “top 10″ placement, not surprisingly, is the best place to be. The presentation goes on to discuss some of the business aspects of the App Store. Dropping a price, for example, increases an app’s demand by 130 percent. Raising a price, on the other hand, causes the app’s demand to fall by 25 percent. The company also says typically, developers are better off charging for an app than offering it for free. Even with the higher usage rate of free apps, Pinch found developers can’t come close to the earning potential provided by a pay-to-play program.

Source: PC World


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  1. dciple
    February 21st, 2009 | 10:18

    Not surprising, in the end all you "need" is a phone, no more no less. I myself have had almost every HTC pocketpc (my boss pays ;) ) and I find myself getting sick of it after 2 days, you just don't use it for anything but phone, text messages (sms) and email (for professional purpose).

  2. pokeslow
    February 21st, 2009 | 10:20

    Martin, thanks for the link to original article. In fact, in its comments it's noted that the calculation in the slideshow is incorrect.

  3. i hate the bbc they make me pay a tv licence when i dont have a tv :(
    February 21st, 2009 | 10:56

    WHERE IN THE WORLD PC WORLD!!!! i miss them tv ads lol

  4. Morgan
    February 21st, 2009 | 12:26

    Well duh. I haven't even sent a picture since I got my phone, I've never even had one of those video conversations.

    Other than the obvious; texting and calling, I've used:


    That's it.

  5. MAXp0wr
    February 21st, 2009 | 12:41

    Some apps are really useful. Some aren't.
    I have downloaded quite a few really good and useful apps that I use most days.

  6. Christoph
    February 21st, 2009 | 12:59

    I downloaded about 50 apps for my iphone and i ended up using about 5 regularly. The others have a short life cycle and get kicked out after a couple of days.

    What i still use is:
    * iAdsense
    * myAnalytics
    * aSleep
    * Shazam
    * Last FM

    Additionally i used these preinstalled apps:
    * Maps
    * weather
    * alarm clock
    * contacts
    * camera

  7. Flo
    February 21st, 2009 | 13:05

    well the same happens with me on the google android phone.

    I downloaded about 70+ apps (so far all of them are for free yipeee) and ended up using maybe 12 apps on a regular basis.

    the other apps are either a waste of space or just funny for a day or two.

    BUT the 12 apps I ended up using are brilliant and I wouldnt want to miss them!

  8. Johnny
    February 21st, 2009 | 14:20

    This cannot suprise any of you, it's Apple! My 3.5yr old HTC Wizard does the same stuff and about 99999x times more. Perhaps one day the fanboys/girls will loose Apple glamour.

  9. Sensei
    February 21st, 2009 | 15:07

    No surprises, I have had my trusty Nokia N82 for a year now, I've filled it loads cracked apps and games, hacked the firmware etc but I generally only use my phone to make phone calls and texts and use the GPS occasionally for navigation, thats it.

  10. Bugs
    February 21st, 2009 | 15:55

    Many of the free apps that have no server component seem to be more a programming exercise to teach the coder how to use objective c and the iphone sdk, than an actual product. since apple basically does not give refunds for things purchased in the appstore the only way to find out if a non-free app does what you want, is to buy it and throw it out if it sucks. How many applications that do nothing more than fart on command does the market need? How many different ways are there to write an application that does nothing more than fart on command, that Apple believes justifies inclusion in the appstore…

  11. Chelmsley
    February 21st, 2009 | 16:29

    Yeah its all preference, for anyone with an HTC or PPC phone go to http://www.ppcgeeks.com they have a modding community there unlike any other. Completey free mods and programs and they even made a program PPCkitchen that makes upgrading and modding your PPC ridiculously easy you can get all the new software programs and features on the newer phones for free.

    The guys there helped me hack a Sprint 6900 to get working on the VZW network months before the phone was released for the VZW. I paid $75 for the phone over a year ago because the ESN was stolen. I replaced it with mine and off i went.

  12. gandalf
    February 21st, 2009 | 18:18

    apps only purpose is so people can justify spending a ton of money on a iphone subscription :)

  13. pgi
    February 21st, 2009 | 20:55

    it's just a phone, it may look a bad pocket calculator without keys, but in fact it's just a phone, so… it needs to be able to store numbers and dial them, nothing more :\ theres no surprise here. instead of more applications, what an iphone needs are real pressable keys

  14. sinspaw
    February 22nd, 2009 | 04:43

    this study isn't showing real results. I have a hacked iphone and I use a lot of apps and I know a lot of people download apps form Cydia.

    Yeah people might not use APPLE's apps, but we do use other apps that come from elsewhere.

  15. tuffy
    February 22nd, 2009 | 13:37

    i will never want one or buy one to make myself a walking target for governments to watch me and listen to my private conversations when im not using the iphone, yes people the iphone is the perfect big brother in your pocket, not only can they monitor u, listen to your phone conversations they can also remotely listen to your everyday life without you dialing or answering a call, people must wake up to this just like the facebook that promotes all your info to everyone in the world it is also a one stop place on the web for everyone to know who you and what u do, your civil rights are YOURS not the governments.

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