Apple boasts of 10M App Store downloads in first weekend

Games and baseball among most popular apps

Apple Monday claimed its new App Store delivered more than 10 million downloads to iPhone and iPod touch owners in the three days since its launch last Friday.

An analytics company that targets iPhone developers said its data supports Apple's number, but added that downloads of free applications far outnumber those for paid programs.

"The App Store is a grand slam, with a staggering 10 million applications downloaded in just three days," Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, said in a statement Monday.

App Store, Apple's online mart that is available on Macs and PCs via iTunes, and directly from the iPhone and iPod touch, debuted Friday with 552 applications, about one-fourth of them free for the downloading. As of mid-day Monday, the App Store boasted exactly 800 applications. Of those, 179, or 22%, were free.

"From the multiple applications that are using our analytics, in the aggregate it's very plausible that Apple has had 10 million downloads," said Greg Yardley, the CEO of Pinch Media Inc., a month-old startup based in Hackensack, N.J. Yardley, a product manager at Yahoo prior to starting Pinch Media, said his company's data essentially confirms Apple's claim.

Yardley, however, got more specific about the distribution of those downloads than did Apple.

"There's a long tail to the downloads," he said, with a small number of apps getting the bulk of the download traffic. Of those most-downloaded apps, Pinch Media has tracked several with tens of thousands of downloads.

Yardley declined to share specifics on download tallies, however, citing client confidentiality. "But I do see for a very small number of apps, a lot of traffic."

Not surprisingly, free apps are being downloaded "many more times" than paid applications, Yardley said. Other factors that boost an application's chance of being downloaded include whether it's listed on the App Store in any of the top lists or featured on the online outlet's front page.

"Being on the Top 25 tends to be a positive feedback loop," said Yardley, meaning that appearing on the list means more downloads, which then ensures the application remains on the list.

Last Friday, some users noticed that Apple had revealed the download count of each app when its information page was viewed from an iPhone. Since then, Apple has zeroed out those counters.

"Now that Apple's done that, the only way for developers to track their sales is with our code," Yardley said.

By Apple's accounting, the top five free App Store applications as of Monday were Apple's own Remote, AOL's AIM instant messaging client, and tools from Weatherbug, Facebook and Pandora Radio. Remote has been at the top of the free list since the App Store's launch Friday morning.

The top five for-a-fee applications as ranked by Apple were four games -- Super Monkey Ball, Texas Hold'em, Enigmo and Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart -- and MLB.com's At Bat, which delivers baseball scores and highlights.

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Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
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