The good news is that media are massively “embracing the iPhone”, the worrying aspect is that not a lot dare to ask money for their applications. Following the announcement mid-July by Apple that customers have downloaded more than 1.5 billion applications in just one year from its App Store (the largest applications store with more than 65,000 apps), Ben Lorica, Senior Analyst at O'Reilly Media, checked the data warehouse of all apps available in the U.S. iTunes app store that O’Reilly maintains. His main findings (see graphic below) are that there is an explosion of News applications (and to a lesser extent Navigation), especially since May 2009 : “The most popular News apps are from media companies (and tend to be free), while paid News apps are mostly software for reading and organising 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 organisations have done just that: during the week ending 7/12, there were over 1,500 News apps” comments Lorica.
Rising concerns about delay and approval method
With many more apps being launched each week, Apple now has to sift through more apps. “Not surprisingly, the incubation period (i.e. time between release date and the date an app actually appears in the app store) has gotten longer. In all but the Travel category, the MEAN incubation period has been trending upward” comments Lorica in another study (http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/07/itunes-app-store-incubation-period-incr...). “A combination of more transparency (allow developers to communicate with Apple referees via email, interactive chat session,) and crowdsourcing (have the developpers and users flag questionable apps) could help shorten the incubation period” suggests Lorica.
The issue of vetting applications before they get released is critical as seen with this accident reported by Dancho Danchev, an independent security consultant and contributor to ZDNet : “Earlier this month, a mobile malware slipped through Symbian’s mobile code signing procedure, allowing it to act as a legitimate application with access to device critical functions such as access to the mobile network, and numerous other functions of the handset” (http://blogs.zdnet.com/security/?p=3781).