Why the App Store reaching 1M apps should be the last app milestone that we celebrate. Soon the notion of "zombie" apps will seem as absurd as "zombie" songs.
Of the three statements below, which one seems real and newsworthy?
Hopefully you identified #3 as the statistic which did not seem absurd. And while I made up the numbers for movies and music, you'd hopefully agree that even the real figures were real, they wouldn't be interesting. They're obvious.
In the wake of the App Store's 5th birthday, Adeven reported that around 579,000 of the roughly 900,000 apps currently available in the App Store hardly get any downloads, labeling them "zombie apps". While this report piqued my interest, it also made me realize that this kind of information won't be interesting much longer. "Zombie" songs and "zombie" films (no, not that kind) aren't interesting to think about because they're so obvious, and soon "zombie" apps will be the same.
Likewise with the old "There's an app for that" catchphrase. That phrase seems antiquated not because there's obviously an app for that now. There's an app for everything.
Ditto for the upcoming "1M apps in the App Store" milestone. It's a big market. Let's stop counting how big it is.
Apps are mainstream entertainment media now; they're no longer new-fangled curiosities. The list of mainstream Entertainment & Media looks something like this:
What's more, many of the items on this list are already either app-like or borrow significantly from "apps".
Let's try another thought experiment. If true, which one of the following would most surprise you?
This time it's the app-related scenario which stands out as ridiculous. But how long will it be until this happens? Facebook has comparable revenues to some major movie studios and music publishers. Roughly the same number of Americans who went to the movies in 2012 now have a Facebook account (each is about 2/3 of all Americans). And if 80% of the US market will have smartphones by October 2014, app publishers like Facebook could be reasonably sure that billboard advertisements won't be wasted on non-consumers. Even your currently-disconnected Aunt Bertie will be an app user by then, especially if her favorite TV show starts advertising for their own app.
So while I'm as excited as anyone about the "1M apps in the App Store" milestone, I'm looking forward to celebrating the end of these celebrations. Just "being in the Store" isn't all that meaningful now, as getting traction can be as difficult for an indie app developer as it is an indie musician or filmmaker. App makers will increasingly need the kind of marketing skill and firepower that indie artists turn to studios for.
App makers are part of the mainstream media now; if you're an app maker, you can quite literally make of that what you will.