Friday, March 18, 2011

Mac and iOS App Store Comparisons

This morning, the Apple News echo chamber has turned out a few stories about how the top apps in the Mac App Store have had 50% less revenue than the top apps in for the iPad in the iOS app store or fewer apps in the same time frame: (MacRumors, electronista, cult of mac).

I'm not at all surprised by these figures; the two stores are pretty different in some significant respects:
  • Many people with Macs have software for OS X already.
  • A significant portion of the people buying new Macs already have a Mac.
  • Very few people buying an iPad in 2010 already had an iPad (I know, there were some repeat customers in families and the like, but a small percentage)
  • Only those people buying multiple iPads had software for the iPad already, and even those might well buy new software as they were often intended for different users (kids vs. adults, husband and wife, etc.)
  • There are alternate and pre-existing forms of software distribution for the Mac. Even if you wanted to buy Mac software, you might choose not to buy it from the App Store.
So, while some of these comparison points are mildly interesting, it's definitely an Apples to Oranges comparison, and there's not a lot of extrapolation to be done here. (The Cult of Mac article did the best job of calling out that these differences are not surprising, imo.)

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