Is Apple iPhone losing its app advantage?

By andy

When Apple opened up the iPhone to developers and launched the App Store, it was a wake up call, and set a benchmark for other mobile phone manufacturers to aspire to.

Yes, it’s a much more closed system than the likes of Android, for example, but an iPhone user’s experience of purchasing apps via iTunes, either from the phone or on a Mac or PC, has still been much better than many other systems.

What has let the side down is the quality of apps available in the Store, made worse by the sheer quantity of them.

New analysis from the Facebook mobile app store Mplayit has found that consumers don’t really care how many apps a certain platform has, but what they are and whether they’ll fulfil a certain need.

‘How many apps?’ is the wrong question,” said Michael Powers, CEO and founder of Mplayit. “People just want to get the job done. It doesn’t matter if there are 50 different to-do list apps on iPhone, because Android or BlackBerry just need a couple of good ones to make consumers happy.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, apps that can work across various platforms tended to do particularly well in the popularity stakes, with top apps including Evernote (Lists and Notes category) and Pandora Radio (music category).

mPlay it, which uses Facebook to display a range of applications available on each smartphone platform, is aiming at those people who may wish to switch mobile platform without giving up their favourite types of application.

It seems many consumers just want to do a few things on their phone, and to do them well. Sure, us geeks probably tend to examine every aspect of a phone and its software, but the masses maybe care rather less.

Apple may try to convince the general population that there’s an app for just about anything on the iPhone, but most just aren’t after that many.

The handset itself is still pretty important. I’ve used similar apps on an iPhone and a BlackBerry, and let me tell you the BB experience was horrendous. That’s why manufacturers need to ensure their hardware and interface is as good as it can be so users get a good app experience.

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