According to Apple, almost half the apps built for iOS are exclusively for iPads — yet those tablets account for just a fraction of sales of the iPhone. What gives?
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Back in January, Apple said that there were one million apps on the iTunes App Store, and that half of them were iPad native apps. That proportion has been steadily growing over the last two years, and if that trend continues iPad apps will become dominant.
Yet the iPad doesn’t sell in the same volume as the iPhone. This chart , reported on our sibling site Business Insider, shows how reliant Apple is on iPhone revenues, according to analysis by Pacific Crest Securities:
On this measure, both the iPad and the entire software business are massively less important to Apple than the iPhone. So why is the number of iPad apps so large?
There are a few potential explanations. People are likely to upgrade their iPhone more often than their iPad, so the revenues from new hardware sales won’t necessarily correlate with the number of apps that are developed. The larger display on the iPad also enables apps that simply wouldn’t make sense on a smaller screen.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway is that Apple is making far more money from selling gadgets than selling apps, but that one of the reasons its hardware is so appealing is because of that big base of apps. Just remember: as we’ve often pointed out, the vast majority of apps are free, which means making money from that space is very, very difficult — no matter what size screen you target.