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Are We Close to the Saturation Point for iPhone Apps?

What I believe to expect next

iPhone Developer on Ulitzer

In a conversation last week I was asked my point of view with regard to the number of applications on the Apple App Store and what I believe to expect next. Here is a portion of my reply...

I am not even going to state the current number of applications available, as this will be out of date immediately, but one can easily predict that this number will continue to grown rapidly, even with the large number of application on the App Store already. Some would suggest that saturation point is near for the App Store?

Lets face it, if you believe Apple's iPhone advertising catchphrase... "There's an app for everything" you would think that we are nearly there. I would state that there will really be no such point. The number of application is really limited by the imagination of the iPhone Developers and the features added to the hardware of the device and iPhone OS by Apple, which combine together to form applications that are innovative. Along with that, as the device gets into more and more hands of end users, more and more ideas can be generated.

This last point brings me to a thought that came to me over the weekend. This new thought is, that sometimes as a developer you can be too close to the device to see new innovative uses, or be unaware of what aspects of everyday life the device is being used in. It is my belief that the one of the next steps for the iPhone and the large number of developers out there, with respect to applications, is to have a pool of ideas that the real end-users can post to. I would suggest that over 99% or more of all iPhone users out there are totally sold on the device and the freedom it gives, but have no technical savvy or real drive to create a commercial product... they just want their problem solved. For some, that solution to their problem could be a little bit too specific, but others could vote and suggest changes to make an idea more main-stream. An iPhone Apps Ideas Pool like this, free for developers to peruse for the next big idea, with no copyright from the originator would give the a further accelerator to the iPhone Application business. Being open to all would not be bad, it just makes sure that the quality of applications developed remains high, due to competition.

Other than my weekend brain-wave, I believe the saturation point will not be reached, due to the adoption of the iPhone by businesses, which is continuing to gain momentum. This in turn will give birth to new internal applications that will streamline internal processes, create new revenue streams and save time & money. Evolution of  some of these internal applications will more than likely create consumer applications and the cycle will continue.

More Stories By Ian Thain

As one of the Sybase Technical Evangelists, Ian regularly addresses technical audiences all over the world and his sessions are always very well attended. He also writes education classes, whitepapers, demos and articles for various Sybase products and publishes regularly in Journals such as SYS-CON's PBDJ and International Developer Magazine. He is also the Sybase Unwired Platform & PocketBuilder Evangelist and works closely with the team in Dublin, CA and Concord, MA on new features and demonstrations for the products. In his customer-facing Evangelist role, Ian is very involved with the design, production and testing of Enterprise class Unwired Solutions, that have been implemented using Sybase's Unwired tools for Sybase customers around the globe. In addition, Ian is a dedicated technical expert continually working with Sybase's key partners and clients to enhance the capabilities of the Unwired solutions that Sybase can offer to its customers. Ian can also be found on Twitter @ithain