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iPhone's Application Surprises

Posted by: Olga Kharif on December 06, 2007

Apple’s iPhone Web site lists 10 applications that are most popular with the device’s users. Many of the items on this list surprised me.

The two best-selling applications are games (and, remember, mobile gaming was supposed to be going down the tubes). Next is Zinio, allowing users to view magazine issues right from their handhelds. Then there’s Finger Scan, a fingerprint scanner simulator. Next, we see more games listed.

All of these applications are more popular than Google Maps, which has a huge following. They are also very different from, say, the top sellers for Windows Mobile-enabled devices as listed on Handango; users of those devices seem to buy a lot of software designed to improve their gadgets’ interface, and are more interested in mobile TV.

My conclusion: Touch-screen devices with large displays like the iPhone may be be opening doors to very different kinds of applications than what's popular on today's regular cell phones and Personal Digital Assistants.

I just heard that Jajah, a Web-calling service, has created an application especially adapted to the iPhone. Lots of other application providers that have not yet made a big dent in the mobile market may be following suit. Indeed, 40% of all mobile devices will feature touch screens in a few years. That could easily reshuffle revenue growth from one type of mobile applications to another.

One possibility: The iPhone top-10 list may indicate that mobile gaming and e-books/e-publications applications are about to get second wind.

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Reader Comments


December 6, 2007 02:46 PM

Uhm, Google Maps is ALREADY on the iPhone. The listing for Google Maps on the link you gave is for popularity on the iPod Touch, which does NOT have Google Maps already loaded.


December 7, 2007 06:43 AM

the list you are referring to are all FREE web apps that iPhone / itouch users must access through the web. Most users will not rely on web apps for business style applications. Once native apps become available for the iPhone (without hacking) you will start to see a shift in application popularity. Games will still be popular as the iPhone does not include any. Remember how popular the free version of Solitaire was on the PC?

Web apps will still make sense for applications thatl need to gather its data through the Internet -- shopping sites (,, search sites (google), sport scores (iPhone sports), newspapers (USATODAY, NYTimes), etc


December 7, 2007 08:34 AM

What this really shows is that the iPod Touch and iPhone touch-screen interfaces are good just the way they are, so users get on with doing the things they want for fun or productivity instead of spending effort improving the interface.

Not only is this true for iPhone, but it is true for the Mac as well.

steve ballmer

December 7, 2007 07:06 PM

Proves that the iPhune is just a toy!


December 8, 2007 08:13 PM

I suspect that it's a reflection of iPhone buyer demographics, rather than a grand statement about touch-screen devices with large displays.

Jill Baker

December 10, 2007 09:12 AM

For Olga Kharif -- Just to make sure you have complete information about digital publishing applications for the iPhone, please note, that while Zinio does make some digital magazines available on the iPhone, Texterity technology is faster, easier (no reader required), more comprehensive, was there first, and is currently presenting more than 50 digital publications on the iPhone and iPod touch. Recent PR of Release 1.0 below. I'd be happy to connect you with key people here if you'd like to follow up. thanks, jill

Director of Marketing

Southborough, MA

Texterity, Inc. Announces Release 1.0 of iPhone and iPod touch Magazines

Texterity, Inc., a leading publisher of digital magazines in the United States announced that it now has 52 digital publications now available on the iPhone and iPod touch, along with easier access, improved performance, the ability to view pages and visit links of advertisers.

Texterity, Inc., provided a beta release of the first digital magazine interface specifically designed for the Apple iPhone in the summer of 2007 after the iPhone launch. Riding on Apple’s projected 10 million in 2008 sales and considerable enthusiasm from the publishing community, Texterity has grown the number of titles on the iPhone by over 200% and is continuing to add more.

New innovations in the Release 1.0 version include convenient access to all magazines with a single browser window, full compatibility with the latest Safari browser, and enhanced functionality including full search, linking to websites, table of contents, send to a friend, and an easy way to subscribe to the magazines viewed.

Publishers participating in the iPhone program include Access Intelligence, Bonnier Corporation, EH Publishing, F & W Publications, GIE Media, Hearst Corporation, Meredith Media, Northstar Travel Media, O’Reilly Media, Penton Media, Quest Media, The Old Farmers Almanac, The Reader’s Digest Association, Time, Inc., and Ziff Davis Media.

“Mobile delivery is one more way we help publishers attract new subscribers and generate results for their advertisers. As a publishing partner, it’s important that we not only lead the charge but push the envelope,” says Cimarron Buser, VP Marketing. “In this new release, we’ve also taken advantage of the power of styling abilities in the Safari browser to enhance performance and make the reader’s experience consistent with the iPhone model.”

Mobile digital magazines may be viewed on the iPhone and iPod touch at . Those without an iPhone/iPod touch should visit To see a video about the Texterity iPhone program,
go to Inquiries for more information
or services should be directed to Cimarron Buser at (508) 804-3062.

About Texterity, Inc.

Texterity, Inc. ( is a leading provider of complete digital publishing solutions. With the most flexible solution in the industry, publishers can choose a custom program ranging from basic services to fully outsourced solutions with innovative circulation-building programs. Named to the “EContent 100” as one of the “100 Companies that Matter Most in the Digital Content Industry,” Texterity provides the only true no-download solution. Top publishers such as Time, Inc., Meredith Corporation (NYSE:MDP), Dow Jones & Co., CMP, Penton Media, PennWell Corporation, Hearst, Condé Nast, Ziff Davis Media, IDG, Bonnier Corporation, and O’Reilly Media all utilize Texterity to provide a rich viewing experience using only a standard web browser. Privately held, Texterity is headquartered in Southborough, Mass.


December 10, 2007 12:50 PM

Texterity: wow. Posting an entire press release in a comment reeks of desperation.


December 16, 2007 02:44 PM

Steve, I agree that so far it seems like a toy. But would you rather it seem like a cold, complicated gadget for engineers and hard faced suits and do half as much?


December 17, 2007 04:01 PM

The problem is that the service providers, namely Verizon and AT&T, create a closed internet and discourage use of Google Maps. Otherwise Google would be a top application.


Bob Anders

May 9, 2008 06:41 PM

Tip Total Information Technology released a Apple Iphone Application called TIPR in an agreement with PR Newswire United Business Media. This robust elegant Apple IPhone application allows in line text searh with no pop ups or clunky java scripting - TIPR is a real compiled powerful program.

This technology rules on delivering documents to mobile devices - fast and instant formating. Companies are going to moving their internet document publishing to the TIP plat form here are some linkes to check out the apps.


iPhone Application Developer

February 5, 2009 07:01 PM

One of my favorites is the recently released iSteam app.

Sam Shaw
iPhone Game Developer

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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