The landscape of mobile applications is rapidly evolving, and Apple’s iOS apps have witnessed a big shift. In the last week, paid iOS apps for iPad devices have fallen completely off the top 10 highest grossing apps chart.
iPad apps with the highest gross amounts now belong to iOS apps that focus on clever in-app purchases and not one-time payments for downloads.
When the Apple iPhone first debuted, app manufacturers focused on $.99 to $2.99 charges for their apps. Now that the app market includes hundreds of thousands of applications, developers are beginning to realize that giving away their initial application is better for business.
From simple flashlight apps to complex video games, developers focus on getting users hooked and then plying them with charges and, before those charges, with mobile ads.
The move away from paid apps has left just one paid app on the iPhones top twenty grossing apps list.
What might be most amazing is that the highest downloaded apps are not necessarily the highest grossing. For example, Clash of Clans has been the top-grossing iPad application for all of January but ranks just 53rd for overall iPad app downloads.
The shift to free play games has led to a design revolution in which games have become more complex in their capabilities. Games must now keep users playing for longer periods of time in order to steadily increase their in-app purchases. In many cases, developers will wait for long periods of time to even consider hitting users with possible fees. By the time hours have been invested in a game, developers know many users will pay to complete their hard work more quickly.