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iPhone App Downloads Are Declining for the First Time in App Store’s History

For the first time in Apple's history, the company is recording a drop in key segments, including the iPhone App Store. As we previously reported, consumer satisfaction has slightly declined with the launch of iOS 6; a couple days ago, a report highlighted a slight drop in iPhone owners’ loyalty, and now ABI Research shows App Store downloads are below the 30% mark for the first time ever.

iPhone Apps

The Fact is, iPhone app downloads are subject to a seasonal fluctuation, but the fight between Android and iOS isn't. From this perspective, it is surprising to see that Android, which tends to be the most unsafe mobile operating system, continues to record an increase or at least maintains the level of downloads, while Apple is slightly affected by this seasonal trend in the second quarter of 2012, as Senior analyst Aapo Markkanen points out:

The iPhone’s download share tends to see a lot of seasonal fluctuation, but over the past year or so it has stayed surprisingly resilient between 30% and 37% of the total. In our estimates, the second quarter represented the first time that iPhone app downloads have dipped below 30%. The iPhone 5 will most likely cause a second-half hike to the download count, but that may be of a rather temporary nature.

There are two logical explanations, though, as highlighted by the researchers from ABI: the first one is Apple's clampdown on download bots earlier this year, which were used by some developers to manipulate their chart positions.

The second explanation cites the popularity of the iPad. Tim Cook recently announced that Apple had sold its 100 millionth iPad, which is a huge milestone for the company. As Fiksu, an app-marketing company points out, the iPad has seen incredible growth, and users have used their tablet instead of their iPhone to download apps.

It’s notable that among the iOS apps that the momentum is also shifting up the value chain and towards iPad applications, and this change is happening definitely faster than what Google is experiencing. We estimate in the first half of this year the iPad saw over five times more app downloads than all Android tablets combined.

Only time will tell whether the iPhone apps can bounce back and keep pace once again, or if it truly is the age of the iPad beginning to take over.

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