The number of apps on the various app stores is a topic often discussed in tech blogs and even mainstream media. One of the yardsticks of success is the number of apps and up until few years ago, the Apple blogs gloated about the number of apps on the iTunes store. And then Android grew in popularity across the world (that’s an understatement) and it was just a matter of time before the the number of apps on the Google Play store caught up with that of iOS (current number of Android apps in the market: approx. 875,000- just a wee bit lower than that of iOS).
In my view, the number of apps, as a stand alone metric is a meaningless metric. Sure, there has to be a threshold level of apps, especially the commonly used ones, across stores. The Windows App Store used to suffer on this count until a while ago (perhaps still does) and it is a matter of time before it catches up. For example, Flipboard, the popular news aggregator came over to Windows 8.1 just last week.
In fact, the most common, popular apps across categories have found their way across all the app stores. So, be it News (all the major news organisations, dailies, aggregators), Social Networking, Games, Utilities or Productivity apps there are a few that will be available across platforms. If one is switching from iOS to Android it will not be a problem in finding the common apps. The difference can be seen in niche, specialist apps in my view. There are still a whole lot of developers who focus on iOS (either as iOS-first or iOS-only) for a variety of reasons: propensity of the iOS user to spend more on apps & content, the higher usage of the device, relatively easier development efforts (one platform, lesser fragmentation of devices) and so on. Or it could simply be that the developer is biased towards iOS.
In that context, there are many iOS-only apps which I have to come to love. Here is a partial list of iOS-only apps:
Day One: by far the best journal app there is, in my opinion
Ordet: Given seven random letters, how many words can you make?
Paper: gorgeous drawing tool on the iPad. Even if you are not an artist, you can use it to create beautiful short, presentations
Check out some more gorgeous art created on Paper here.
Quizup: addictive, beautifully designed social quiz game on the iPhone. Loved the diverse, eclectic categories
Quizzitive: lovely word game from Merriam-Webster
The Human Body by Tinybop: great app for kids to learn the basics of human anatomy
Futaba: fun multiplayer word game for kids & the family
Hopscotch: coding for kids
It’s a small world: experience the ‘It’s a small world’ Disney ride on your iPhone or iPad
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore: mind blowing interactive book
Cinderella: beautifully illustrated, 3D-interactive book for kids
Charlie & Lola: antidote for the atrocious English spoken on Indian kids’ TV shows
The Numberlys: an interactive book and another mega production from Moonbot Studios
Which ones are your favourite iOS-only apps? Have I missed out anything? Do comment in.
Tweetbot: an elegant, feature-rich Twitter client. There’s nothing like this on Android. Many iOS users who seek to switch to Android (for various reasons) miss this app on the Play Store.
Jasmine: beautiful third-party YouTube client.
SloPro: slow motion video for iPhone & iPad