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Apple iTunes to grow by 430,000 apps in 2013, but will you notice?

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Apple's App Store is expected to grow by more than 430,000 new apps in 2013, but many services have only a slim chance of finding an audience on iTunes.

Mobile analytics firm Adeven expects the iOS App Store to welcome 435,000 new apps over this year, up from the 359,764 services added in 2012.

App Store

© Apple



Figures made available via Adeven's apptrace.com reveal that November saw the biggest spike of new iOS app releases in 2012, at 39,313, compared to 22,483 in July that year.

But the massive growth in the number of new apps launching has led to a phenomena dubbed "zombie apps"; services that don't get a ranking by Apple and so have a very slim change of being discovered by users.

Adeven found that 64% of apps were unable to secure a ranking spot in December 2012, and so became Zombie apps. This was a slight increase from 60% in June.

Not only do Zombie services not appear in the iTunes charts, but they also appear lower down in search rankings due to the way Apple weights the results, Adeven said.

Discovery is fast-becoming the most important driver for third party app developers looking to launch new services.

A separate study by mobile marketing firm Surikate said that there are 52.2 million trips to Apple's software marketplace every week.

To help people navigate iTunes, Apple runs top apps lists containing 200 of the highest-ranking free and paid titles across various categories, along with the highest-grossing services.

But Surikate found that 81% of visitors to the UK App Store stop browsing after checking the top 50 apps for each category, and most don't go beyond the top 25.

Hazen Sayer, an app developer, is first in line outside Apple's Fifth Avenue store on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, in New York. Sayer started camping out a week ago to be one of the first to get the new iPhone 5, which will go on sale in the U.S. and eight other countries next Friday, Sept. 21.

© PA Images / Bebeto Matthews/AP



After surveying almost 1,600 iPhone owners on both the iOS 5 and iOS 6 operating systems with GfK, Surikate discovered that 75% of people will download apps from the top charts even if they have never heard of them before.

More than three quarters (82%) of users tend to find new apps by browsing the App Store charts, predominantly the top 25, although two thirds of iPhone users have found apps through personal recommendations.

The research revealed that developers can boost their fortunes by releasing new apps in the UK between 6pm and 9pm on a Friday night, when they would have a maximum potential average audience of 2.61m users.

However, ranking and presence alone are not enough, as 85% of App Store visitors want to see strong reviews, screenshots and a good price to be convinced.

Jules Minvielle, Surikate's founder and chief executive, said that the research shows how "crucial" it is to get an app in the top 25 or higher, as most iPhone users simply won't search beyond that.

A poster touting apps available for the Apple's iPhone and iPod touch is seen at the Macworld Conference and Expo in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009

© PA Images / Paul Sakuma/AP



Adeven has revealed some of the apps that are succeeding in attracting and holding an audience on iPhone, beyond all the major services such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

According to Apptrace's sentiment analysis, the most positively reviewed app was Zulily - a daily deals service for "mums, babies and kids" by Zulily - with a positive rating of 85.6% across all versions, rising to 90% for the most recent version.

But Boggle-style game Work Seek HD by Idealix is the "most addictive" app of all time, despite it actually having a low rating score of 54.4% across all versions, with the current version dropping to 46%.

Some App Store usage facts, according to Surikate:

- The average user accesses the App Store six times a week.
- The peak time for visits is 6pm to 9pm.
- Average visit time to the App Store is 11.5 minutes.
- Games, entertainment and music are the most popular categories on the store.
- The average iPhone user has 30 or fewer apps in their phone, beyond the pre-loaded apps.

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