Today the iPhone application directory crossed the 1,000 applications milestone. It’s a significant announcement for any new platform and the iPhone appears to be racing to the forefront to potentially become the leading mobile platform for developers. One of the most buzzed about platforms recently is the Facebook platform which has, according to Facebook’s statistics, attracted over 400,00 developers. The iPhone platform is rapidly proving itself to be a significant opportunity as well.
The most significant challenge for the iPhone platform is user adoption. While Apple was able to sell millions of iPhones, the number of total users pales in comparison to other platforms. That doesn’t mean that the platform is one to sneeze at though. Just last week it was reported that the iPhone Facebook application had been downloaded by 1 million users.
While nowhere near the more than 90 million users installed by top Facebook applications, these numbers are still significant for an early platform. Numbers aren’t all that matter though when it comes to comparing platforms. If you take a look at the quality of applications being developed on Facebook versus the quality of applications being developed on the iPhone.
On Facebook, most of the top applications are relatively simple (although they have been improving in quality since the initial launch). At launch, the iPhone provided an immense number of applications which have proven to be extremely useful or at least entertaining. Whether I’m using Shazam to figure out what song I’m hearing in a bar or restaurant, or looking to waste some time playing Labyrinth, BubbleWrap or Monkey Ball, there is a huge value offering.
Also while I was eating lunch in Miami this weekend, I was able to figure out what we would be having for dinner by pulling up the Yelp application and finding nearby, top rated restaurants. The bottom line is that there is a huge value proposition for the iPhone platform regardless of the number of users that have purchased it. Apple will most definitely fill this gap by continuing to sell out of iPhones for the foreseeable future.
As forecasted by many, I believe that the iPhone is the phone to transform the mobile industry in this country and help mobile computing take a huge leap forward. While venture capitalists are warning entrepreneurs not to invest everything in the iPhone, at this point I think it is too large of an opportunity to ignore.