updated 11:15 am EDT, Mon March 15, 2010
iPhone has 2X more apps than Facebook
(Update: Facebook disputes the figure) Apple is rapidly widening the gap between its app platform and Facebook, new data from Flurry found today. Although the gap was relatively small about five months into the app portals' respective lifespans, by the 1.5 year mark Apple now has more than twice as many apps. The iPhone App Store's 140,000 confirmed apps easily outweigh the 60,000 web-based apps of Facebook's social network.
The jump is credited directly to profits. As Apple is better at encouraging and supporting paid apps, developers have chosen the iPhone platform simply because they can more reliably generate income. Facebook apps like Farmville are considered an exception as most apps are often small, free extensions to a user's account rather than a full service.
Beyond the competitive landscape, Flurry has also found that iPhone app developers are very evenly distributed. The largest single segment at 22 percent includes online veterans like Google and PopCap, but most other categories come close. These include both iPhone-first developers (20 percent) as well as large-scale game developers like EA and Gameloft (19 percent), traditional media (17 percent) and traditional retail (also 17 percent). Those trailing in the last 5 percent were app developers that had previously worked on a smaller app platform, such as BlackBerry OS or J2ME.
Within particular categories the distribution is logically biased towards those established in their particular fields. About 36 percent of iPhone game developers are experienced game firms, while 63 percent of news app writers are traditional news outlets.
No matter the category, development has jumped upwards as a result of the iPad, the analysts said. Starts on new iPhone OS projects jumped about 185 percent in January and February compared to the five months before.
Update: Facebook tells Electronista that there are over 500,000 active apps. Flurry has also corrected itself and says its 60,000-app Facebook estimate was based on November 2008, not today.