iOS clear leader in apps

Idon’t think there’s any denying that iOS is the clear leader in mobile apps when it comes to quality as well as quantity. Having attended a couple of apps-related events lately makes that even obvious for me.

By (Magnus Nystedt)

Published: Sat 30 Apr 2011, 11:33 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:04 PM

Planet of the Apps Arabia and twofour54’s App Dev Days took place one week after the other and although they had very different target groups and focus, both events highlight the growing importance of apps for mobile devices. Speaking to delegates at the events it’s evident that more and more individuals as well as companies around the region are looking at mobile apps as a way to promote themselves and possibly also make money.

If you think about it, it’s amazing how fast apps for smartphones have emerged as a major business topic and how conferences and events are appearing everywhere covering this area. One delegate at App Dev Days in Abu Dhabi told me that he had an idea for an app, which he thought could be commercially successful but he was uncertain as to which device to develop it for. Everybody kept telling him it has to be iPhone but he wanted to try to make sure before investing too much time and effort. Apple boasts over 350,000 apps in its App Store and over 65,000 especially made for iPad. Those are impressive numbers. Nokia says that its Ovi Store sees more than three million downloads per week in the region, also impressive statistics. There’s no doubt that there is fame and fortune to be made in mobile apps today.

That’s one of the big conundrums facing app developers, which platform to go for. If you just look at installed base, Nokia has the clear lead with Symbian, and iOS (even iPhone, iPod touch and iPad combined) is a mere speck in comparison. But it’s not always the numbers that matters, it’s also the “coolness factor” and possibly getting headlines for your effort. And that’s where iOS has the lead today, I would argue. Arguably, when we read about new apps and services in newspapers and online, the apps are typically running on iOS and much less frequently on Symbian, Android and BlackBerry. That’s a perceptions problem those platforms have to deal with, even though it may not be a real problem.

At App Dev days, Amir Jahanlou from SAE Institute in Dubai, gave a one-day workshop on how to get started with iOS app development. The audience was captivated as he went through a “Hello World!” sample app, how to print some text to the display, put up a dialogue box and much more. There was a curiousness among the attendees for how to do various things in iOS that I’ve rarely seen.

Of course, one day is certainly not enough to become a serious iOS developer but it’s a great start. After the workshop I asked a few of the participants and most of them said that attending had boosted their belief that iOS was the platform they should develop for. Hopefully these sorts of events will spur on app development in the region, so we can experience more locally-relevant apps on iOS and other platforms.

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Magnus Nystedt talks and writes about technology as much as he can. Follow him on Twitter as @mnystedt for the latest on consumer technology in the Middle East.

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