Nothing beats a great visualization of a revolutionary phenomenon.
The screen shot above is of 10000iphoneapplications.com a site which lists the icon of over 10,000+ applications available for the iPhone as of today.
Ten thousand plus applications for a platform that is only some months old. Re-read that last sentence and think.
Never before in history has a software application platform performed so well. Users of the iPhone’s App Store have already downloaded 300 million applications according to Apple. The current rate has been calculated at 2.2 million application downloads a day.
Finding and installing an application on the iPhone is the easiest thing in world. A whole industry has emerged overnight, providing informative, useful, entertaining or downright useless applications for the iPhone. The most personal of devices, the mobile phone, becomes even more personal and relevant..
What does this have to do with Nokia?
As the company demoed its flagship phone for 2009, the N97, with its amazing hardware and revamped touch interface and its QWERTY keyboard, the was a glaring omission: something to rival the App Store. Google’s Android platform already has an App Market. Nokia has the “download” folder hidden somewhere among the menus.
When Nokia held its Dead Sea press event in Jordan a while back, I asked the chief Nseries designer, Axel Meyer, how Nokia planned to deal with the iPhone’s threat with regards to overall user experience, I did not get a clear answer.
It’s about the phone’s interface, upgrading the software, personalization and application installation, not to mention availability of web services and the syncing with other devices. It’s all about a seamless, enjoyable and useful experience.
With every new application developed for the iPhone, the platform gains new usefulness, meaning and stickiness. Apple is winning this game in a big way.
Yes I know that there are tons of apps for Symbian too. The problem is, Nokia is not giving me an easy way to discover and install them. A few times I was faced with errors, certificate issues and other useless crap when I attempted to install applications on my N95.
Nokia is a brand that defines our age, because the mobile phone defines our age. Consider the fact that this company from Finland expects to sell over ONE BILLION phones in 2009. With all the devices Nokia already has in people’s hands, this is a company that touches almost the half of the human race, if not more.
That’s why Nokia will continue to to be the leader. But this size and power is probably what allowed Apple to come out of seemingly nowhere and truly re-invent this most personal of human tools.
As I consider booking an 5800 XpressMusic in advance, because I want a better browser and a touchscreen I can better type and see maps on, I am thinking of where this industry is going. Nokia is working hard to create local relevance, especially through mapping. Soon we will all be pointing out phones at buildings and streets to get oriented and to find what we need. Nokia is also embracing personal web feeds and the social habits of the Facebook generation. Ovi is there as a serious attempt at a software and services strategy.
But Apple has enabled personal relevance to REALLY happen on the iPhone. Soon enough, local relevance will follow, as developers from countries and cultures around the world start developing locally specific iPhone apps.
Apple is so busy with its success that it forgot to support Arabic in the iPhone. So Nokia is still winning in this field. But I wonder for how long.
All of this is super fascinating to anyone who appreciates the intersection of brands, design, technology and marketing. I will continue watching and thinking.
(have a look below at yet another cool visualization of the 10,000+ icons of iPhone Apps. Click to see the source)