John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Displays Are Getting Better and iOS Apps Are Getting Laaaaarrrrrger

In the market for a new iPhone or iPad, but haven’t yet settled on a storage capacity? Here’s something to consider as you mull the 16 gigabyte, 32GB or 64GB question. The average size of iOS apps is growing — and quickly, too.

ABI Research recently surveyed the iOS app ecosystem and found that as of September the average app size was 23 megabytes. That’s 16 percent more than it was in March. That’s the average size across all categories. The increase in the Games category was even greater. In September, the average game weighed in at 60MB, up 42 percent from March (Android’s average app size saw a 10 percent jump in size over the same period).

Those are significant increases over a six month period. What’s behind them? A few things. The most obvious: The Retina Display with which Apple’s been outfitting its most recent iPhones and iPads allows developers to use better quality graphics, which are typically larger in file size. Another reason: Apple’s decision to increase its over-the-air app download limit to 50MB from 20MB in March. And finally, there’s the proliferation of universal apps, applications which function on the iPhone and iPad by including the resources necessary for both and are therefore larger in size.

Together, these factors are contributing to an escalation in app sizes. That may inspire Apple to raise the storage capacities of its mobile devices, particularly its current entry-level models, which offer just 16GB. But until it does, folks in the market for a new iPad or iPhone would do well to keep these increasing file sizes in mind. With apps, photos and all sorts of digital media vying for storage space on their mobile devices, consumers may find themselves forced to delete the old to make room for the new.

“The consumers with 16GB devices are likely to become more conscious about what apps to keep and what to uninstall,” ABI Research analyst Aapo Markkanen observed in his report. “The developer’s bar to impress will be getting higher than it is now.”

So how soon will we see Apple moving its storage options to 32GB/64GB/128GB?

“I’d give it 18 to 24 months,” Markkanen said in an interview with AllThingsD. “Pushing the floor from 16 to 32GB should definitely happen within that timeframe. As per 128GB, I don’t think that the need will be matching the cost anytime soon, but if we’ll wait those 18 to 24 months then there could well be enough demand for it as the high-end option.”

Headline explainer, below.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work