Animation, athletes lead the best new iOS, Android apps of June 2013
If you're a mobile application developer, there's a strong chance you're going to spend at least some of this summer familiarizing yourself with Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) new iOS 7. Apple unveiled iOS 7 earlier this month during its annual Worldwide Developers conference: Called "the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone" by CEO Tim Cook, the revamp signals the elimination of skeuomorphism, the longstanding iOS design hallmark that leverages real-world images and metaphors like linen-textured gray backgrounds, wooden bookshelves and spiral-bound notebooks. The revamped OS also brings multitasking for all apps, AirDrop wireless file sharing, revamped Siri voice controls and the iTunes Radio streaming music service, as well as deep integration with Yahoo's Flickr photo sharing service, video sharing platform Vimeo and Chinese microblogging site Tencent Weibo--and, of course, much, much more.
Some critics maintain iOS required an extreme makeover to keep the platform fresh in the face of increasing competition from Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone and even BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), but from a developer standpoint, iOS still looks pretty good even with those wooden bookshelves and spiral-bound notebooks in place. Cook's WWDC keynote revealed that Apple has paid more than $10 billion to its third-party iOS developer partners in the five years since its App Store opened for business. "To put that into perspective, that's three times more than all other platforms combined," Cook crowed, noting that half of that $10 billion has been handed out during the past year alone. He added that the App Store now counts a total of 900,000 apps, including 375,000 apps for the iPad tablet, with downloads in excess of 50 billion.
Look for iOS to remain a mobile juggernaut in the months to come. The worldwide mobile app market--including premium downloads, subscriptions, in-app purchases and in-app advertising--is projected to generate revenues of $27 billion in 2013 according to a new ABI Research forecast, and the firm expects iOS to drive more than two-thirds of that total. "Although Google's Android OS recently surpassed Apple in terms of total app numbers, iOS users continue to prove they're more willing to part with their cash," said ABI Senior Analyst Josh Flood. "The revenue gap between the two leading OSes looks unlikely to close over the next 18 months."
Until that revenue gap narrows, iOS will remain the first--and in some cases only--platform that mobile developers consider. My selections for the best new applications of June 2013 reiterate the primacy of the iOS ecosystem but also underline its growing diversity, stretching from animation apps to fitness apps to productivity apps to games. Each is worthy of its fair share of that $27 billion revenue pie.--Jason