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Apps rise in popularity, price

by Kelly MacNeil on July 11, 2011

A new report shows that some of the biggest growth for Apple's iPhone market may be the app store, which has become a way for users to quickly download everything from maps to a video games, according to Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster. 

Each owner of a mobile Apple device seems to be increasingly intrigued by the software as well. Munster expects that the average user will have made 83 app downloads this year, as opposed to 51 in 2010.

Not only that, the prices of the programs appear to be increasing. While there was a significant dip (18 percent) last year, the cost of apps has risen 14 percent this year. Despite this trend, 82 percent of the apps remain free.

Apple also has the advantage of availability. Google's competing device, Droid, has access to 200,000 apps, while Apple users can use more than 425,000.

Google recently announced that the Android Market had its 4.5 billionth app download, pales in comparison's to Apple's proclamation of the App store's 15 billionth download.

"After the initial race to the bottom in App Store pricing," says Munster. "We are seeing users pay up to add features and games to their iOS devices."

A breakdown of app downloads from 148Apps.biz shows that games make up the biggest portion of downloads, with 16 percent of all programs being entertainment of some sort. Books are the second-highest download, comprising 13 percent of the app market.

Entertainment and education round out the top four, making up 10 percent and 8 percent of total downloads.

It remains to be seen if Google's Android or Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 can compete with the sheer volume of the apps available for iPhones. In particular, Windows Pone 7 has been criticized for coming to the market too late.  

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