Patterns of Success in the iPhone App Store

If you’re interested in creating the next big thing in the iPhone App store, a la Angry Birds, I can’t guaranteed that, but here are a few patterns that are followed by most successful iPhone Apps:

Games Are Big
Of the top 25 paid apps at the time of writing, 20 of them are in the games category. This is a major trend in the App Store. If you’re looking to strike it big, your odds are certainly improved by choosing to develop a game. This doesn’t mean that other apps cannot reach the best-selling list, but games have the best chances.

Another major pattern of success in the App Store is $0.99 pricing. Almost all blockbuster apps with long-term success are offered at this price point. If it’s a really outstanding app, $1.99 may be possible (especially for iPad apps), but 99 cents is certainly the most successful price point in the App Store’s history.

Focus, Focus, Focus
Looking at the most successful apps, they are all highly focused on one simple activity. A game that slings birds at pigs, a text editor that clears away the clutter, a stick figure diving off a cliff, a bird flying through rolling hills – the majority of the top apps do one thing and do it extremely well usroid. In other words, they focus intensely on their core purpose and execute better than all the others. With such a small screen, and such short attention span of the users, focus is imperative. Cut out 50% of the features, put that work towards your apps core function, and your chances of success go up exponentially.

Style Matters
You’ll be hard-pressed to find just ONE good app on the top paid apps, top free apps, top grossing apps, or featured lists that is poorly designed, junky, or has a awkward app icon. If design isn’t exactly your thing, hire the best iOS designer you can find. The icon, user interface, screenshots, and every other element of your App’s brand is crucial to it’s success.

With hundred of thousands of apps in the app store, the odds of creating a major hit are extremely low and unattainable for most developers. However, by recognizing and following a few simple patterns of success, you can greatly improve your chance of getting featured by Apple or reaching the top-downloaded lists or topping your App’s category.


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