So I hope they’ll help yours too. Keep in mind, this is the Apple list that you can find in iTunes right now.
Alright, here are 3 insights I had…
Insight #1: Apple’s Bias Towards Games
Top of the page, above the fold, big jab to the eye socket… the Editors Choice category. The big one.
If you, even accidentally, end up on the best apps of 2012 page you will see 4 apps in 2 categories as the editors’ choice picks:
App of the year: Action Movie FX (Entertainment)
Runner up: Figure (Music)
Game of the year: Rayman Jungle Run
Runner up: Letterpress – Word Game (note the keywords in the title)
Of all the categories available, Apple only picks one to showcase as an Editors’ Choice: Games. They grouped every other category into the App Of The Year slot, and then gave games its own. Why?
Because games are massive for Apple. Games generate far more money than the other apps (look at top grossing list), which goes to reason that Apple has a financial benefit to push games more than the other apps.
Let’s look at the entire 2012 App Store Best of list. After the Editors’ Choice, there were 11 more categories. Of these, 6 of them were Games categories (55%).
People love games, so make games. Uhhh, duh. Obviously this depends on your overall strategy, but if you are out for the download count (for cross promotion) then games is where it’s at. Don’t let your art (what you’re out to amaze people with… perhaps the big app your making) be compromised as a result of making games for user counts.
Insight #2: Intuitive Touch
I read an article recently (sorry I can’t find it now) about the future of intuitive touch. The gist: it is the future in tech. As us users get more and more used to our devices and we become more confident with using them, it makes sense that things will continue to progress in this direction.
Let’s look at Clear. These guys killed it, and that’s because they focused on creating something that was not for everyone. If your grandma picked up Clear, it’d be a bit of a struggle to handle it but they bet on the majority of users’ increasing intelligence with their devices, and they won.
What could apps look like in 2014? What will be common practice? And could you integrate a bit of that now? Will ‘Back’ buttons be non-existent? Will navigation instructions be old-school? Take a chance on your users intelligence and give them something that proves that. They will thank you for it… at least the users you want will.
Download the 5 apps in this category and play with them. What can you snipe for your own project? What would be a cool update for your users?
Insight #3: Amaze Them
After exploring the 2012 App Store Best of lists, I can’t help but think how awesome it will be to be on this list somewhere.
What I know, and what this 2012 app store best of continues to drive home, is that you have to create something special. You have to be innovative (Apple gave 2 categories to innovation: Intuitive Touch & New Ways To Play) and you have to amaze them (your users, Apple will follow).
Many of the apps on this list are from massive companies… most of them I’m sure. So yes, they do have a massive network of apps that can cross promote their stuff and make it big. But that is not the only way.
The other way, the way you and I will have to take, is to amaze them. Put your effort in creating something that the user is forced to discuss with their friends. Make something that your users’ friends ask them about. Make it beautiful and make it intuitive. It does not have to be a game. God no, if you don’t want to make a game, then don’t. Doesn’t matter what you make as long as it amazes people. That’s how you’ll get on this list, and I hope to see you there.
All the best to you and your squad in 2013. I hope you care enough to make your art as amazing as possible for the users you choose. I’d rather see 1 app make an impact than a ton of apps that are easily forgotten about. Here’s to your 2013, your year.