When Apple released the iPhone, it set a new standard for personal communication devices, and the era of smartphones was truly born. At first, Apple would not allow third party developers to create software add-ons for the iPhone. It was convinced that anyone who wanted access to videos, photos, or games, would just be able to find them online. They were very wrong about that, and soon after the iPhone was released, developers had figured out how to hack the iPhone, offering “jailbreaking” instructions for others on the internet to do the same. They soon started distributing software add-ons for jailbroken phones through underground stores.
With the release of the iPhone OS 2.0 came a new addition, the App Store, which allowed third party content and distribution through iTunes. It’s not easy to get approved to sell through Apple though, as all submissions are ultimately subject to review by Apple, and must meet all technological and content standards. Selling content through Apple is not cheap, with Apple taking a 30% commission on all sales. That said, the cost is well worth it for developers who want to get their product out to a lot of people.
The App Store has been a huge success, and in 2013 it crossed the 40 billion app download milestone, with over 800,000 apps now available for customers to choose from. The success of the App Store has prompted various other phone producers to release their own app markets, hosting apps for platforms not supported with iOS. With more than a billion smartphone users worldwide, it’s no surprise that the app industry is booming. There are record sales and massive profits to be made, and the top app developers are reaping the rewards of this new industry. Here are the top paid apps downloaded from the Apple App Store.
Angry Birds Space – 20 Million Purchases
Angry Birds Space is a great and different spinoff of the original Angry Birds game. By implementing different gravity effects in an outer space setting, the game managed to change up the series’ formula enough to become a hit in its own right. With the different physics involved in flinging an angry bird around a sun and into a space pig, the Angry Birds formula has never been quite as much fun as it is here.
Tiny Wings – 30 Million Purchases
Tiny Wings is an iOS game developed by Andreas Illiger of Germany, released on February 18, 2011. In Tiny Wings, the player controls a bird with wings that are too small to fly. The goal is to roll down hills to gain speed, and then glide through the air for as long as possible. The gameplay is based on timing your taps to gain maximum speed. The game has been a major success, holding the spot of top grossing game in the App Store for two weeks from late February 2011 to early March. This app was so popular in 2012 that it was named the iPhone app of the year. In 2011, it was able to gain over 6 million purchases in the app store. In 2012, it more than doubled these sales, with well over 20 million copies being purchased in 2012 alone.
Words With Friends – 35 Million Purchases
Developed by online game giant Zynga, Words with Friends is a social version of Scrabble, with players taking turns building words on a crossword style puzzle with an opponent. Words with Friends was released in July 2009, and has made its way onto many different types of phones. It is available as a free ad-supported version, and a paid version with no advertisements. It currently has over 60 million downloads across all platforms. The game accepts 173,000 words, and is very easy to get addicted to, as it can become very competitive. The upside to this game is that it can also help your vocabulary. It can teach you new words that you didn’t even know existed. All told, one of the more useful apps on this list.
Camera+ – 40 Million Purchases
Camera+ is an app for iOS developed by Tap Tap Tap. The app, an alternative to the standard iOS camera app, adds basic and advanced editing tools, including special effects and lighting filters, an image stabilizer, and integrated sharing with social media sites. Camera+ has been praised as a “must-have” by PC Advisor, with a rating of four and a half stars out of five. Wired gave the app a 9 out of 10, saying it is a “secret weapon” for iPhone photographers. In a world where photography is easier than ever, it is great to see that ease of use finding its way onto a mobile platform.
WhatsApp Messenger – 45 Million Purchases
WhatsApp Messenger is an advanced text messaging and chat app, with which users can share much more than just text messages. Users can share locations, video, pictures, voice messages, and more. It’s a crowd favorite for those who want to share more with their mobile messaging, and one of the best-sellers for the iOS platform.
Cut The Rope – 100 Million Purchases
Cut the Rope was released on October 4, 2010 for iOS by the Russian game studio Zeptolab. Later, they released a free version with fewer levels, called Cut the Rope Lite. It is a physics based game in which the player must maneuver candy, using an array of physics related features, into the mouth of the character “Om Nom.” This game reached a million sales in just over a week, an incredible pace for a paid iPhone app. According to Chillingo, it was the fastest selling iOS game ever to reach that number of sales. As of 2012, Cut the Rope had been downloaded more than 100 million times.
Doodle Jump – 150 Million Purchases
Doodle jump is a platformer game developed by Lima Sky. It was released for iOS on April 6, 2009, and features characters on illustrations by Elise Gravel. The game is currently available for download on nine different platforms, but continues to do very well on the iPhone. Doodle Jump sold 25 thousand copies daily for four consecutive months. As of December, 2011, 10 million copies were sold over iTunes and Google Play, with 15 million copies sold on all platforms. These sales continue to grow each year. The game has since been developed video arcade machines, and has become a success in the arcade market as well.
Fruit Ninja – 300 Million Purchases
Fruit Ninja was developed by Halfbrick Studios, and features fruit tossed up onto the screen, which players must then slice with swipes of their fingers. In September 2010, Fruit Ninja sales exceeded three million downloads, and reached four million by December 2010. By March 2011 total downloads had reached 20 million across all platforms. In May 2012 Fruit Ninja breached the 300 million download mark, and was on one third of all US iPhones. The low cost coupled with addictive gameplay yielded an excellent value, and has proven so by becoming the second most-downloaded app of all time.
Angry Birds – 648 Million Purchases
With two of its spinoffs on this list, you must have known this was coming. Angry Birds came to the iPhone in 2009 and has easily become the most popular game for people to play on their iPhone. The game is pretty simple: you launch birds out of a slingshot at little pigs on towers and structures. The goal is to destroy all the pigs on the playing field. As players advance through the game, new types of birds with special powers become available.
Not only has Angry Birds been a massive success as an app, but the merchandising of this property has been great. There are so many different things that you can now buy with Angry Birds, or Grumpy Pigs, on them, and a feature film based on the games is set for release in 2016. Angry Birds is easily the most addictive and well known game on the Apple iPhone.
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