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Apple announced its latest app milestone today; crossing the six-digit mark.

The previous milestone was 85,000 during the Q4 earnings announcement last month. It’s clear that app development is accelerating: I just wonder how press-worthy these milestones will continue to be until Apple falls back to the McDonald’s-esque “billions and billions served.”

Apps have done a great deal to open up mobile innovation to third-party development. Though Apple is still somewhat closed compared with other platforms like Android, it was the first to introduce an app marketplace — having a major impact on the market.

But 100,000 apps isn’t necessarily a good thing. From a developer’s perspective, it’s getting harder and harder by the day to rise above the noise and market apps. Still, it seems to be the hot distribution format and something that many brands develop or ask their agencies for as a knee-jerk reaction to the buzz.

We’ll see this excitement scale back. Apps aren’t going away, but we’ll see more prudent thinking from marketers about other platforms like mobile Web and SMS. The latter offers lots more reach and the former is becoming increasingly attractive due to better (HTML-5 supportive) mobile browsers. Not to mention it’s cheaper to build a mobile Web site than an app.

This was a bone of contention during an informative session at OMMA Mobile last week titled “To App or Not to App.” We also have a report (subscription req.) on this subject, and will tackle the topic in greater depth at the Interactive Local Media conference next month in Los Angeles. Hope to see you there.

Segment III. Apps, Web & SMS: What’s the Right Mobile Strategy?: 5:05 – 5:30

Over the past 18 months, we’ve seen an explosion of mobile apps, including 100,000 in Apple’s App Store alone. But for the same reason, it’s becoming more and more difficult to build and market apps that rise above the noise. Similarly, do sub-20 percent smart phone penetration and many platforms further segment addressable audiences for apps? The mobile web, though not as robust, can be a cheaper development platform with greater reach. SMS, meanwhile holds the greatest reach with access to virtually all 270 million mobile subscribers in the U.S.. Where in this continuum is the right place for your mobile product strategy?


Krishna Vendati, CEO, Plusmo

Eitan Ackerman, Executive Director, Marketing & Sales Engineering, Amdocs

Steve Espinosa, Cofounder, Appetizr

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