Games Dominate iPhone App Charts (But Not iPad)

By  |  Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Take a look at the top iPhone and iPad apps of 2010, as listed by Apple:


  • Free: Facebook, Angry Birds Lite, Words With Friends Free, Skype, Tap Tap Revenge
  • Paid: Angry Birds, Doodle Jump, Skee-Ball, Bejeweled 2 – Blitz, Fruit Ninja
  • Grossing: MLB At Bat 2010, Angry Birds, Call of Duty: Zombies, Bejeweled 2 – Blitz, FriendCaller 3 Pro


  • Free: iBooks, Pandora, Netflix, Google Mobile, Solitaire
  • Paid: Pages, Goodreader, Numbers, Angry Birds HD, Keynote
  • Grossing: Pages, Numbers, Keynote, LogMeIn Ignition, Scrabble

Video games are clearly the killer apps on the iPhone, but productivity and media consumption rule on the iPad. However, I’m not convinced that the year’s top app charts tell the whole story.

There could be a couple reasons why video games aren’t as well-represented on the iPad charts. The charts are divided by app, not by platform, so iPad owners could be downloading lots of iPhone games, and they wouldn’t register as iPad downloads in Apple’s statistics. For instance, I skipped the HD version of Angry Birds because I wanted to install it on both devices, and didn’t care to pay twice for the same game.¬†For that matter, my iPad is filled with iPhone games, because many of them tend to be free through promotions like OpenFeint Game Spotlight.

Meanwhile, downloads to the iPod Touch, which Apple markets as a gaming device, count solely towards the iPhone charts. The amount of gaming done on iPhones could be less.

I’d be interested to see an update to Distimo’s statistics from April, which found that the vast majority of iPad apps are games. That’s true on most mobile platforms, but if demand for games is lower on the iPad compared to the iPhone, maybe we’ll see developers shifting towards other kinds of apps.

One more observation: For a device that’s supposedly not fit for creating content, iPad owners really seem to desire Apple’s productivity tools. But I’m sure people will continue to bristle at the thought.


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2 Comments For This Post

  1. madsuburbandad Says:

    I think the reason for the variance is that iPhones are now at a price point that lots of younger people can afford. Indeed, my 12 year old has an iPhone. They are more likely to buy games. Whereas the iPad, at this point, is more of a luxury item for an older crowd that appreciates more the tools useful for business and productivity.

  2. David Says:

    Check the game stats 60 days after Christmas.