Friday, April 30, 2010

#1 iPad vs #1 iPhone: the numbers

Within the space of almost exactly two months, we (Headlight Software, Inc.) managed to get both the #1 iPhone free game, and the #1 iPad free game--with very different games. And by some amazing luck, we're the #1 game on a very big day: the iPad 3G Launch day.

The iPhone game was a fun gimmick sort, "Knife Dancing". That scene from Aliens with the Knife? It's an app for that.

With just some good ideas and icon, it got to #1. It never got any special selections by Apple, but there was some big help from some blog articles. The article on being the biggest; most of the others were reposts of that one.

At the peak on Feb 24 2010, when it got to the #1 free game and the #2 free app--it was about 165,000 downloads that single day.

The iPad game is one we've spent far more work on. "Heads Up: Hold'em HD" is the iPad version of our popular poker game. The iPhone version got 2nd in the 2009 "Best App Ever" awards for Casino Games. Poker vs a silly tapping game is much more replayable--we've got emails from people with the iPhone version, with 1000s of games played. With the bluetooth wireless games too, we hope this one sticks in the top of the charts better than Knife Dancing did.

This one definitely got help. We were slowly gaining in the games, until Apple made it a "What's Hot" selection and that really gave a huge boost. Within 2 days of that, we were #1. It's an awesome game and really looks great on the iPad screen; getting to #1 is fully justified :)

April 29 2010, it was the #1 free game and #4 free app--and got 8,300 downloads.

So according to those numbers, for a free game the iPad app store takes about 5% as many downloads to reach the top spot as in the iPhone app store--on the day before the 3G launch. I'll update with some stats on the 3G launch day. And unlike the iPhone, where the #1 game is usually the #1 app--on the iPad it only got us to #4.
{Updated post, to clarify since it's getting quoted places :) For our 2 free games to reach the #1 spot, it took 5% as many downloads on the iPad App Store as it took on the iPhone App Store. Paid apps would vary greatly from this small free game sampling. This evening, it's still the #1 game but is out of the top ten free apps--people seem to want Utilities on their iPads.}

Both apps included In-App purchases, so have good ways to make money. (I'm not going to share the actual dollar amounts.) They're harder to compare since Knife is a $0.99 little one and the Hold'em is a bigger $4.99 upgrade. Hold'em did make more than 10% as much money as Knife did, with 5% as many downloads--so we're happy.

Interestingly Knife Dancing's income was enough to get into the Top Grossing lists; the highest I saw was #27. Not bad for a free app! Some of the days, we were the only free app in the top 100 grossing. Hold'em I have not seen in the Top Grossing list on the iPad--I'm not surprised with all the more expensive tools and utilities.

PS: On that #1 day, Knife Dancing shattered our own personal dollars-per-day software sales record that was set by GetRight back in 1999; now we have to work to break the new one!

Monday, April 5, 2010

iPad compared to Kindle

I've been reading on the Kindle for over a year now, and just got an iPad. The iPad's screen is amazing, for picking or buying books, and absolutely everything else, it is better. There are quite a few devices you won't need anymore if you get an iPad. No portable DVD players, no digital picture frames, no more portable GPS, maybe not even a laptop. And as more apps come out, that list will grow.

But I'm not planning to do any reading on it. I will keep reading on the Kindle, for one reason that I'd not expected: Weight.

The iPad feels super solid and sturdy, the Kindle seems plastic and flimsy by comparison. (The Kindle may feel flimsy, but it is tough--both mine and the wife's have easily survived numerous drops onto the floor.) Because of all the solidity, the iPad feels heavy--much more so than I expected. It's nearly a pound more than the Kindle, and when sitting in bed reading every night, that will be a huge difference. Where the kindle starts to slip out of one hand as I'm dozing off--the iPad would fall.

After just the first day (doing lots of programming on iPad apps) the Kindle felt like nothing when I picked it up before bed. I may buy books via the Amazon website on the iPad, then read on the Kindle.

If you read a lot where the book is held in your hand, you want a Kindle for reading over an iPad. But for everything else, you want an iPad.