How much money is Apple making off the App Store anyway?

You can look at the App Store in two very distinct ways. The first suggests that developers are making money, and that the largest digital bazaar on the planet is paying out for developers who make games good enough to gather a broad following. The second way of looking at it is that unless you’re one of the top developers in the market, there’s a good chance that your application won’t garner much attention, and you’ll probably end up giving it away for free.

The tale of two tones

Gizmodo is reporting that 81% of applications on the App Store are free, while every other source on the internet is writing that 19% of the applications are not free. Sure the numbers mean the same thing, but both numbers imply very different things. The first implies that no one is making money on the AppStore, while the later implies that some people are making coin by developing for the device.

I’ve been noticing the tone shifting on some major blogs these days, so I thought this might be an interesting way to point out to readers how writers can mold an article to change your perspective on a topic with language they choose to employ.

Where’s the truth lie?

Somewhere in the middle obviously. Headlines are growing more deceiving by the day, and a lot of people get their news from headline snooping. It’s another reason that getting your news from multiple sources is important in todays information society.

It’s obvious that people are making money by developing for the iPhone, but it’s been apparent for a long time that the gold rush might be over. Over night success for developers is long gone, and the old adage of “first to the market” rings true again. That doesn’t mean that people aren’t looking for the next great product, it actually means the opposite. There’s a barrier to entry now, if your application is terrible no one’s going to notice it, but if you make something ground breaking, you’ll reap the rewards.

How much is Apple making?

We suscept that Apple isn’t making that much at all, and that the App Store is the second incarnation of the iTunes store. Selling music isn’t what Apple’s making money from these days, but selling iPods and iPhones is, and having access to a huge library of content helps drive those sales. The App Store is no different. Sure, Apple would prefer to be making money, and sure, they have a vested interest in making sure the developers are getting paid so they continue to develop for Apple’s platforms, but Apple’s more focused on selling the hardware that connects to the platforms. If an awesome app is being given away for free or for a price, either way Apple’s selling the consumer an electronic device.  A prime case in point is iPad sales, and the number of iPad applications that carry a price tag— of the 10,000 iPad apps that are available on the App Store, over 78% of them carry a price tag.  So where are we now?  Apple’s trying to right a ship that’s sailed a little too far in the wrong direction.  We can see the emphasis they’ve been placing on paid content in the iPad store, so claiming that Apple’s not making much money from the AppStore is still a little premature at this point.

Joshua is the Content Marketing Manager at BuySellAds. He’s also the founder of And since all that doesn’t quite give him enough content to wrangle, he’s also a technology journalist in his spare time, with bylines at PCWorld, Macworld… Full Bio