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iPhone App Stats: Part III

Last January, I posted a brief summary of all the iPhone apps in my iTunes library on on my iPhone, and I updated the stats in August.

We're less than 1 week before the launch of the iPad, and I've just crossed the 300 apps downloaded mark. Feels like time for another update.

Here's are the numbers from January 2009, August 2009, and today.

  Jan 09    Aug 09    Mar 10   
Default Apps Pre-Loaded on iPhone 19 21 21
Apps Downloaded 100 202 304
      Games 39 82 113
      For the Kids' Amusement 19 29 51
Icons Currently on my iPhone 92 116 125
      Icons that are Web Shortcuts 10 10 9
Seasonal (Halloween, Xmas, etc.) 5 5 9

If I repeat my calculation from the previous analysis: 21 pre-loaded apps and 9 web shortcuts leaves 95 apps on my phone downloaded from the App Store. That's around 31% of all the apps I've downloaded, meaning 69% of the those are sitting in my iTunes library unused.

It may be time to stop tracking this kind of thing. There may be a critical mass where it isn't illustrative any more, and with iPad apps entering the mix, we may definitely be there. After all, it would never occur to me to count and track the apps on my laptop.

So we'll see if there will be a Part IV or not.

Multiple users on the iPad?

I started wondering recently about the iPad and multiple users. We're planning on getting one, and our idea is to try leaving it around the living room. That way someone lounging or watching TV can pick it up to check email, browse the web, or play a game. Much of the rest of the time it could be docked and playing a photo slideshow, basically a nice digital photo frame.

Then I thought about the email part. If I set up my email accounts in the iPad Mail app, won't my email be accessible to anyone who uses the iPad? As far as I know, there isn't any login or anything that would indicate to the iPad OS that one user is different than another.

Mac OS X, of course, has strong multiuser support built in. Settings, preferences, and data are generally saved on a per-user basis. The iPhone supports only one user (where by "user" I'm really talking about a set of data and preferences). This isn't really a problem on the iPhone, since a phone is quite personal; you carry it with you and unless you want to show a friend a new app or let your kid play a game, you're really the only one who uses it.

The "living room" use case I'm imagining, though, means it could be pretty handy for the iPad to be able to tell one family member from another (and maybe guests, too). I could set up my email accounts, my wife could set up hers, etc. Going further, we could customize which apps we like on which pages, or even which apps we like to have show up at all. Starts to sound like we'd have to able to sync each user to a different iTunes setup (different computers or different users on one computer).

Which kind of gets to what I think Apple/Steve Jobs would say about this: not simple enough. People have said the iPad could be the computer for their grandmother to use, and adding multiple users with unique app profiles and syncing with multiple computers pulls the iPad away from the uber-simple ideal.

Fair enough.

I imagine the "living room" scenario isn't an uncommon way people would like to use an iPad, but I could be wrong Maybe the issue will never arise for any but a few iPad owners The workaround, I suppose, will be to use web interfaces for email and remember to logout when finished. Seems a shame, though, to not be able to use the Mail app Apple designed just for the iPad.

Jim is "On Hold" in an iPhone ad

My friend Jim did the voiceover for a new iPhone ad that Apple launched this weekend. I think it may mark one of the first times that the iPhone ads have broken from the one "iPhone guy" voice and feature a first-person perspective from Joe iPhone-user.

The ad is called "On Hold". Check it out!

Photo site design

I've updated the design of our photo site at so that it better matches the blog page at I also finally got around to uploading some pictures from the past couple of months, including some fun shots of Ben on a swing in our backyard, like this one:

Hope everyone is having a great fall.

iPhone App Stats II: The Sequel

Back in January, I posted a brief summary of all the iPhone apps in my iTunes library on on my iPhone. At the time, I had exactly 100 apps in iTunes, meaning I had downloaded 100 apps from the App Store. I recently crossed the 200 mark for downloaded apps, so I thought it might be time for another look at how those numbers break out.

Here's are the numbers from January and from today.

 January 2009  August 2009
Default Apps Pre-Loaded on iPhone1921
Apps Downloaded100202
      For Jessica's Amusement1929
Icons Currently on my iPhone92116
      Icons that are Web Shortcuts1010
Seasonal (Halloween, Xmas, etc.)55

Again, 21 pre-loaded apps and 10 web shortcuts still leaves 85 apps on my iPhone that I downloaded from the App Store. That's around 42% of the apps I've downloaded, which means nearly 60% of those are currently unused. Of the unused apps, many I probably shouldn't have downloaded, but others were at least useful at some point: some games were fun but are played through, there are a couple of apps I downloaded to help track of contractions when Ben was about to be born, a handful are seasonal or holiday apps that might get loaded on the phone again when the time is right. Still, I think it's fair to say that downloading apps can be something of a hit or miss. Sure is fun, though.

Still waiting for an improved way to manage all these apps in iTunes and on the iPhone. The easy search that came with iPhone 3.0 software update is a great step in the right direction, but there's still a need for some easier way to customize and organize.

iPhone App Stats

Apple recently announced that the 500 millionth iPhone App has been downloaded from the App Store (where they claim there are 15,000 apps available). I checked my downloaded app count, and found that it is exactly 100. This seems like a good moment to stop and take a look at some stats of my apps.

Default Apps Pre-Loaded on iPhone19
Apps Downloaded100
      For Jessica's Amusement19
Icons Currently on my iPhone92
      Icons that are Web Shortcuts10
Seasonal (Halloween, Xmas, etc.)5

One quick interesting calculation:

Downloaded Apps on my iPhone = (Icons on my iPhone) - (Icons that are Web Shortcuts) - (Default Apps Pre-Loaded on iPhone) Downloaded Apps on my iPhone = 92 - 10 - 19 = 63

So of the 100 Apps I've downloaded, 37% of them are now sitting unused in my iTunes Library.

I'd go into what I've paid for downloaded apps, but I'm not exactly sure how to get that info (and, let's face it, I probably don't really want to know). The vast majority of the apps I've downloaded were free or $0.99, but certainly some were more. I've got no problem with developers pricing an app for more than $0.99 (many are well worth it), but it's just a fact that I'm more likely to take a chance on an unknown app if I only stand to lose a dollar.

Final note: In a future software update, I'd welcome an improved way to manage the 92 icons on my phone. I've got a rough system I implement manually, but there's definitely room for improvement here.


I have now downloaded 42 apps for my iPhone. I am ridiculous.


I'll start with the bottom line: my name is kenzinn, and I am on Twitter.

If you are already on Twitter, please feel free to follow me. I'm not terribly prolific or consistent, but I'm getting more comfortable with the idea of what might make a good tweet (tweet = a post on twitter).

If you aren't on Twitter, and perhaps aren't sure what Twitter is, let me try my own feeble explanation. Twitter is like a mini-blog service, where each entry is limited to 140 characters. If you sign up for a free Twitter account, you can select to "Follow" any other Twitter users, and your Twitter home screen will list all updates, or "tweets" from people you are following.

If you aren't really interested in anything like Twitter, I don't really blame you. I'm not quite sold on it yet as anything that will change my life, but it's huge in some tech circles.

Anyway, you can also see my most recent Twitter updates in a new section I've added on the right hand side bar of this blog.

For what it's worth, there will be probably be some things I say on Twitter that I also post here. So if you follow both, forgive the repetition. If the repetition bugs you, let me know. Anyone following both deserves to have their voice heard.

Space Shuttle launch as seen from a plane

This is pretty darn cool. (Note: the audio here does contain some mild profanity, as the person holding the camera is rather blown away by what he sees. If that might bother you, then hit "mute" and watch it anyway.)

(Via 37signals.)

Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

I don't know that I can explain this fully here, but let me sum up: Joss Whedon (Buffy) and friends got together during the writers strike and this is what they came up with. It's an internet-distributed show in three acts of around 15 minutes each. It's a musical. It stars Neil Patrick Harris as Dr. Horrible, a would-be mega villian with a crush on a lovely ingenue. Don't miss Nathan Fillion as Captain Hammer, a superhero, and Dr. Horrible's nemesis.

I'm not doing it any justice, so I'll say "it's lots of fun" and leave it at that. Visit Dr. Horrible directly or download the acts from iTunes.

Zinns in Peru

My brother and sister are off to Peru. They are going to go see Machu Picchu. Should be quite something. I'm proud, and wish I were going with them.

Much like she did when she went to India, my sister has started a blog, "A Trek for Zinns" to document the travels. They aren't sure how often they will be able to post updates, but they're going to try. Check out the blog, subscribe to the RSS feed for updates, or check out the most recent entries in the sidebar here at


If you've always thought you'd really love to see more pics from Ken and Dana (and especially Jessica), but you really just haven't found a way to commit this URL to memory:

you're in luck! Because now you can get to our shared photos by visiting

How about that? It's actually two keystrokes longer than the old one, so if you're one to minimize keystrokes, don't worry: the old one still works.

What's that? You think we're crazy? You think no one could possibly add an easy to remember URL and keep the (2 character) shorter one active as well? How do we stay in business with giveaways like these?

One word: volume.

Explain Something Complicated

I was reminded this week of some videos I had seen a while ago by Common Craft. These guys make some really great (and short, usually around 2 minutes) videos in which they explain technological concepts in ways that almost anyone can understand. They use a format they call “Paperworks”, which consists of a mix of live-action and stop-motion done with paper and whiteboard.

They’ve made a few videos on their own, and they also make videos for other companies. I was reminded of them this week when I saw the video they made for Google Docs, coinciding with the addition of presentations to the service. Here’s the video:

Now this video is paid for by Google, so of course it has a marketing message behind it. Here’s another example, one which isn’t sponsored. This one explains the concept/technology/service of social bookmarking:

What I want to say is I really, really like what these guys are doing. (It’s a husband and wife team, as far as I can gather.) Coming up with such an easy to follow explanation of ideas that so many can find confusing or intimidating (including, at times, myself!) is impressive. And I think the “Paperworks” style that they use is fun to watch. I wonder if it’s efficient: does it take a lot of time and effort to shoot the video this way, or is it reasonably straightforward after some careful planning?

Either way, kudos to Common Craft. I can easily imagine making “Paperworks” videos explaining any number of otherwise abstract or intimidating topics: Calculus, Physics, Statistics, etc.

Baby's First iPod

I'm a proud papa. My baby got her first MP3 player for her 1st birthday. Thank you Grace!


Context Aware Image Re-Sizing

The first 30 seconds of this may not catch your attention, but stick with it. Here's the basic idea:

If you have an image that's too big for the space you have to display it, the two main options are to scale the image down, making everything smaller, or to crop the edges off of the image to make it fit. This video is a demo of an alternative method, where the important parts of the image are kept as-is, and the unimportant parts are cut out.

(via O'Reilly Radar)

Fuel Efficiency - Great idea, but only if I have to.

Very interesting article.

The very, very short version: Although only a small percentage of people make the choice to buy more fuel efficient vehicles, a large majority of people are in favor of higher fuel efficiency standards. The author discusses why this might be.

[Side note: The first paragraph talks about the industry being resistant to change, to the point of declaring the death of the industry itself:

"In the nineteen-twenties, Alfred Sloan, the president of General Motors, insisted that the company could not make windshields with safety glass because doing so would harm the bottom line. In the fifties, auto executives told Congress that making seat belts compulsory would slash industry profits. When air bag came along, Lee Iacocca told Richard Nixon that “safety has really killed all our business. "

This same cycle has played out, and is playing out now, in the music ("record") industry. I think something similar is happening with real estate and the emergence of online tools which, as the Freakonomics authors would say, reduce the information asymmetry.]