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Friday, April 30, 2010, 12:55 pm PT (03:55 pm ET)

Developer says iPad downloads are 5% of iPhone share on App Store

A developer with chart-topping free games for both the iPhone and iPad has shared download figures for each platform, revealing his iPad application was downloaded about 5 percent as much as a comparable game available for the much larger audience of the iPhone and iPod touch.

iPad vs. iPhone sales

Michael Buford of Headlight Software Inc. updated his personal blog on Friday to share download figures for two free applications from the company Knife Dancing for the iPhone and Heads Up: Hold'em HD for the iPad. Knife Dancing was the No. 1 free iPhone game in February, with about 165,000 downloads in a single day, while Heads Up became the No. 1 iPad game on Thursday, with 8,300 downloads in one day.

"So according to those numbers, for a free game the iPad app store is about 5% as big as the iPhone app store on the day before the 3G launch..." he said. "And unlike the iPhone, where the #1 game is usually the #1 app—on the iPad it only got us to #4."

While the experience of Headlight Software may not be indicative of all developers, it does provide some insight as to what kind of software is popular for the iPad, and how successful it can become after the hardware's first month of sales.

Both free applications include in-app sales, with Knife offering a $0.99 upgrade, and Hold'em featuring a pricer $4.99 upgrade. That higher price helped to push the iPad card game to more than 10 percent of the revenue obtained through the iPhone title.

"Interestingly Knife Dancing's income was enough to get into the Top Grossings lists; the highest I saw was #27..." he wrote. "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."

Early adopters of the iPad have quickly embraced the App Store, despite the fact that many applications carry prices significantly higher than their bargain basement iPhone counterparts. Days after the iPad launched, Apple revealed that more than 3.5 million apps had been downloaded for the device.

One estimate earlier this month predicted that Apple is selling $372,000 worth of iPad applications every day. That forecast suggested Apple could hit $1 billion in annual sales within two years.

Analysis says iPad apps near 5,000

A new report from App Store analytical firm Distimo released this week revealed that the number of iPad applications has hit 4,870 since the device was released on April 3. That number is up 32.7 percent over the last two weeks.

Distimo also said the largest category of applications for the iPad is games, with 1,577 options encompassing 32 percent of the online marketplace. Entertainment titles amounted to 455, while books were 396 titles.

The study also found that the average price of an iPad application is $4.67, higher than the average of $3.82 for the iPhone. The most expensive categories are Medical, where the average app costs $42.11, and Finance, with an average of $18.48. Those run much higher than the same categories for the iPhone, where medical apps cost $10.74 and Finance runs an average of $5.74.

The results suggested that there is a higher ratio of paid applications for the iPad than there is for the iPhone, with 80 percent of software for Apple's large-screen device carrying a price tag, compared with 73 percent for the iPhone.

Just five days after the iPad launched, Apple revealed that there were more than 3,500 applications designed specifically for the iPad. Apple's iBooks application alone served up more than 600,000 ebooks in the first five days.