Everything You Need to Know About the New Apple TV App Store

Update: Apple’s Eddy Cue confirmed that there are more than 2,000 apps in the Apple TV App Store and that games are the leading category in an interview with BuzzFeed.

The long awaited Apple TV App Store opened about a month ago, and since we happen to be into apps that got us pretty excited. We started tracking the new store when it had just opened in late October, and have been keeping a close watch on its progress for a little over a month now. Armed with a database full of apps we set out to share some of the things we’re seeing.

We’ve crunched the numbers and have answered some questions we’ve been getting about the new App Store. Read on for details and interactive charts (a brand new addition to our blog), or skip all the fun and go directly to the highlights at the bottom.

How many apps are there?

There are currently 2,624 apps available for download in the Apple TV App Store. That’s quite a number considering the store is just about a month old. With a pretty steady rate of growth so far, we estimate the store will be hitting 5,000 apps in about a month and 10,000 apps in early 2016.

Let’s take a closer look at the category make up. A common question is which category is the largest? If you’re thinking games you’re not wrong! The Games category is the single largest category on the Apple TV App Store with 1,002 apps. This means Games make up roughly 38% of all Apple TV apps.

This distribution looks fairly healthy with games leading the pack and entertainment trailing behind. For a device that’s connected to your television this makes a lot of sense. We were a bit surprised to see the Shopping category consisting of just 9 apps. With the holiday season closing in we’d expected retailers to jump on this new opportunity. Maybe next year.

As we look through categories there’s something important we should make note of – while developers can publish apps to more than 20 main categories, only seven are currently visible in the Apple TV. We marked those categories with a darker shade of blue. We’re not sure how Apple is deciding which categories to open up, but did notice all apps are downloadable if you search them.

How are they monetizing?

Monetizing on any app store is as challenge, but due to the lack of ads (from Apple’s iAd or 3rd parties), the options are a bit more limited and so developers are currently forced to monetize by charging for their app, or using in-app purchases.

Looking at the data we were a bit surprised. Our expectation, especially for the early batch of apps, was to see the majority of apps being free with in-app purchases. That however does not seem to be the case — 39% of apps on the Apple TV App Store are paid apps.

If this trend continues it could mean great news for developers, signaling that consumers trust the new device to provide them with an experience that’s worth paying for upfront.

Just how much are developers charging? For that, let’s break down those paid apps by price tier.

The majority of paid apps cost $2.99 or less. The race to the bottom hasn’t graced the Apple TV App Store, but it’s worth noting that there are a few brave developers that are challenging that, pricing their apps as high as $59.99.

What are consumers downloading?

Now that we know what’s available and what it costs, let’s take a look at what consumers actually want. To do that we’ve looked up the top 50 apps and grouped them by category.

While there are more games than apps in any other single category, games don’t seem to dominate the top charts (yet?). Instead, it’s Entertainment that’s leading the pack with Games being somewhat of a distant second. The Apple TV could possibly be a great gaming (depends who you ask), but so far consumers are using it to stream their favorite shows. That’s why the top 10 apps are all streaming apps from popular services and cable channels.

While the Apple TV is still fairly small, it’s showing great signs of growth and with the holidays coming up has the potential to turn into a more substantial revenue source for developers very soon. We’ll be keeping an eye on the new store and will put out an updated analysis in the new year that looks at growth, so stay tuned and join the mailing list to be the first to know about it.


  • There are 2,624 apps on the Apple TV App Store.
  • An average of 447 new apps are added to the store every week.
  • 38% of all apps are games.
  • The categories with the most apps are: Games, Entertainment, and Education.
  • There are more than 20 categories apps can be submitted to but only 7 are currently visible.
  • 61% of all apps are free
  • 85% of paid apps cost between $0.99 and $2.99.
  • Entertainment apps dominate the top charts (28 of the Top 50).
  • Only 8 of the top 50 apps are games.

The data

This analysis was done using our comprehensive app catalog which we make available commercially through Appbase. The catalog contains over 4 million apps from all major app stores, including all Apple TV apps regardless of whether they’re in a category that’s available on the Apple TV App Store or not.

Are you making apps for the Apple TV? Sign up for a free trial and start tracking your apps the right way!

House of Cards Stacks the Deck for Monument Valley’s Success Across Major App Stores

This past weekend marked the return of Netflix’s popular original series, House of Cards for a third season. Having previously established the main character’s interest in video games, the newly appointed President turns to the popular app, Monument Valley to decompress.

The game doesn’t make its debut in the series until the fifth episode, but if anything can be inferred from the Season 2 premiere where over 670,000 people binge-watched the entire new season during the first weekend of its release on Netflix (a figure which accounted for 2% of total Netflix subscribers at the time), the show’s viewers are a devoted group.

We wondered if and how this engaged audience would affect the already popular game. We kept a close watch on ranks data from the weekend:

monument_valley_1 Note: The grey lines indicate subcategories for reference.

We can see that the effect of the feature during Episode 5 was immediate. Almost exactly 5 hours after the third season became available to watch, the game began to ascend the ranks at lightening speed. This ascent is much more abrupt in iOS than in Google Play where it makes steady leaps. Next, let’s take a look at the Top Paid Overall:


Again, we see a jump right around the time the binge-watchers would get to the app’s feature. This initial climb is consistent and sustained throughout the course of the weekend. Finally, we analyzed the data for the Top Grossing category:


Unlike most popular games with freemium models, Monument Valley is currently a paid app priced at $3.99, with an additional extension as an in-app purchase available for $1.99. The show advertised the game so well that a large number of people were willing to pay upfront to try it out, which is uncommon.

As we can see, such a prominent feature in a leading series proves to be the ultimate advertisement. At this point, the effect is even greater than that we recently looked at for apps that purchased Super Bowl ads – without the large price tag! It would appear as though this is a much more receptive audience.

Did Super Bowl Ads Score App Store Success?

With an estimated 112 million viewers tuned in to the 49th Super Bowl on Sunday night, a lot of talk had nothing to do with the game or sport itself. Instead, there was a lot of hype over three different games — the kind you play on your phone, and that were advertised in between all that football.

The hefty price tag ($4.5 million for a 30-second slot) succeeded in getting people talking, but was it worth it?

We tracked the U.S. ranks for all the ads that ran during the game: Clash of Clans, Game of War and Heroes Charge over the weekend to see if the coveted Super Bowl ad slots translated into app store success.

Let’s start with what matters — revenue. Starting with a look at the Top Grossing chart for the U.S., we see that, unsurprisingly, this chart isn’t too exciting. Why are we not surprised? Well, mostly because all three apps are freemium games that monetize with in-app purchases. Unlike paid apps, monetizing with in-app purchases can take longer and has a long tail, so changes to this chart will be gradual and take time. Let’s take a look at a more important metric — downloads.

Heroes Charge was previously unranked, peaked at #86 in iOS Games Category

Things move quickly in the iOS App Store, so here we see more immediate results. These apps were reeling in a lot of new downloads (and increasing their chances of converting these users later with IAP’s). Game of War got the most downloads of the three in this category for iOS, even succeeding in pushing Clash of Clans down a few slots. However, Clash of Clans must have received a similar number of downloads, as it managed to bounce back. Finally, Heroes Charge made a brief climb, peaking at 86th in the Games category, which shows some success, even though it was not sticky, that it had previously been unable to achieve.

Game of War +95 ranks; Clash of Clans +18 ranks in iOS Top Overall

We see Game of War started moving a few days prior to the Super Bowl, which could be due to the larger ad campaign they recently launched. Commercials starring Kate Upton have been getting a lot of airtime as well as pre-game hype, which may have started to boost downloads prior to the game. Additionally, this ad took place during the first Quarter, which left the audience with a longer time after it aired to head to the app stores and give it a try.

Google Play isn’t as exciting for sure, but there’s still interesting information here. Although the two mega titles didn’t move much, the new player, Heroes Charge was able to break into the top charts, both in the Games category and Overall. So far it looks like it’s sticking. Given that the two leaders are…well, leaders, while they were still getting plenty of downloads (which caused them to continue the ascent up the ranks into Tuesday), these weren’t yet enough to push them up immediately following the game.

To answer our original question, Yes — buying a really expensive TV spot is a sure-fire to get your app a good amount of downloads and even put you on the map if you weren’t. Whether it’s the only way to achieve that is an entirely different question. If we learned one thing from this campaign it’s that when it comes to user acquisition, Kate Upton has a leg up on Liam Neeson.

The Reviews Are In: iPhone Users Love Custom Keyboards!

We’ve been talking a lot about the new changes in iOS 8 and what they mean for developers and end users. In this post we continue the trend and look at custom keyboards. Now that custom keyboards are available for iPhone and iPad users, some are already swearing by them and companies dedicated to creating those keyboards are flourishing.

So far we’ve seen keyboards of all kinds pop up. From the famous Swype, to ones that change the background color to reduce battery usage, keyboards have been ranking very well. Instead of looking at performance, we wanted to get a feel for how users are receiving them, so we decided to dive into app store reviews. Since we’re going to be analyzing text, we collected reviews for all top ranking keyboard apps from english speaking countries (the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia).

First, we aggregated all of those reviews and pulled the most popular keywords (those that are repeated the most times). We cleaned out short terms and stop words and put it all into a word cloud.

Word-cloud of top iOS8 custom keyboard reviews from appFigures

Word clouds aren’t as mainstream as they used to be, but for understanding reviews at a glance they are ideal. Looking at this cloud, we can easily see that users are really loving their custom keyboards. Words like “love”, “like”, and “great” are repeated very often.

Looking closer we start to see suggestions and feedback as well with words like “fix”, “needs”, and “feature”. Lets take a look at each specific app and see how those keywords look. Sorted by their ranks, here are the top keyboard apps and the words that are most used in their reviews:

  • Swype – Keyboard
    Ranked 1st (US Paid)

    Review Keywords: work, swype, great, iphone, works, please, get, love, fix, like

    View on iTunes

  • TouchPal Keyboard – Emoji & Gesture
    Ranked 2nd (US Free)

    Review Keywords: work, awesome, good, love, great, typing, like, themes, access, get

    View on iTunes

  • CooolKey – Keyboard for Color Lovers
    Ranked 2nd (US paid)

    Review Keywords: work, autocorrect, love, get, needs, like, set, please, even, great

    View on iTunes

  • Color Keyboards for iOS 8!
    Ranked 7th (US Paid)

    Review Keywords: work, iphone, waste, money, plus, works, even, auto, buy, correct

    View on iTunes

  • SwiftKey Keyboard
    Ranked 9th (US Free)

    Review Keywords: love, great, work, awesome, best, like, works, type, good, access

    View on iTunes

  • GIF Keyboard
    Ranked 11th (US Free)

    Review Keywords: love, gifs, great, awesome, fun, work, gif, like, works, stars

    View on iTunes

  • Kiwi – Beautiful, Colorful, Custom Keyboard
    Ranked 21th (US Free)

    Review Keywords: work, open, get, working, set, like, cool, works, even, love

    View on iTunes

It seems that users love this new addition and are happy to provide feedback and even suggestions in their reviews. That’s free QA for developers. Hopefully those developers are using our intelligent app store reviews engine to keep an eye on these terms and fix those bugs.

Uber’s Legal Battles in Germany Drive üBer Downloads in App Store

A recent court ruling in Frankfurt has banned Uber’s most popular service, Uberpop (Germany’s version of UberX), from operating in Germany, claiming it “unfairly competes” with local taxi services.

In June when Uber faced opposition in Europe, it resulted in the app flying up the ranks, so we wondered if this latest incident of free publicity affected the app in a similar fashion. We took a look at the ranks over the past day and saw this suspicion was confirmed:


It seems that even negative publicity yields some positive results for Uber.

The Other Hyperlapse Rides Instagram’s Coattails to the Top

This past Tuesday, Instagram released Hyperlapse, an app that speeds up and converts videos you take on your smartphone using time-lapse technology. With reports of a similar software, being developed by Microsoft for its GoPro camera and using the same name, we wanted to take a closer look. It turns out that Microsoft and Instagram are not the only two companies to use the name “Hyperlapse”.

An app released by Hieronymus Belt a year prior with the same name came up in the coveted first search result position for the first few days, while “Hyperlapse from Instagram”, billed as such, was #2. We wondered how many people, eager to take Instagram’s new product for a spin, may have accidentally downloaded the wrong app in their haste. We took a look at the charts for this app, which does not convert your own videos, but rather utilizes time-lapse to take you on a virtual tour of streets around the world. Here’s what we found:


After the original app skyrocketed up the ranks, it was quickly changed from a free app, to paid (at $.99) in an attempt to capitalize on the free traffic. The following caveat has also been added to it’s description: “Hyperlapse by Instagram is another app which work differently”.

In the past, we’ve seen apps being named after already-popular and successful predecessors (for example, the inundation of apps with “flappy” in their name), in an attempt to ride their coattails to the top of the ranks. However, with this happening in a reverse order, we see that a case can be made for the power of mistaken identity.

Data Bits: App Reviews Are Warmer and Fuzzier Than You May Think

We recently introduced a brand new section to the blog called Data Bits. This is where we choose an interesting set of data, analyze it, and turn it into bite sized blog posts for your reading pleasure.

Last time we looked at app reviews and how many of them a typical developer can expect to have. This time we’re diving a bit deeper into the data to find out exactly what sort of message those reviews are trying to communicate.

The data

While there are tons of reviews in almost every language, in this post we’ll be focusing specifically on ones written in English. Most text analysis tools are built around English which makes those reviews easier to analyze. It also happens to be the language we’re most familiar with.

After some internal discussion over the best way to slice the data by language, we decided to grab a slice of iOS and Mac App Store reviews from these major English-speaking countries: US, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Our sample comes out to roughly 25 million individual reviews–more than enough to give us an idea of what’s going on in there.

Visualizing it all

Next we needed to decide how to analyze and present so much content. After much brainstorming we settled on a method which is both simple and effective: word clouds. Once all the pieces were in place, we threw all 25 million reviews into the blender and here’s what came out:


click images to enlarge

We were pretty surprised at how positive this word cloud seems to be. Being app developers ourselves, we’re quite familiar with how picky reviewers tend to get, and we assumed that reviews would have been a bit less glowing and slightly more critical. So we ran the numbers again but the same results came out. ‘Great’, ‘love’, ‘fun’, and ‘good’ are used way more often than words like ‘poor’, ‘useless’, ‘waste’, and ‘sucks’.

And that’s it… NOT

Just because a word is positive or negative on its own doesn’t mean there aren’t other words in the sentence modifying it. While evolution has fine-tuned us humans to identify such language nuances, it’s not so easy for a computer. So we started tinkering with the data to see if there’s anything clever we can do to get a better idea of the context around each word.

We started off by sectioning the reviews according to their star rating. We figured that the star rating (1 – 5) of a review is usually a good indication of its overall sentiment.

We turned to the blender once more, this time creating a cloud of words from only 5-star reviews.


Compare that with a word cloud of all 1-star reviews:


There’s a definite contrast here, showing that words like ‘love’ and ‘beautiful’ aren’t thrown around as much in very negative reviews, while words like ‘crashes’ and ‘waste’ aren’t very popular in positive ones. We did the same breakdown with star ratings 2 through 4, and, as expected, there was a gradual change in the use of positive and negative words.

Adding some color

Armed with this new information we decided to try something crazy: We’ll assign a ‘positivity’ score to each word depending on how often it appears in positive (highly rated) reviews and how often it appears in negative (low rated) reviews. We then recreated the original word cloud, this time coloring words with a high score green, those with a low score red, and everything in the middle gray.


We weren’t sure what to expect out of this experimental analysis method, but it turned out to be pretty spot-on. We were surprised at how well the algorithm does at coloring words with a negative connotation (such as ‘crashes’, ‘waste’, and ‘useless’) red, while highlighting the positive ones (like ‘great’, ‘love’, and ‘good’) in green.

So it looks like what we suspected originally about the critical and picky reviewer was wrong, and that the first word cloud above was pretty telling on its own: there are way more positive things being said about iOS and Mac apps than negative. Who would have thought?

Data Bits: Less Than One Percent of iOS App Developers Have Half of All Reviews

Not too long ago we built a completely new way of tracking app reviews by caching data for speedy full-text search and advanced filtering. That means we’re now downloading every single review for more and more apps every day in addition to the aggregate review data we already have. As you can imagine, that data occupies a lot of bits on our servers, but it also leaves us with tons of juicy data to analyze. In the coming weeks and months we’ll be writing several blog posts analyzing this data set and others.

It’s no secret that a few popular apps get a lot of reviews while most don’t even come close. We wanted to quantify this sentiment and figure out how many developers get how many reviews. We’re happy to share this information in the hope that it gives developers some insight into how their portfolios compare with those of other developers.

Our data set

There’s a lot of app review data out there from numerous countries and several stores, so for the sake of keeping this post short we decided to focus on a pretty specific slice of data, containing only iOS apps. Our sample consists of over 70 million aggregated reviews from 151 countries, which is enough to show some interesting and meaningful data.


Looking at this chart, three interesting points immediately jumped out at us:

  • A typical iOS developer can expect between 1 – 5,000 reviews for their entire portfolio (a pretty huge range if we may say so).
  • Half of developers have more than 500 reviews.
  • 5% of developers don’t have a single review for any of their apps (not even from mom!).

Also, the chart has three fairly equal slices inside the 1 – 5,000 range. This means that an almost-equal number of developers fall into the 1 – 100, 101 – 500, and 1,000 – 5,000 ranges. In which camp do you belong?

Looking at the extremes

A lot of developers would agree that a very large portion of reviews is held by a small portion of developers (that group in the small green slices in the above chart). Again, we wanted to quantify this amount, so we took various-sized chunks of the developers with the most reviews and saw how many reviews they held (out of total reviews).


So it looks like a quarter of reviews are held by just one tenth of a percent of all developers. These are the developers in the extremes of our previous chart. In this case, the extremes are huge, with some developers having portfolios with millions of reviews.

What’s next?

This is all we have the time for today but there are still some unanswered questions: what types of apps are those 0.1% most-reviewed developers creating? Do specific genres or prices of apps draw more feedback than others? Are these reviews largely positive or negative? Next time we’ll explore some of these questions and more.

Almost everything we do is inspired by you, our members and readers, so please share your thoughts on this blog, twitter, or any of the other virtual hangout places out there.

Ranks Data Is All Over the Place


As you know, we track hourly rank changes. Yesterday we started seeing a strange trend in the movement of ranks — a constant zigzag. Up and down 50 spots or more…every hour!

This is happening in most countries around the world and effects many apps outside of the top 25. It’s gotten flatter over the last few hours but it’s still visible.

At the moment this does not look to be effecting apps in the Mac store. Just iOS apps.

Is Apple making changes to the algorithm? Is the App Store experiencing technical difficulties? We don’t really know but we’re keeping an eye on it and will update this post.

Who’s Making Top Ranked Apps?

Our last post focused on the prices of top-grossing apps. This time around we’ve decided to look at the developers behind the top 400 apps. We’ll be looking at public ranks data for the top 400 paid, free, and grossing iPhone/iPod apps in the U.S. during May 2011.

Let’s look at the total number of devs making apps in each category. Among the devs who made a top ranked iPhone app in May, 2011, on average…

  • 311 devs are responsible for the top 400 Free apps
  • 281 devs are responsible for the top 400 Paid apps
  • 259 devs are responsible for the top 400 Grossing apps

To visualize this, we’ve created a Venn diagram so you can see exactly how many developers there are in each category and in the overlap between categories.



It’s probably a good time to point out that when we say “developers” or “devs,” we include publishers. On Average, 22% of the top grossing devs make more than one top-grossing app. Most of these developers have 2-5 top grossing apps. A select few have more than 10 top grossing apps at any time, but there are a couple of consistent rockstars: Electronic Arts averaged 25 top-grossing apps at any given time in May, and GameLoft averaged 12. When it comes to the big guns, this data confirms our expectations.

Among the devs in each category there is some overlap—some devs have made one app that’s ranked in the free or paid category and is also a top grossing app. Other devs are in the overlap because they’ve made multiple apps, each app ranked in a unique category.

Let’s take a closer look at the 259 devs making top-grossing apps (or, if you’re like us, let’s take a closer look at the blue bubble):


40% of the devs with top-grossing apps have also created top paid apps; 13% have created top free, and 20% of them have placed in all three categories.

Looking only at the devs making free top grossing apps, if we add 13% to 20% to get the full percentage of devs making free apps, we get 33%. Doing the same thing for devs making paid top grossing apps, 40% plus 20% gives us 60%. Since 20% of these devs made free and paid apps, that leaves a whopping 27% of devs who made top grossing apps that are not ranked in the top 400 free or paid categories.

Of course, we’re left wondering: who are these 27% of devs with apps that manage to make a lot of revenue without ever hitting the top free or paid charts? What kind of app pulls in enough revenue to make it into the top grossing category, but isn’t popular enough to make into free and paid categories? We’ll be covering this very issue in one of our upcoming posts.

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