29 November 2014

Medium: “#Homescreen2014”

Here are some of the other results we drew from the analysis we did in January of 2014. Most everyone has either a texting/messaging app on their homescreen. Eighty-nine percent have the standard Apple texting app and 86 percent of people have the phone app. More people regard these devices’ primary use as messaging rather than calling and 14 percent of people in this sample don’t view their smartphone as a phone: it’s a computing device. Telephony is an app that doesn’t even make it to their homescreen. Alternative, non Apple, messaging apps are starting to appear on the homescreens of users and I bet that if we sampled just non US users the numbers would be much higher. Facebook is Messenger is on 14% of people’s homescreen, Whatsapp is on 12 percent, Snapchat is on 11%, Path on 5 percent (while snapchat and path arent straight messaging app’s, worth noting them here for comparison), Groupme 4.7%, HipChat on 2.6 percent, Line on 1.5 percent, Viber 1%, Kik is on 0.5 percent. What’s interesting is that these alternatives dont replace the standard texting app. As I outline below in many categories the standard Apple app is replaced by users on the homescreen, in messaging its complemented.

John Borthwick

I must admit, when I first heard of an app with the sole purpose of sharing your smartphone homescreen on , I thought it was pointless. But the aggregate data from all these screenshots reflects important trends in app ecosystems: people seeking alternatives to ’s default apps – first and foremost to Maps, the explosion of messaging apps, the dominance of , the popularity of mobile photography and music.

iOS Homescreen Top Apps This Week iOS Homescreen Top Apps including Apple
The first homescreen is automatically generated based on the most popular apps used by #Homescreen members; the second includes Apple default apps

Later, the version including Apple’s default apps was published, showing that many of them are still popular choices on the homescreen: Photos and Camera, Music, Mail, Notes, Weather, Reminders, all of them have higher ranking than their competitors. Their simplicity and being available by default makes them hard to displace. A notable exception: Google Maps, more popular than Apple’s version.

A thing that I find surprising though is the number of email apps: the auto-generated Homescreen with Top Apps currently shows three, two of them from . It’s amazing how Inbox managed to gain so many users so fast – the site lists it as installed on 11.44% of analyzed homescreens, right behind Mailbox (12.69%) and the classic Gmail app (13.24%). Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s actively being used (the sample size is pretty small and heavily biased towards early adopters). Many Gmail users probably installed it immediately after receiving an invite and, after deciding which fits their needs best, never got around to deleting the other app or moving it to a secondary screen.

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