John Borthwick writing for the betaworks Shareholder Book:


Each new year, people share pictures of their homescreens on Twitter, Instagram and other social sharing platforms. If you search Twitter for #homescreen2014, you will see a stream of pictures of people’s homescreens — the primary screen of their phone with all the apps they choose to keep there. It is fascinating to browse through this stream of images — analyzing it is even more interesting. Right after the new year, we culled 1000 homescreen images from Twitter, cut up the images and tabulated the apps on the homescreens vs. those in folders. Admittedly, it’s a hack, and the sample is skewed: among all smartphone users, we’re biasing completely for people who use Twitter, and among Twitter users we’re selecting for the type of person who is willing to share a homescreen image. But, caveats aside, the data are fascinating. Eighty-seven percent of homescreens shared in our sample were iOS and 12 percent were Android (1 percent was Windows). For the sake of consistency, we focused the analysis below on iOS — the 87 percent.


As we well know, statistics in the tech industry don't ever seem to paint a clear picture. But I think this specific research study bears a fair argument regarding trends in the market.

The biggest surprise: Tweetbot's incredible "market share" lead over Twitter's own native client. Twitter must view statistics like these as a complete failure — no third party, paid iOS application should be more popular than your free, native app. Maybe this is more indicative of the incredible work Tapbots has done with Tweetbot. Or maybe it's more indicative of the crap job Twitter has done with its own client. Regardless, free always seems to overtake paid, no matter the design behind the dollar.

There are many conclusions you can make from data like this. I can't wait to see how big-data driven decisions are made in the App Store going forward.