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Apple is no stranger to the mobile application market. With iOS and the Apple App Store, users can browse for more
than half a million applications, and most of the apps are free with the inclusion of advertising. Developers used to be
able to grab a user's unique device identifier (UDID) in their apps, but Apple removed this feature because it posed
threats to privacy concerns among users. Basically, having a UDID for a user allows app developers to better target an
advertiser's message to the right customer through their application. Tying information such as location, time, and
interest all to a unique device ID or hash means an advertiser can better understand who is viewing their ad content
and when. Although UDIDs are now not accessible for applications to access for advertising in iOS, there is another
advertising identifier as of iOS 6 that allows for apps to better target by similar means. In addition, there is even an
initiative for an open UDID called OpenUDID, which would be accessible by all devices, but it has yet to really take off
( ).
Apple pretty much reigns supreme in the app market with the number of quality apps offered in such a controlled
developer environment. This coupled with the explosive growth of Apple's iDevices means that applications are a very
fruitful market to be in. Figure 9-1 shows what eMarketer projects for U.S. iPad users over the next three years.
Figure 9-1. U.S. iPad users 2010 to 2015 (Source: )
Figure 9-1 says by 2015 about 90 million U.S. users will be touching and interacting with iPad tablets. With this
many people making the switch to tablet-based experiences as opposed to traditional desktop apps, expect to see
more applications and advertisers moving into this space.
Google's Android is the other main competing application operating system. Google, as of last year, has the most
OS installs per device worldwide, and many believe it's because it provides a stable and open operating system
that can be installed across many manufacturer's devices such as Samsung, LG, Motorola, and others
( ) . Google provides a very similar
experience as the Apple App Store to download and install applications on Android devices; Google's store is called
Google Play ( ) . From an Android device, users can navigate through close to a
million apps, both free and paid. Much like its competitor, Apple, since many of these apps are offered for free, Google
apps generally are fueled by an advertising-based model.
One important thing to note about Android is that its operating system versions vary tremendously among
its user base, which is why for Android you often hear about fragmentation . This fragmentation arises because of
all the different OS versions and the users' inability or lack of interest to adopt the latest versions. I state “inability”
because many devices are not capable of updating to the latest versions of Android, which makes its user base very
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