The iOS and Mac Markets Are the Same Size

That headline is a bit provocative, I realize, and it doesn’t capture all the truth. So I’ll elaborate.

Download numbers for NetNewsWire 5.0 for iOS just passed the total for NetNewsWire 5.0.3 for Mac: 37,618 for iOS, 36,774 for Mac.

Yes, the iOS app has more downloads, and it got there in only a few weeks. But if the iOS market were so much larger than the Mac market, you’d have expected this to happen within a day or two of launch day.

This particular app makes for an interesting experiment for a few reasons:

  • It’s free (very little friction, in other words)
  • Both versions have had about the same amount of notice in the press and on blogs and Twitter
  • News reading is probably more of an iOS thing than a Mac thing in general
  • The iOS app is highly-rated (4.9 worldwide) and reviews are quite favorable

Based on the above, and knowing that way more people use iOS than macOS, you’d expect the iOS app to be way more popular. But it’s not. It’s a little more popular.

I find this super-fascinating, because it’s some data — admittedly just one app — that confirms what I’ve thought for a long time, which is that, for some types of apps, a Mac app would do as well as an iOS app.

And, given that Mac apps are less complex to write than iOS apps these days, a Mac app could be more profitable than an iOS app.

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