Kerri McCrory

Apple’s App Store which opened in July 2008 is distribution platform for apps developed with iOS, the mobile operating system developed by Apple. Apps can be downloaded onto iOS devices and are organised by 24 main categories which range from social networking to lifestyle.
A report was created which intended to provide the key findings into apps in the Education category.
Apple’s App Store which opened in July 2008 is distribution platform for apps developed with iOS, the mobile operating system developed by Apple. Apps can be downloaded onto iOS devices and are organised by 24 main categories which range from social networking to lifestyle.
A report was created which to provide the key findings into apps in the Education category a Learnovate Lunchtime Seminar gave members an overview of the report and is summarised here.

  • Age Pricing Tiers (in USD)
  • Age Rating
  • Customer Rating
  • Publisher Information
  • App Categories
  • File Sizes
  • Supported Devices


Pricing Tiers

The Apple store provides 83 tiers of pricing which range from Free to 999.99. Apps will either be Free or will have a pricing tier assigned, which can be scheduled to change. It is worth noting that Apple has recently changed the terminology surrounding free apps moving from a Free button to Get button within the App Store, see figure 1. This Get button reflects that although apps are free, many of these apps will be based on a freemium model or include in-app purchases.

Figure 1: Example of the Free and Get buttons

The key findings for Pricing Tiers reveal that:

  • Over half of the apps are Free (55.07%) and that most of the pricing increments increase gradually, with the exception of 19.99 which places in the top ten
  • Four apps, out of 161,786 are priced at 999.99, the highest price a developer can charge for an app:
  • Two apps are from the same developer
  • No ratings are available for all four apps
  • The first three apps all target the 4+ age range
  • The files sizes are relatively high


Age Ratings

All apps have an associated age advisory rating providing a guideline to the suitability of the app, as well as being used by parental controls. The age rating is provided by the publishers.
The key findings for Age Ratings reveal that:

  • Ages 4+ make up the majority of the apps with 93%
    In a recent development (2013) publishers’ whose apps qualify for the Kid’s Category (i.e. apps which target ages 11 or below) have to assign a ‘Made for’ age advisory. These apps must include a privacy policy and require parental permission for in-app purchases and external links and are subject to the recently-introduced Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). There are three options:
    − Made for ages 5 and under
    − Made for ages 6-8
    − Made for ages 9-11

  • Only 7.24% of apps have this assigned this rating, ‘5 and Under’ is the most popular option with 59.28%


Customer Ratings

Customer ratings play an important role in the App Store. Apps which rate highly can be featured in the Top Charts within the App Store which lists the top Free and Paid apps to a potential worldwide market. In addition the customer ratings can play an important role for customers when browsing apps, with some customers opting to purchase or download an app which has positive or higher ratings. Once an app has been downloaded, it can be rated by the customer at any time, or developers can prompt users during the use of the app to rate the app. It is worth noting that there are issues associated with ratings in App Stores. These issues mainly refer to fake ratings and scams (Liu & Sun, 2014).
There are five different rating tiers available to customers ranging from 1-5. Once a number of customer ratings have been submitted, more rating tiers are introduced, they include:
• 1.5
• 2.5
• 3.5
• 4.5
The key findings for App Ratings reveal that:

  • Only 33.99% of all apps have an associated rating
  • The average app rating is 3.5
  • The most popular rating category is 4 with 15.1%
  • From the 49,287 distinct publishers only two have achieved rating of 5 stars


Publisher Information

Apple requires each publisher (either an individual or a company) wishing to releasing an app to enrol on an iOS Developer Program. Once enrolled each publisher takes part in a three step process:
1. The development of the app
2. The testing and debugging of the app
3. The distribution of the app.
The key findings for Publisher Information reveal that:

  • There are 49,287 distinct publishers within the Education category
  • This results, on average, with each publisher publishing 3 apps with the median resulting in 1 app per publisher
  • The top 10 publishers are provided, the short description provides an insight into the general nature of the apps, revealing that not all of the apps are specifically educational i.e. travel dictionaries and parent communication tools.


App Categories

Categories play an important role in the discoverability of apps with the App Store. Currently there are 24 categories in the App Store. When releasing an app, the publisher must specify the primary category, the secondary category is optional. Apps with a secondary category will be featured within the primary category results and vice versa.
Given key findings for Publishers, it is evident that the interpretation of education is a very broad.
The key findings for App Categories reveal that:

  • 20,450 apps have one category, education assigned. Apps cannot have the same primary and secondary category, though 161 apps have education and educational combination.
  • The top 5 combinations are presented in table 1 showing the most popular combination of Education and Games.

Table 1 – Categories in App Store

Categories Number
Education 20,450
Education and Games 19,552
Education and Reference 12,800
Education and Entertainment 9,373
Education and Books 8,297
Education and Travel 4,564


File Sizes

Apple have very recently (February 2015) doubled the maximum file size of apps from 2GB to 4GB, the first increase since the opening of the App Store in July 2008. This can be attributed to the increased processing power of Apple devices and user demand for richer media experiences.
The key findings for File Sizes reveal that:

  • It is evident that 1MB – 8MB is the most popular file size with 35.54%
  • There is a significant reduction of apps over 50MB which may reflect the cap Apple had put in place in 2012, since updated to 100MB, which restricts apps over this size requiring a Wi-Fi connection to download the app.



The App Store allows apps to be downloaded onto iOS devices which can be divided into three main categories:

  1. iPod
  2. iPhone
  3. iPad

The key findings for Devices reveal that:

  • There are 23 distinct types of supported devices which are presented with the three main iOS categories defined which include iPod, iPhone and iPad
  • The most popular category is iPad with 59.34%, followed by the iPhone and iPod
  • Within each category multiple devices are supported, the figure 2 indicates the popularity of individual devices within the categories
  • Although most of the iPad devices are the most supported, the ‘iPod Touch 4th Generation’ is in the top 10 followed by a combination of the iPhone and remaining iPod devices.


Figure 2: Popularity of Individual Devices