The First & 20 website showcases iPhone home screens of "some of the best and brightest developers, designers and tech writers." The idea behind the site is to give users the opportunity to be exposed to the apps that the smart guys are using, with the idea that there may be some hidden gems out there that people were unaware of. However, the selections show a lot of repetition, and few unusual choices.
Alfredo Padilla at TheAppleBlog did an analysis of the home screens because, he said "I have all the time in the world I decided to have fun with some math." 77 different third-party applications were shown, of which 46 were found only once and 31 were found multiple times. He further broke down the totals by the number of spaces on the home screen they occupied. on the 28 home screens featured, 162 slots were taken up by third-party applications. The 31 apps that were found more than once took up over 71 percent of those slots on home screens.
What it indicates to me is just how meaningless Apple’s constant prattering about the total number of apps in the app store is. The reality is that only a small percentage of those applications are good enough to make it onto the home screens of the most discerning users. I mentioned above the problem that led me to eagerly check out the First & 20 site: the fact that finding good applications is so hard. The more useless apps continue to enter the app store, the greater this problem becomes.
Like the operating system wars and browser wars, this may just come down to another case of the market being dominated by one or a couple players, and choice allowing for everyone to have their own preferences. And similar to those conflicts, there may well end up being no one clear "best," but rather a healthy diversity.
image via TheAppleBlog