Relentless renovation: Apple’s App Store

Apple's App Store on iTunes is a great example of how to grow through continuous renovation. This online store now has a mind boggling 60,000 applications to download for your iPhone or iPod Touch. There's everything from games to gizzmos that allow you to record TV programmes remotely or find the name of a song on the radio by pointing your phone at it. I posted on my top 10 fave apps here.

Since launch last June, there have now been over 1 billion downloads. Pretty amazing. But what's even more inpressive is that the rate of growth is actually increasing, as the graph from Edible Apple below shows:

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And Apple is the clear Leader Brand in mobile applications. And this puts it in a strong position to take on the Leader Brand in smartphones, Nokia. To put this in perspective, Nokia's Ovi Store had 10 million downloads in the first 2 months. Apple's App Store had 100 million.

Here are some of the smart ways Apple has use relentless renovation to make the App Store better and better.

1. Adding and Updating Top 10's: An updated list of Top 10's by category (business, home, productivity etc.) makes it easy to see what is hot

2. Making navigation in iTunes easier: as with all Apple services, using the App Store is easy an intuitive. From the first page you can see a selection of what's hot, new and staff picks.

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Contrast this with the homepage from Nokia's Ovi Store. You have to select your phone first, and there is limited content. Instead, there are a series of complicated menus to navigate. There's only one app I can buy off the home page, compared to over 100 on Apple's App Store.

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3. Encouraging more and more App developers: Apple has made available an easy-to-use software development kit (the SDK) to would be app designers, and shares the revenue. Clever PR has promoted stories of "App Store Millionaires", like these articles here and here. This helps fuel the supply of new applications. This in turn encourages people to visit.

4. Advertising support: as the App Store has got bigger, Apple has re-invested revenues in advertising to further fuel the fire, and grow even faster.

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5. Even better integration with iTunes: today when I connected my iPhone to my Mac to synch it, I was blown away by how this now works. You see the apps on your iPhone. But also how they are laid out on your iPhone screens. You can then drag and drop them, to change their positions, which is much easier than doing it on the iPhone. And when you hit "synch" and turn on the phone, hey presto, the icons of the apps have changed position!

The Apple App store is a great inspiration for Leader Brands who want to retain and reinforce their leadership position: relentless renovation to stay ahead.