A study says iOS apps, and games in particular, have ballooned in size over the past six months. Possible culprits? The iPads Retina Display, Universal apps, and a March increase in the over-the-air download limit in the App Store.
According to a study by ABI Research, the average size of an iOS app increased by 16% from March to September 2012; iOS games have grown even faster, jumping 42% over that same time period.
The increase could have many contributing factors. The high resolution graphics apps required for use with the iPad’s new Retina Display contribute to larger file sizes. Universal apps, which contain all the resources required to run the app on either the iPhone or iPad are a definite factor. Last but not least, in March the App Store over-the-air download limit was increased from 20MB to 50MB.
With the increasing file sizes, storage on the iOS devices is becoming ever more precious. ABI senior analyst Aapo Markkanen predicts, “Especially the consumers with 16GB devices are likely to become more conscious about what apps to keep and what to uninstall, so the developers’ bar to impress will be getting even higher than it is now. This could also speed up the adoption of the mobile cloud as a storage remedy quite significantly.”
Apple’s storage size offerings for its devices have reflected the storage challenges of ever growing app sizes. Apple added a 64GB option with the introduction of the iPhone 4S, and now the only 8GB phone it offers is the free iPhone 4. The smallest iPod touch model available currently is the 16GB 4th-gen model, the new 5th-gen device starts at 32GB.
While some have speculated that Apple could offer an 8GB model of its rumored iPad mini, it’s possible the company will try to maintain 16GB as the bottom rung for its tablet devices.