What would you do with 500 apps? These users speak from experience

Sep 16, 2009
Tech

Brad Brooks owns nearly 500 apps for his iPhone. “I’m addicted,” he said, admitting most of his app purchases are “impulse buys. At the price points that most apps are sold at, they’re a steal.” Brooks is not alone in his love of apps, even if his current total of 492 is the most apps […]

Brad Brooks owns nearly 500 apps for his iPhone.

“I’m addicted,” he said, admitting most of his app purchases are “impulse buys. At the price points that most apps are sold at, they’re a steal.”

Brooks is not alone in his love of apps, even if his current total of 492 is the most apps owned as recorded by Appolicious.com. Several Appolicious users own hundreds of apps and the reasons vary from a love of trying new things to finding specific apps for specific uses. (Here’s a list of Appolicious.com’s current top app owners.)

These heavy app users have one thing in common: they can’t get enough.

Baard Hansen, a self-described “geek and tech freak,” owns 313 apps. “I have a great appetite for apps.”

Hansen is developing an app for his company in Cologne, Germany. He looks for apps that meet his and his family’s needs.

“There are apps for my daughter that she can play with, and there are apps that can show me some great cooking recipes,” he said. “Then there are apps that use the iPhone in a very useful way. I have many Twitter apps, because every one of them has at least one interesting feature, and I can then choose an app that I use most of the time.”

Erik Blythe, who runs a podcast network at RandomChatter.com, has 266 apps.

“My iPhone has become my primary computing device,” Blythe said. “The more I rely upon it, the more I want to make sure I’ve got the best apps.”

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With so many apps available, and the iPhone limited to 180 apps across 11 screens, how does someone with nearly 500 apps decide what to keep on hand?

“Um, I don’t,” said Brooks, a graphic designer in London. “I tend to have a few favorites that remain on the phone (I say a few, but it’s actually about 7 screens worth), and then I chop and change depending on what I need to do. Quite a few apps made a brief appearance and then never returned.”

Blythe has a different view about what makes the cut.

“My iPhone plays many roles,” he explains. “I make sure I have my bases covered with apps for the important roles. With productivity or communication apps it’s simple—if I find myself using it, I keep it. if I don’t use it more than once or twice, I delete it. 

“Reference apps are the sort of thing that you may not need for a long time, but when you do need it, you’re glad it’s there,” he adds. “As for games, I’ve got quick time-wasters, involved games and a few in-between. If a game has replay value, I keep it.”

Is there one app these users can’t live without?

Instapaper Pro,” said Brooks, an avid reader. The app saves web-published articles and formats them to fit the iPhone’s screen. They can be read whether a user is connected to a network or offline.

Facebook,” said Hansen. “I love how they updated the app to be a real Facebook power center.”

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Things,” said Blythe. “Everyone has a different way they handle tasks and productivity, and Things is a perfect fit for me.”

Is there an app they never care to open again?

“Probably Strands,” Brooks said. “It started off as a social network and ended up as a weird log for runners.”

“The worst app I used was from T-Mobile in Germany,” said Hansen of the iPhone’s German wireless carrier. “You could watch television, but not via Wi-Fi. That was a real letdown.”
“I’d have to say Passage,” said Blythe. “It’s a game of sorts, and I understand what the developer was trying to do, but it’s certainly one of my biggest purchase regrets.”

Brooks, who “loves” his iPhone said his compulsion with apps is simple. “The apps really enforce that its actually a mini-computer, not just a cell phone.”

He has no intention of stopping his impulse purchases. What’s 1,000 apps owned if you already have 492?

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Eric Benderoff

Eric Benderoff is the principal of BendableMedia.com, an editorial services firm, and a founding member of the Appolicious content strategy team. His personal technology column for the Chicago Tribune has appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide. He is a regular guest on Chicago's WGN Radio and is a frequent commentator about consumer technology on national TV news programs.

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