drops some big iPhone app stats; I wonder where all this is heading.

They appeared every mile or so as I drove down the 101 yesterday, visions of contentment bathed in clean light.

iPad ads. Tons of them.

So, so appealing.

And while I do believe the iPad marks the beginning of a shift in how we read, write, listen, watch and play on the web, there’s one thing that’s not so appealing: The flood of real estate iPad apps soon to come.

I know, what a buzz-kill! But here’s where I am coming from:

First of all, you can make a good case that the real estate iPhone app category is pretty much a settled matter at this point. Zillow surpassed a million downloads a couple months ago. And consider these numbers from today rergarding their iPhone app:

  • 1 million downloads in five months
  • The average user connects twice daily
  • The average minutes per session is over 16 minutes

With these apps and a handful of other well done entrants, is there a need for every brokerage in America to develop their own (and likely far less delightful) app?

Probably not.

And if you really think about it, has the amount of value created by the hundreds of real estate iPhone apps been commensurate to the hype surrounding their launch?

Probably not.

And this is for the iPhone, a form factor suited to the tightly spun balls of functionality you get with apps.

The iPad on the other hand…well, that’s a different thing. As Joel has pointed out, the killer app on the iPad is Safari. It is the possibilities unlocked by bringing the touchscreen to a full-fledged (well, not so full if you dig Flash) web experience that’s exciting.

So while the Zillow iPad app is pretty darn awesome, there are likely to be even fewer real estate winners here than there have been on the iPhone. But you can bet we are going to see a bunch of real estate iPad apps churned out. And most of them won’t be worth the dollars spent putting the press release announcing their existence on the wire.

Consider this app announced yesterday by Britain’s It’s a bit of interface candy that’s fun to play with but probably not something that’s going impact home search materially.

Get ready for more of this. Lots more.

Web first

Should you build an iPad app?


But for most, my gut is it might be better to take a hard look at how your website performs on the iPad first and how you might optimize it for a very near future where people are swiping, pinching and tapping your site rather than clicking on it. It’s coming up in our client work, and it’s a good conversation to get going in your organization too.