Apples Sherlocking Impact: Revenue and Growth of Third-Party Apps at Risk

By Mehek Jun 19, 2024 #Apple #Sherlocking
Apple's 'Sherlocking' Impact

Apple’s “Sherlocking” Practice Takes a Toll on Third-Party Apps

Apple’s habit of incorporating ideas from third-party apps into its own software and operating systems has become increasingly common, a practice known as “sherlocking.” While this may benefit consumers by providing built-in functionality, it can have significant consequences for the developers of those third-party apps.

Revenue and Download Impact

According to a report by app intelligence firm Appfigures, Apple’s iOS 18 update is expected to adversely affect apps that currently generate an estimated $393 million in revenue and have been downloaded approximately 58 million times in the past year.

Affected Genres

Appfigures’ analysis reveals several genres that have been particularly affected by Apple’s sherlocking:

  • Trail Apps: Estimated revenue of $307 million, 78% of potential sherlocked revenue.
  • Grammar Helpers: Revenue of $35.7 million.
  • Math Helpers: Revenue of $23.4 million.
  • Password Managers: Revenue of $20.3 million.
  • Custom Emoji Makers: Revenue of $7 million.

Growth Rates

Many of these app genres were experiencing significant growth prior to Apple’s sherlocking:

  • Math solvers: 43% year-over-year revenue growth.
  • Grammar helpers: 40% year-over-year revenue growth.
  • Password managers: 38% year-over-year revenue growth.
  • Trail apps: 28% year-over-year revenue growth.

Challenges for Third-Party Developers

Apple’s sherlocking practice poses several challenges for third-party developers:

  • Competition: Apple’s built-in features compete directly with third-party offerings.
  • Casual Users: Casual users may be satisfied with Apple’s “good enough” solutions.
  • Innovation: Developers may be hesitant to invest in innovation if their ideas could be sherlocked.

Strategies for Survival

Despite these challenges, third-party developers can take steps to mitigate the impact of sherlocking:

  • Differentiation: Offer features and functionality beyond what Apple provides.
  • User Engagement: Build a loyal user base that values the unique benefits of your app.
  • Alternative Distribution: Explore new ways to reach users, such as through Apple’s improved Siri.

While Apple’s sherlocking practice has raised concerns about competition and fairness, it also highlights the importance of innovation and adaptability in the mobile app market. Developers who can navigate these challenges and continue to provide valuable and differentiated experiences for users will ultimately thrive in the face of sherlocking.

By Mehek

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