In the three years since Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) first opened its App Store, consumers have now downloaded more than 15 billion applications to iOS devices, with consumers now installing about 1 billion iOS apps each month. The average iOS device user will download 83 applications in 2011, up from 51 downloads in 2010--a 61 percent year-over-year increase--according to a report issued earlier this month by Piper Jaffray senior research analyst Gene Munster. At the current pace, iOS users will download 94 apps during the 2012 calendar year, Munster adds.
Mobile apps have emerged as an essential element of everyday life with astonishing speed. Eighty-three percent of self-reported daily mobile application users even claim they're "addicted" to apps according to a recent consumer survey conducted by MTV Networks--one respondent even went so far as to say "Apps are like Xanax in a phone." Ninety-one percent of daily users say mobile apps expose them to new things, 87 percent say apps let them have fun no matter where they are or what they're doing, 77 percent rely on apps as their personal assistant, 75 percent say apps give them time to relax and 70 percent believe apps make the rest of life better. And you ain't seen nothin' yet: Research firm IDC forecasts mobile app downloads are on pace to surge from 10.7 billion in 2010 to 182.7 billion in 2015.
Of course, mobile apps will remain a universal obsession only as long as they continue to captivate, surprise and entertain consumers. Fortunately, the app ecosystem shows no signs of slowing up: Innovative and immersive mobile experiences are entering app stores every day. Each month, FierceMobileContent will look at the best and brightest, spotlighting the new apps that you need to download to your smartphone ASAP. Here they are--the best mobile apps of July 2011.--Jason