For Flipboard, making the move to the smaller screen of the iPhone seems to have been a risk well worth taking; the personalized news delivery service has already added 1 million new users since the iPhone app launched (via TechCrunch). Since its launch in July of 2010, the iPad app had accumulated over 4 million users, so 1 million in a single week is a significant quickening of pace — a trend that other iOS news and periodical app publishers would do well to note.
Engagement is also up significantly thanks to the iPhone version. In terms of usage, Flipboard went from around 650 million “flips” (page turns in the Flipboard app) per month to a pace of about 2 billion per month post-iPhone launch. The iPhone version requires users to flip more often to view the same amount of content, but that’s still a remarkable improvement.
Obviously, this is great news for Flipboard’s reach, but it has implications for the larger iPad app market, too. Specifically, branching out may be a good idea even for apps which traditionally depend on the larger screen of the iPad to deliver their content.
Flipboard isn’t the only app out there branching out from iPad roots to iPhone implementations. News app and competitor Zite also released an iPhone-formatted incarnation last week, and streaming video apps like those for networks CityTV and Global in Canada recently introduced updates to their apps that make them universal, or usable across any iOS devices.
It’s a move that makes sense for companies who want to increase the adoption rate of their software product. Apple has previously stated that there were as many as 100 million iPhone and iPod touch users worldwide; that’s more than double Apple’s total iPad sales to date, let alone the device’s active users. It makes sense that iPhone apps reach a broader potential audience as a result.
Flipboard’s success is not just the result of repackaging an iPad app for a smaller screen. Instead, the app’s designers re-imagined it in a way that totally makes sense for the iPhone. That’s no small feat for an app like Flipboard, that takes its cues from magazines and definitely benefits from more available screen real estate. If publishers like those offering apps through Apple’s Newsstand want to reap the benefits of also offering iPhone products, they have to likewise bring a tailored experience, instead of just a shoehorned app that leaves you missing the iPad. Sadly that’s exactly how I’d describe many current iPhone Newsstand titles.