The iPad Retina display -- combined with Apple's more liberal app submission policy -- have caused the file sizes of leading iOS applications to grow substantially, especially in the video games category.
According to the latest market study by ABI Research, the global average app size across all categories was 23 megabytes in September 2012, that's 16 percent more than in March.
For the most popular app category, games, the average size was 60 megabytes, meaning a six-month increase of 42 percent. Meanwhile, the size of leading android apps for a similar sample was around six mega bytes in September -- that's representing an increase of 10 percent against March.
The games, however, nearly quadrupled to over 40 MBs in reported size, as Google also revamped its own submission policies.
The data confirms two important points. "First, Apple's decision in March to increase the maximum size of 3G/4G-downloadable apps from 20MBs to 50MBs has clearly had an unleashing effect on developers, said Aapo Markkanen, senior analyst at ABI Research.
Their games can now be more complex and graphically polished, while still being able to benefit from the instant gratification of cellular downloads. And second, Google's move to start hosting files of up to 4GBs on Google Play has been similarly well-received among the developer community.
Android's old way of doing things was cumbersome for game developers and their customers alike, but there is evidence that this change, along with certain other improvements, is indeed making it a more credible gaming platform.
The flipside of the increasing file-sizes is that the internal storage of smartphones and tablets is becoming a scarcer resource, as the device capabilities struggle to keep up with the requirements of apps and mobile content.
Markkanen added, "Especially the consumers with 16GB devices are likely to become more conscious about what apps to keep and what to uninstall, so the developer bar to impress will be getting even higher than it is now. This could also speed up the adoption of the mobile cloud as a storage remedy quite significantly."