Apple named Instagram its "iPhone App of the Year" Down Under... and why that matters


Erick Schonfeld, David Karp of Tumblr, and Kevin Systrom of Instagram during TechCrunch Disrupt New York May 2011 at Pier 94 on May 24, 2011 in New York City.


Joe Corrigan

Australians must be one photogenic nation.

Apple reports that Instagram, an app that lets friends share their photos in a continuous feed after applying various special-effects filters has earned its "iPhone App of the Year" award Down Under.

Of course, Australia's not an island... when it comes to trends in technology.

Google further and you'll find that Apple everywhere has named the photography filter program — which makes it "near-impossible to take a bad shot" —  its "App of the Year."

The annual iTunes Rewind 2011 and App Store Rewind 2011 lists detailing of the top selling apps, music, TV shows, movies and podcasts for the year were released Thursday, and although Angry Birds "ran away with the number one spot on the iPhone and iPad in all categories except top free iPhone app, which was awarded to Facebook," according to TechCrunch, Instagram was Apple's "editorial" pick.

The top-30 lists can all be viewed here in iTunes.

Further to the idea that Australia's consumer patterns reflect global trends in technology, the idea that this nation of 22 million may one day (soon) be leading them is perhaps not so farfetched. 

Known as a nation of early adopters, increased use of smartphones and tablets such as the iPad are set to drive Australia's Internet Protocol (IP) traffic up 41 per cent year on year — "eventually surpassing the average global growth rate of IP traffic," according to Computerworld Magazine.

Citing a report by Cisco, the magazine wrote that from 2010 to 2015, annual global IP traffic will have reached 966 exabytes — a "compound annual growth of 32 percent."

"In the same timeframe, Australia's IP traffic is estimated to have a compound annual growth of 41 per cent."

The magazine quotes Cisco's chief technology officer Down Under, Kevin Bloch, as saying: "We already cross the percentage in terms of smartphones and have a high level of uptake," Bloch said. "A smartphone generates at least 26 times more data than a normal phone does.

"iPads and tablets require 30 times more bandwidth and business people are typically using those tablets outside of the physical business."

Back to that notion of a photogenic nation...

The Australian newspaper quotes an Apple Australia spokeswoman as saying company picked its awards based not only on the number of downloads from the Australian iTunes and App store, but on "an assessment of content."

It's clear Instagram likes what it sees, with chief executive Kevin Systrom reportedly confirming this week that an Android version of the app was being developed.

"We have two people working on Android now," Systrom told attendees of the LeWeb conference in Paris, CNet reported. "I'm excited to be able to see our numbers today nearly double."

According to the Washington Post:

Instagram announced this summer that it had hit 5 million users only eight months after it was introduced. In a company blog post Thursday, the now 14-month-old company said that it has more than 14 million users who post about 400 million images.