Michael Wolf at GigaOm has put together an interesting report in which he believes that the tablet app market will grow to $8 billion annually by 2015. That's a far cry from the $183 million tablet app market he predicts for 2010. Wolf believes that downloads of paid apps will be significantly higher for tablets than for smartphones. In 2011, he believes 179 million paid apps will be downloaded. By 2013 he expects that number will reach 630 million. He also believes that downloads of tablet apps (paid, free, and ad-supported) will reach 12 billion by 2015, up from 272 million in 2010.
Wolf is quick to point out that that $8 billion app market is only for paid apps on tablets -- he doesn't include apps that monetize in different ways like advertising, paid content subscriptions, or content downloads. While Wolf sees Apple leading the tablet market he also sees Microsoft and Google sharing in that market and believes that by 2015 the tablet market will be a 43-million-unit-per-year industry. With all the hype surrounding the iPad and tablets in general, the media's constant use of the phrase "gold rush" to describe the coming iPad app market seem increasingly spot on.