Apple's bet on iMessage apps has hit a wall

Imessage sticker commercial vomit stickerAppleApple’s newest commercial highlights sticker packs in iMessage.

Apple users and developers appear to be losing interest in apps that integrate with iMessage, according to a new report from app analytics firm Sensor Tower.

According to the report, there are 5,000 apps that work with iMessage, not including standalone sticker packs. That’s about the same number of iPhone apps available after the first year of the App Store.

However, month-over-month growth has slowed significantly, the report says, down to 9% from January to February, compared to 18% from December to January and 65% the month before that.

Apple launched iMessage apps in iOS 10, the latest version of the iPhone and iPad operating system that came out last fall. With iMessage apps, you don’t have to leave iMessage and boot up a separate app. For example, you can send money to the person you’re texting using Square or make a restaurant reservation using OpenTable.

Sensor Tower’s report measures the first six months of iMessage app growth. The firm also broke down iMessage apps by category. iMessage games are by far the most popular category.

Apple made a big deal out of iMessage apps when it introduced them along with iOS 10 at its annual WWDC conference last year. iMessage got a huge overhaul in iOS 10, with new ways to share photos, add stickers, and send animations or emojis.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment on the report.

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