10 Years of the Apple App Store

It's the 10th anniversary of one of the greatest digital developments, Apple’s App Store and whichever way you look at it, 10 years in the tech industry is a long time.

Let’s be clear, Apple wasn’t the first to create a mobile application store allowing developers to market their apps directly to users – that honour was bestowed to NTT DoCoMo with the i-mode store. However, in true Apple style, they wrapped the content and functionality in a gloriously simple and intuitive experience, ensuring that even your grandparents could easily find and download whichever apps they needed.

As someone who can remember life before the App Store, I really don't think we can understate the impact and effect its launch has had on the digital world and the multiple layers of impact it has had on our digital lives.

On a personal level, the amount of utility we have available at our fingertips is quite simply staggering. We have access to millions of applications, all with their own unique value propositions, desperately trying to solve our day to day problems. Before the App Store, I didn’t realise I needed an app to change the alarm tone on my phone so I wake up in a better mood, but hey, apparently I do and there’s an app that can help me with that.

Image courtesy of www.apple.com/uk/ios/app-store/

As a die-hard Nintendo fanboy, even I have to admit that the king of handheld gaming is now driven by mobile devices and apps. Games like Flappy Bird and Monument Valley have shown that the App Store is a direct route to casual gamers on the go, negating the need for dedicated hardware. As a clear sign of the rise of mobile gaming, let’s remember that the creator of Flappy Bird pulled the first incarnation of the app as he felt it was having a negative impact on mankind due to the millions of hours being wasted on his simple game. He was earning more than $50,000 a day in revenue but decided it was for the greater good to take his game down. What a guy.

Education has felt the impact of the App Store, with apps like Book Creator truly fostering creativity within the classroom and supporting teachers and parents alike.

Many apps with socially positive drivers and goals now have a platform to flourish and genuinely improve the lives and communities of users around the globe.

Looking outside the mobile world, there are many industries that have been disrupted and driven forward by the advent of the App Store. For example, there is no doubt that personal travel planning and experience have significantly been driven forward by the multitude of apps available. Whether or not you’re a fan of Uber, you can’t deny that the industry is being shaken up for better and worse by the ease of access to Uber’s app through the App Store. 

Lightwave app created by 383

Complete ecosystems of products and services have been created and powered by the App Store revolution, with a clear example being the smart home revolution taking place. A simple thought experiment to prove this is to ask, “Where would Hive/Tado/Hue/Lightwave be if the App Store had never existed?”.  The simple answer: they probably wouldn’t have the foothold and traction into the market they currently enjoy and the jingle, “Control your home from your phone by a series of predefined text messages or our responsive website” really doesn’t have the same ring to it. 

Happy 10th birthday Apple App Store! You’ll probably never understand the billions of man-hours you’ve wasted from the human race, or how many Tinder babies you’ve created along the way. You’ve genuinely changed mobile world for the better and generated billions of dollars of revenue to developers all over the world, and I can’t wait for the next 10 years to see what you’ll bring…. just don’t turn into a moody teenager, OK?