How Apple’s App Store kick-started a Cultural Revolution

As Apple’s App Store turns 10, it has not only influenced how has the platform changed the meaning of acquiring mobile applications?

How Apple's App Store kick-started a Cultural Revolution
10 years of Apple App Store

If you own a smartphone, you have surely been overwhelmed by the list of potential applications that are available on an operating system’s indigenous app store. Segregated into various categories, we have browsed through most of them since we received our first ‘smart’ device. The app stores for Android and Microsoft users called Google Play and Microsoft Store, respectively, would not have come into existence if it wasn’t for Apple’s App Store. The first of its kind, Apple’s App Store specialized in providing iPhone users with a platform to download other applications that custom suited their needs and preferences. As the App Store turned 10 years this week, it has cemented its legacy by becoming a significant aspect of the ‘smartphone revolution’.

Apple first introduced the App Store on July 10, 2008, along with the launch of iPhone 3G. The App Store initially contained just 500 applications, mostly from well-known developers. Within a week, the number of downloaded apps in the App Store reached over 10 million. It was an indication, that the App Store launched the perfect platform for the beginning of something new and revolutionary. Now, 10 years later, the App Store contains over 2 million mobile applications. More than 500 million people across 155 countries visit it every day, browsing through the never-ending list of applications to make their lives easier and faster. The App Store has, indeed, become a social and cultural phenomenon as the years have progressed. It has shaped how we interact and communicate not just with each other but also with the world. One can argue that it’s the App stores that have made smartphones into ‘smart’ phones. Without a designated place to download applications, a smartphone would simply be a hi-tech mobile phone with a camera.

The App Store has also resulted in existing businesses to take a new avenue towards their growth. Moreover, the App store has opened doors for numerous developers and start-ups across the world, to portray their product on a global platform. The rise of Instagram and Uber could only be attested to the App Store, without which nobody would have ever heard of them in the first place. Mobile video has turned into a key communication method due to the advent of numerous apps facilitating it on the App Store. The rating system assigned to each app was a subjective measure to determine their quality and functionality, as well as to rank them above one another. Today, the App store has propelled new industries, which uses the phone’s other features like location, camera, wallet, and contact list to make their app customized to a user’s preference.

In addition to these, there are numerous other key factors that App Store has taken that has resulted in the monetary growth of businesses. The option of ‘in-app purchases’ allows users to first test the waters of an app before engaging to buy all of its features. This brilliant feature has boosted the sale of paid apps, as they usually provide a free version of their app as well. Invariably, for all the possibilities that the app had allowed, it has also resulted in a dark side. Several advocacy groups have called out several apps on the App Store to be specifically engineered to capture our attention, which often results to our detriment. As App store faces criticism of being a part of the system designed to addict us, it has recently made a decision to add new tools to the iPhone to track and control the usage of time-consuming apps.

One cannot argue that the Apple App store has transformed our lives and has shaped the course of businesses worldwide by providing them a common platform to launch on. Current Apple CEO, Tim Cook, rightfully celebrated the event on a tweet, stating: “Ten years ago, the App Store started a revolution that has changed our world. For hundreds of millions of people, in ways too many to count, life is better because “There’s an app for that!” Happy 10th birthday”.