Apple's App Store opened online five years ago Wednesday, dramatically changing the way consumers get their software.
It seems like there is an application for nearly everything: you can check the weather, look up directions, keep your kids (and yourself) entertained with games, auction furniture, buy vacation tickets…the possibilities are endless.
But think back just five years ago, before 55 percent of all cellphone owners had smartphones, to a time when “app” wasn’t even in the vernacular.
When Steve Jobs first announced the iPhone before its June 2007 release, he said that the device would “reinvent the phone.” The first generation iPhone had a touchscreen with a handful of built-in applications, slightly reminiscent of a PalmPilot, but better. The thought of resizing photos and carrying on two multiple SMS conversations was cutting edge.
Nearly a year after the iPhone was introduced, Apple shifted the smartphone market again when it launched the App Store, and gave iPhone users access to 500 apps made by third-party software developers. Approximately 10 million apps were downloaded in the store’s first 4 days. App Store customers have now downloaded over 50 billion apps from Apple's store.
Whereas acquiring new software used to involve pesky packages and CDs, the App Store reduced software purchase to a click.