Ah, App Store… it seems like just yesterday when we first saw your shining face crest the horizon of the tech world. Today, four years later, you have revolutionized the concept of the mobile ecosystem and entrenched yourself as the one to beat. Well-played, App Store. Well-played indeed.
On July 4, 2008, Apple launched the iPhone App Store (which later became the iOS App Store) and has been evolving it ever since. Similar concepts have been adopted by all the major players, including Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook, each leaving behind whatever app market concept they used previously, if they even had one, and yet not one has seen comparable success. 600,000 apps are now available from over 200,000 developers, covering two operating systems (iOS and OS X) and serves every device Apple currently makes.
It seems like something of a distant memory now, but I feel the greatest accomplishment of the App Store was giving customers an option for software that didn’t include going through the carrier deck. There was a time in the mid-00’s when, if you wanted to play a crappy 8-bit game, you had to navigate through the nightmare of whatever interface your carrier cello-taped together. Then, you had to pay insane prices for inferior ripoffs ($5 for Pac Man?). Lastly, they charged you connection fees for the time you spent browsing. Every time someone complains about the App Store UI, I refer them to the 2006 Nokia experience to shut them up.
The age of being charged data fees for shopping a poor selection of terrible software so you can buy it at exorbitant prices is over. Thanks to Apple, no mobile customer will ever put up with that again.