The Apple App Store will be a decade old on July 10, 2018. Ahead of the day marking the decade, the company has outlined some of App Store's most significant milestones and testimonials over the past 10 years. The App Store was introduced in 2008 with 500 apps and the company says that, “it ignited a cultural, social and economic phenomenon that changed how people work, play, meet, travel and so much more. Over the past decade, the App Store has created a safe place for users of all ages to get the very best apps and a vibrant app economy for developers of all sizes, from all over the world, to thrive.”
App Store’s role in bringing developers to the fore-front
Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing for Apple says, “In its first decade, the App Store has surpassed all of our wildest expectations — from the innovative apps that developers have dreamed up, to the way customers have made apps part of their daily lives — and this is just the beginning. We could not be more proud of what developers have created and what the next 10 years have in store.” Apple is right in saying that before 2008, the software industry was dominated by a few companies, however, with access to the App Store, anyone who had a knack for programming and developing good apps found a global platform to showcase their ideas and generate revenues in the process.
Apple says that it had user privacy in mind from the beginning, and it has taken care in providing clear guidelines to developers, “thoughtfully curating a safe, trusted app marketplace to ensure the best experience possible for customers around the world to discover and access apps”. This statement by Apple is backed by the fact that some unscrupulous apps show up on Google’s Play Store from time to time, while this rarely happens on the Apple App Store. Apple has stringent parameters in place, which an app needs to adhere to for being published on the App Store.
Helping mobile-first businesses and games thrive
Mobile-First Businesses businesses have also performed well on the App Store. This is bound to happen as people find completing tasks more easier on their phones, like booking flight tickets, taking a cab, making dinner reservations and more. Alongside business-based apps, games have also thrived as new and improved titles on mobile devices are being released. “Games such as Heads Up!, Pokémon Go, HQ and Fortnite have created communal, cultural moments around the world, while new technologies have brought console quality games to mobile, including Vainglory, The Witness and Arena of Valor,” Apple says.
Focus on accessibility
Apple has been diligent when it comes to providing Accessibility for its users. The company not only provides live support for these systems, it also offers these tools to third-party developers so that they can integrate Accessibility features into their apps. Richard Ellenson, developer and CEO of Cerebral Palsy Foundation says, “My son: a bright, independent 20-year-old who has Cerebral Palsy. My son moves about in a wheelchair, but that is simply the place from which his spirit soars. His voice comes from his iPad, he does his homework on iPad, his social life is rooted in the apps on iPad, he navigates his entertainment on iPad, and he has performed a thrilling one-man-show with his iPad. I cannot imagine my son's life without this technological magic.”
Helping coders and building up to an ‘AR Revolution’
Not too long ago, Apple introduced Swift Playgrounds on iPad so that more users can learn how to code. The company hosts its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) every year to empower and educate developers who are working on developing the Apple ecosystem. The company also introduced Everyone Can Code program in 2016. The program promotes writing, learning, and teaching code, and it’s now available to tens of millions of students.
The company has also emphasised the development of VR and AR and this was also seen at this year’s WWDC. In 2017, Apple introduced ARKit 1.0 that had bare-bones functionality for supporting AR and this year, it introduced ARKit 2, which brings new features like shared experiences, persistent AR and more.
Helping improve a user’s productivity, health and wellness, and giving a boost to educational apps
‘With great apps comes great functionalities,’ is what I would like to believe. However, there are thousands of apps on the App Store vying for user’s attention, there are also some which enhance productivity as well. The company says that with the 2010 iPad, users had access to a canvas where they could create and learn. As the device is portable and versatile, it does help users to work from anywhere and apps like Procreate, Lightroom, Microsoft Office 365 and others help in the process.
For those who want to learn something on-the-go, the App Store has over 200,000 educational and reference apps like Explain Everything and The Elements from Touch Press. Also, with the advent of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) some apps transport users to a virtual space for a more immersive learning experience. Some of these apps are Froggipedia, WWF Free Rivers and Boulevard AR. Additionally, with users migrating to mobile devices for viewing movies and TV serials on-the-go, apps like HBO NOW, Hulu, Netflix and others try to make the experience even better.
Apple also made headway into health and fitness with its Apple Watch and HealthKit. There are a myriad of health apps to choose from like Zova, Nike, Lose It!, Dexcom, One Drop, Glow, 10% Happier and more. Apple says that over 500 doctors and medical researchers have used Apple’s ResearchKit and CareKit software tools for clinical studies.
Many apps on the App Store come with in-app purchases (IAPs), which Apple introduced in 2009. With the new feature, paid apps were free to download and use, but with a limited functionality. Users could decide to pay for unlocking other features or they could stick with what they had. The company says that by June 2010, $1 billion was paid out to developers from IAP and paid apps. Subscriptions based apps debuted on the App Store in 2011 and by 2016, they could be found in all 25 of App Store categories like Games, Kids and Health and Fitness.