Next Tuesday, July 10, 2018 marks the ten year anniversary of the App Store. Introduced back in 2008 with just 500 apps, the App Store ignited a huge phenomenon that even Apple likely wasn’t expecting.
In a press release from the company, Apple has outlined the App Store’s largest and most exciting milestones over the years.
Apple SVP of Worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller said:
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.
The App Store allowed developers, whether a one-person development team or large AAA studios to create, develop, and distribute applications that would later be accessed by hundreds of thousands, if not millions of users around the world. Today, the App Store is accessed by 1 billion users.
Of course, Apple also had privacy in mind back then as well.
Protecting user privacy is paramount in the Apple ecosystem, so from the beginning, Apple has taken great care in providing clear guidelines to developers and thoughtfully curating a safe, trusted app marketplace to ensure the best experience possible for customers around the world to discover and access apps.
The App Store would’ve never succeeded without Apple’s vertical integration strategy. The continuous hardware and software updates from Apple have made iOS app developers want to make software that’s continually evolving. Over the years, we’ve seen additions such as cameras, Apple Pay, and GPS, letting developers create more and more powerful apps.
One particular category of apps that has exploded, and continues to break boundaries as time goes on is games. As more and more games are being developed, both users and developers are seeing the true potential of Apple’s platform. With Apple’s cutting edge A-series chips, combined with the powerful tools provided by iOS, games are continuously getting closer to not only console-level graphics, but also desktop.
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, delivering an unparalleled gaming experience to over 1 billion customers.
In more recent years, we’ve seen a move from one-time app purchases to a new way of supporting developers: with in-app purchases and subscriptions.
With the introduction of in-app purchase (IAP) in 2009, customers could download an app and then pay to unlock different levels and functionality, allowing more people to experience new apps before committing to buying them. By June 2010, $1 billion would be paid out to developers from IAP and paid apps.
In 2011, the App Store started supporting subscription apps, and by 2016, had expanded support to all 25 of its categories, including Games, Kids and Health and Fitness. Over 28,000 iOS apps now offer subscriptions, including Netflix, iQiYi, Tinder, LinkedIn, Sing! By Smule, Headspace and Dropbox, making it easy for millions of new customers to instantly discover and sign up for or unsubscribe from these services. Subscriptions are up 95 percent from last year, and as of June 2018, developers have earned over $100 billion from the App Store.
Speaking of subscriptions, the trend to move away from traditional media into digital, streaming services has become a huge hit. Companies such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and HBO have been widely popular, and the App Store can partially be thanked for that. More than ever, users are now experiencing entertainment on mobile devices rather than on their TVs or in theaters.
One debatable market that Apple is still working on is in productivity and education on iOS, specifically on the iPad. While the Mac is still the prime place for getting work done, Apple has shown us over the past few years that it wants to take both productivity and education seriously on iOS, and one way of doing so is through the App Store. With third-party developers working hard to build apps for this sector, educators are seeing great results as more iPads are now being given to students in the classroom.
Today, customers can enjoy more than 1.3 million apps designed specifically for iPad, including Procreate, Lightroom, Microsoft Office 365 and Prêt-à-Template — which allow for creativity on the go, beyond office or studio walls, or wherever inspiration may strike.
One of the strongest points of Apple Watch is its fitness-first approach. Speaking for myself, Apple Watch has inspired me to live a healthier life, with apps such as Activity, and integration with HealthKit, developers are able to give users the information they need to stay healthy, or give motivation to live a better, healthier life.
More than 500 doctors and medical researchers have used Apple’s ResearchKit and CareKit software tools for clinical studies involving 3 million participants on conditions ranging from autism and Parkinson’s disease to post-surgical at-home rehabilitation and physical therapy. Thanks to these innovative tools, customers are increasingly able to use iOS and Apple Watch apps to monitor their overall health and well-being.
One area Apple is consistently praised is Accessibility. Apple’s commitment to Accessibility makes it the go-to platform for that community. Not only is it supported on the system live, but Apple also offers these tools to third-party developers to put in their apps, giving users the ability to experience iOS apps without compromise.
With the introduction of Swift Playgrounds on iPad not too long ago, it’s clear that Apple wants to empower the next generation of coders and programmers. The company strongly believes that programming will become an essential part in every day life.
Apple introduced the Everyone Can Code program in 2016 to encourage learning, writing and teaching code, and today it is available to tens of millions of students around the world who can learn code, problem solve and create apps that will transform the future. Also in 2016, Apple launched Swift Playgrounds, an innovative iPad app that brings real coding concepts to life with an interactive interface for students of all ages and beginners to explore working with Apple’s Swift coding language.
Lastly, Apple put a stronger focus on the App Store last year. First introduced in iOS 11, now coming to macOS Mojave this fall, Apple is making its first major steps in creating a more rich, streamlined, and enjoyable App Store experience. With real humans curating and reviewing applications, Apple is building on its initial foundation for the store, while also creating ways to better engage its users.
One of the pillars that is very much still in its infancy stage is Augmented Reality (AR). Apple is building a platform to not only create but also experience AR through its App Store. With its leverage, Apple has the potential to empower billions of users around the world to experience the next generation of AR.
In related news, we recently took a look at the all-time most popular iOS apps since the App Store was launched.
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