Today marks the third anniversary of the launch of the (iPhone) App Store which launched on July 10, 2008. It launched simultaneously with what was then called the iPhone OS 2.0 software (now dubbed iOS 2.0) and was subsequently followed by the release of the iPhone 3G the next day, which came with iOS 2.0 and thus the App Store pre-installed.
The availability of third-party applications and an 'App Store' on the iPhone was certainly one of the most demanded features of the iPhone after it was revealed and launched in 2007. Whilst it hasn’t been revealed when exactly Apple decided to open up the iPhone to third-party apps (or if they had always planned for it), Steve Jobs was quoted in the New York Times shortly after revealing the iPhone in January 2007, as saying:
We define everything that is on the phone. You don’t want your phone to be like a PC. The last thing you want is to have loaded three apps on your phone and then you go to make a call and it doesn’t work anymore. These are more like iPods than they are like computers.
Since the launch of App Store, it has become one of the defining successes for the iPhone and Apple more broadly – becoming a cornerstone feature being used in a number of advertising campaigns. Most notable is the ‘There’s an App for that’ ad campaign which highlighted the wide array of apps available to consumers (jump the break to relive the first of those).
Over the past few months, the App Store has hit a number of milestones that reveals how successful it has been over the past three years. Just in the past week, Apple revealed that there had been 15 billion apps downloaded from the App Store. Recently it was also revealed that there are now over 500,000 apps available in the App Store (100,000 of which are iPad apps) – virtually a hundred-fold increase from the 500 apps that were available at the launch of the App Store in July of 2008. Apple has also been very keen to note at their WWDC conferences that they are paying out significant amounts of money to developers; at last count it was over $2.5 billion. The question is, where will the App Store be in a year from now, let-alone another three years? The pace at which it has grown is truly mind-boggling.