75 billion downloads later, Apple celebrates the App Store's sixth anniversary

Posted:
in iPhone edited July 2014
Six years after Steve Jobs relented and agreed to allow third-party developers native access to the iPhone, the App Store has grown into a cultural phenomenon that connects people, drives innovation, and supports more than a million families around the world.



The App Store is so popular today that it's almost hard to remember that Apple originally launched iPhone without it, initially only supporting builtin apps and web apps accessible via the browser (Facebook and a transit web app, below).

iPhone web apps


When Apple delivered its iPhone Software Development Kit and opened its new App Store to third party native apps, the results blew away existing mobile software designed for platforms like Nokia's Symbian, Palm OS and Microsoft's Windows Mobile.

And while those companies scrambled to open new stores of their own, from Nokia's Ovi to Palm's revamped App Catalog for webOS to Microsoft's Windows Phone Store to BlackBerry World, none achieved similar successes despite far larger installed bases of users.

Apple's closest competitor is Google's Play, which boasts more titles and more users but still trails the App Store in overall quality and desirable, exclusive titles for smartphones. Developers overwhelmingly write for iOS first because Apple's platform offers better development tools, a unified platform of user devices on the same OS release, and far less hardware fragmentation.

App Stores for iPad, Macs


A year and a half after launching, Apple expanded the App Store to support the introduction of its new iPad, resulting in an immediate software market for tablet optimized titles. No other tablet has since developed a similar library of unique software titles.

Later that year, Apple also announced it would expanded the App Store to Macs, which opened in January 2011 with its own app, outside of iTunes.

Apple now uses the Mac App Store to deliver its own system and app updates, and has, like iTunes iOS App Store, added iCloud support for enabling automatic downloads of purchases across a user's devices.

In iOS 8, Apple announced plans to further support Family Sharing, including the ability share purchased apps and to "ask to buy" apps approved by a parent.

App Stores for iPad, Macs

The iTunes iOS App Store now has more than 1.2 million apps--and over the last six years has seen 75 billion downloads--as the company noted at its Worldwide Developer Conference last month.

App Store downloads have generated more than $15 billion paid out to Apple's 9 million registered developers, and the App Store now reaches users in 155 countries.

A report by Morgan Stanley released two months ago indicated App Store revenue is on track to exceed Apple's iTunes Store by the end of this year.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member

    The thing that truly separated the iPhone and made it where it would take years for anyone else to catchup (And they still haven't).

     

    More brilliant than any other feature IMO.

  • Reply 2 of 27
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    I remember my 6th birthday.
    Oh. Wait, no, I don't.
  • Reply 3 of 27
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    Originally Posted by Andysol View Post

     

    The thing that truly separated the iPhone and made it where it would take years for anyone else to catchup (And they still haven't).

     

    More brilliant than any other feature IMO.


     

    Sure, it's easy to mimic iPhone and iPad hardware.  Even Samsung made a pretty good attempt at it.

    But it's nearly impossible to copy a rich, deep, robust ecosystem.  Not quickly, anyway.  It took years for the iTunes ecosystem to evolve.

    Meanwhile, competitors all focused on mimicking Apple hardware (Mac and iPod at first.)  Hoping they could fool consumers.

    They'll never catch up now.  Especially not the fragmentation-stricken competitors.

  • Reply 4 of 27
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    How exactly is Apple celebrating this? I missed it in the article.
  • Reply 5 of 27
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,428member

    I've been playing a bit of that new game which is shown on the top picture in the middle, World of Tanks Blitz. I love those kind of games, and I find it to be pretty good. It's fun to play an online game 7 vs 7, whenever you feel like blasting away at other opponents from all around the world. I'm pretty good at it too. My record so far is killing 6 out of 7 enemy tanks all by myself. Those poor bastards never even knew what hit them. All games start quickly, and you never have to wait long. They obviously must have some good servers, which is not surprising since World of Tanks is huge on desktop. Graphics are very nice, gameplay is good. 

     

    As for the Apple App store, nothing else even comes close to it! 

     

    If anybody is into having the best apps, the latest and newest games, and plenty of other apps, especially business and professional apps that are ONLY available for iOS, then there is simply no other choice than Apple. I know that some people like to give me flack for simply speaking my mind, but I don't give a rats ass about what they think! Android is for amateurs and poor people! Android disgusts me, and so do many of their users. It is truly a race to the bottom, and Android is a cancer to the whole tech world and to innovation. 

     

    More and more console quality and desktop quality games are also being released for iOS, that's awesome! Mobile gaming is a hell of a lot more than just playing some quick game of Angry Birds.

     

    I also have no problems with paying $10-$15-$20 for a really good game, like a port that's done really well from console or desktop. The most that I have spent on one single app so far is probably around $50, for a pro audio app, and it was well worth it.

  • Reply 6 of 27
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    How exactly is Apple celebrating this? I missed it in the article.



    It doesn't seem they are. I can't find anything on Apple.com about it but still a great article nonetheless.

     

    DED/Corrections, I would also add another reason why developers write for iOS first - Greater Revenue. The iOS App Store is by far and away the best platform to develop for to get maximum revenue for your apps. No other "app store" even comes close.

  • Reply 7 of 27
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,354member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    How exactly is Apple celebrating this? I missed it in the article.

    You know, if you look up the word "celebrate" in the Dictionary app on your Mac, you'll notice that the word also means "reach" (birthday, anniversary).

     

    An actual announcement or party isn't required.

     

    Sometimes words have multiple meanings. Dictionaries are good reference tools to learn more about what words mean.

  • Reply 8 of 27
    customtbcustomtb Posts: 336member
    Why is it still called iTunes?
  • Reply 9 of 27
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by CustomTB View Post



    Why is it still called iTunes?



    What should they call it?

  • Reply 10 of 27
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,354member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CustomTB View Post



    Why is it still called iTunes?

    Because that's the name of the desktop application where the iOS apps are sold.

     

    On iOS, it is a separate app aptly called "App Store."

     

    It's worth pointing out that iTunes has significant brand equity.

     

    Regardless of the other things it does (digital media store, podcast subscription, mobile device management tool), iTunes is still a media player. Even if you never connect your Mac to the Internet, you can still rip audio CDs with iTunes and play them back. That was the original function of the software, long before Apple started selling digital content online.

  • Reply 11 of 27
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    mpantone wrote: »
    You know, if you look up the word "celebrate" in the Dictionary app on your Mac, you'll notice that the word also means "reach" (birthday, anniversary).

    An actual announcement or party isn't required.

    Sometimes words have multiple meanings. Dictionaries are good reference tools to learn more about what words mean.
    True though I'm not sure what's special about 6.
  • Reply 12 of 27
    customtbcustomtb Posts: 336member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

     

    Because that's the name of the desktop application where the iOS apps are sold.

     

    On iOS, it is a separate app aptly called "App Store."

     

    It's worth pointing out that iTunes has significant brand equity.


     

    I get the OSX Application and brand equity, but its morphed into so much more than music it seems silly to still call it iTunes.  Movies, TV, Apps (which are expected to pass music), books, podcasts, iTunes U, tidily winks, whatchamacallits... 

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post

     



    What should they call it?

     


     

    Above my pay grade. Maybe the  "iTunes Movie TV App and More Store" LOL

  • Reply 13 of 27
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,782member

    Not bad for a doomed company. 

  • Reply 14 of 27
    theothergeofftheothergeoff Posts: 2,081member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     

    Not bad for a doomed company. 


    indeed. How many businesses can spin up (as an begrudgingly conceived afterthought) and develop into a multi-billion dollar revenue stream in 6 years.   

     

    Only a Doomed company can fail so badly at failing... This is like Viagra or Post-It Notes...  Long term success built upon a failed idea/plan.

  • Reply 15 of 27
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CustomTB View Post



    Why is it still called iTunes?

     

    Because they call the tune and I pay the piper.

  • Reply 16 of 27
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,413member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post



    I remember my 6th birthday.

    Oh. Wait, no, I don't.

    Not actually had it yet then?

     

    But as far as the "anniversary", to answer someone else, it isn't the "six", it's the "75"million.

    What an incredible accomplishment, for both Apple and the developers who've flocked to the flag - 

    Bravo!

  • Reply 17 of 27
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,354member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post





    True though I'm not sure what's special about 6.

    Well, it's one more than five.

     

    It's not a "clean" number like 5, 10 or 20, but it's not like it's meaningless.

     

    Would you have liked it if your parents told you as a little kid, "Hey, we're not going to celebrate your sixth birthday because it's not very important"?

     

    ;)

  • Reply 18 of 27
    danielswdanielsw Posts: 905member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

     

    You know, if you look up the word "celebrate" in the Dictionary app on your Mac, you'll notice that the word also means "reach" (birthday, anniversary).

     

    An actual announcement or party isn't required.

     

    Sometimes words have multiple meanings. Dictionaries are good reference tools to learn more about what words mean.


    Well put!

  • Reply 19 of 27
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,064member
    Apple should expand permissions to Safari notifications for married couples, eg: "Bill wants to get a subscription to 'big bosomed coeds on heat', Allow, Review, Send electric shock next time he picks up his iPhone"
  • Reply 20 of 27
    danielswdanielsw Posts: 905member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post





    True though I'm not sure what's special about 6.

    It's just a time marker. There are countless anniversaries for all sorts of things.

     

    There are also longer and shorter ones. Young lovers often celebrate weeks and months of their relationship. Longer periods tend to be more significant, the longer they are.

     

    But this iTunes/App Store anniversary is significant both because it's still so young, because it's SIX years old, AND because over 75 Billion apps have been downloaded in that short of time.

     

    Few other activities or entities can boast of such statistics.

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