Apart from its profound role in our daily lives in the last five years, the App Store has also helped create a new multi-billion dollar app industry.
Pacific Rim. This geeky blockbuster where giant robots batter giant monster’s heads with huge ships put a big grin on my face last Saturday. The last time I had such a huge grin on my face was the same Saturday exactly five years ago when I saw The Dark Knight. The similarity between the two Saturdays ends at that grin. Some of the most important things in my life today, Instagram, Tweetdeck, Pocket, Flipboard, Snapjoy, Dropbox, Evernote and a lot more did not exist five years ago. All these, in fact, 250,000 apps, app stores/markets for Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 and Mac OSX owe their existence to the creation, five years ago, of the App Store for the iPhone.
A six-year-old kid who obsessively plays Angry Birds day and night may find it hard to believe that five years ago there was no App Store, and there was no concept of buying games for 99 cents a pop for your phone. Since its inception, the App Store has profound effect on everything from enterprise, entertainment, publishing, media to government and medicine. It has helped create a new multi-billion dollar app industry which is expected to make $12-17 billion this year alone. It has facilitated the creation of new companies from scratch like Instagram. By changing the dynamics of software distribution, it has made it easier for the common man to buy and find software. The now-famous catchy phrase, ‘There is an app for that’, has indeed come true in these five years and it looks like there is an app for everything and anything. Read news, find directions, pay a bill, make notes, draw a painting, play a game, book a flight, edit a movie, write a diary, lose weight, control a toy helicopter, find a taxi, nowadays whatever you do there is probably a very good app for that which will let you do chores with a speed and efficiency that you could only dream about five years ago.
To show how integral a part of our lives that apps have become, eBay recently conducted a study using 200 participants. When asked to survive for four days without apps, one third of the participants couldn’t make it through the challenge. Some of them were so distressed that their responses ranged from ‘honestly, I felt naked and unprotected’, to ‘I felt so LOST for those 4 days of disconnect, that once using them again I was truly at peace’. In fact, all 55 per cent of the participants felt happier when given their apps back. Forty per cent said they are more productive, 39 per cent reported being calmer and 32 per cent said they felt less frustrated. The study concluded with finding that on average a participant saved 30 minutes in their daily activities by using apps.
The social change that the app store has brought about in the last five years has been enormous. Some critics feel the proliferation of games like Angry Birds which are useful as time fillers are reducing societal interactions. At the same time some argue that apps like WhatsApp and WeChat are allowing us to interact more with the people that we care about. The biggest change that the App Store has brought about could be summed up in Evernote CEO’s words to the tech blog The Verge ‘Overnight, the world has changed to a meritocracy, which is an astonishing change’ as it gives a 10-year-old in Mumbai and a Java Developer in New York the same access to hundreds of millions of customers by making sure that all you need to succeed is a good idea.
App to you
■ Since its inception, the App Store has impacted everything from enterprise, entertainment, publishing, media to government and medicine.
■ Thanks to the App Store, a new industry is expected to make $12-17 bn this year.
■ By changing the dynamics of software distribution, it has made it easier for the common man to buy and find software.