5 Years of Retrospect – Apple Apps Store

Today is 10th July, the day when Apple Apps store was first launched back in 2008. While Apple celebrates the 5th Anniversary of its App store by offering free apps to the users, we take this opportunity to look back at the last five years and how it has set pace for development and innovation unmatched vigor and potential to grow.


Apple 5

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The First Year: “That’s one small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind” – Neil Armstrong

All great things have a humble beginning. This phrase aptly describes the rise and rising of the Apple app store which was launched alongside a major iPhone 3G launch. Considering where the apps store stands today, the beginning with a little over 500 applications was indeed modest. Despite a small number of application, some 10 millions downloads were registered in the first week. Since, this was Apples maiden attempt of this sort, some mistakes were made and controversies emerged. For example, there were certain apps which conflicted with the credibility of the Apple brand; secondly some developers complained that they did not get duly paid. Despite these allegations the Apple apps store breezed through into becoming one of the leading market place for application. It did not receive any major stiff competition although Google announced the launch of its app store that year.

The Year two: “Never tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon” – Unknown

After a successful first year, there was still a lot in store for the second year.  The second year of the App store begins with a major announcement that the bygone year had consumer downloading close to 1.5 billion iPhone and iPod touch apps. By September that year the App store registered close to 2 billion apps. The number of apps reached the 85,000 mark and there were over 125,000 developers in the iPhone developers program. This clearly indicates that the development process was receiving a push which was far vigorous than the previous year.   By the end of 2009, Apple apps store was the leading app market in nearly 77 countries.  The number of categories also increased and by the end of year two it was estimated that developers earned revenue close to $1 million. Some also believe that Apple’s own earning was over $ 400 million.

The Third Year: “Certain darkness is needed to see the stars” – Unknown

 The year third in the history of the iStore was a dramatic one. For two years it held on to the monopoly of the app market place. However, it started to receive a stiff competition in the form of Android app market.  Circa 2010 saw a major change in trend where more developers were seen drawn towards the open source Android. While Android app market was still at a very nascent stage with just 20,000 apps to its credit it had laid best plans to grow and bigger. True enough that year post launch of Android 2.2 there was an upsurge in Android app development. Refusing to down to this resurging enemy the Apple app store continued to move as it always did. In June 2010 it introduced a new App Store section which feature free or lite versions of the apps to urge customers to try the app before they get on with buying the app. The same year iOS 4.1 was released which further set pace for development and download of new applications. The biggest landmark of the app market was attained in Jan 2011 when Apple apps store reached the 10 million milestone.

The Year fourth: “Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.” ― Sigmund Freud

The vulnerability of Apple app ecosystem was its closed down policy and its strategy to offer more paid apps than lite version of the same. However, is it lies the strength which led to the development of high quality and useful apps that made Apple the highest revenue grosses between the years 2011-2012.  The revenue of Apple app store was still 4 times higher than the newly christened Google Play. However, Google Play was lugging from behind at a pace which suggested its growth by over 300 %.

The Fifth Year: “Forget all the reasons it won’t work and believe the one reason that it will.”– Unknown

 Today July 10th 2013, Apple apps store successfully completed its 5 years. Although Google’s Android rules the roost when it comes to the sale of Android devices, the app department is still hailed by Apple which shows that Apple Apps revenue is still unbeatable. The monetization prospect of iOS is better which has further encouraged developers to create apps for the Apple iStore. Game section of the platform is the major drawer of revenue, while photo and video apps witnessed a steady growth to become the third largest in iOS download. At the same time Educational has received a major push as well.

Therefore, to sum up our discussion on Apple’s apps store achievement in last five years it is easy to conclude that considering the monetization opportunities that the platform boasts of, the developers will continue choose iOS over Android. Also the all new iOS7 which is scheduled to be available by fall finds its way into the may stream, developers are going to get a new and better direction to develop some of the best apps.  Having said that, it is also imperative to ponder as to when Apple will stop overcasting its dominance. 


Jitin Narang

By Jitin NarangJitin Narang is VP - Alliances at TechAhead Software, a leading Mobile & Web Application Development company which helps brands to reach, connect, and interact with their audience through web and mobile effectively. You can contact him on Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn. Read all articles written by him Reach us for Custom Mobile Applications (iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows) and Web Applications (Open Source, Dot Net,Java ) requirements.