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Five Years of the App Store: How Apple Really Changed Everything

How do you remember the launch of the original iPhone? For me the iPhone looked like a killer device, up until the announcement that it would only run web apps. That was a complete disaster in my view - I was running Windows Mobile at the time and the variety and quantity of apps available for the platform was a particular reason for me doing so.

Web apps? They weren't going to do the job.

So when Apple launched the iPhone 3G and with it the App Store I was sold. Within days of the UK launch I was rocking an iPhone 3G.

The first week of the App Store was a portent of things to come - the initial choice of 500 or so apps swelled to over a thousand in about a week. The apps were very different to what was available on Windows Mobile and Palm OS at the time though.

Whilst my first purchases was an eBook reader, it was the free apps that I picked up which foretold the direction that the App Store would take. A Guitar Hero clone, a light sabre app and a beer glass simulator. Completely pointless but well worth five minutes of fun.

My friends and colleagues saw these apps running on my iPhone and literally ran to the phone shops to order their own.

And that is the way that the App Store has continued in the main. Yes, there are serious, heavyweight and useful apps by the bucketload but in the main its those fun, free (or very low cost) apps that keep people enjoying their iPhones.

Whilst there are lots of contributing factors to the iPhone's success, above all I think its the App Store which is the most important.

In five years Apple has completely re-written the book for software development and distribution. Apple fan or not, that has to be applauded.

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