Apple App Store went live with a paltry 500 apps on 10 July 2008, almost one-and-half years after the first generation iPhone launch and since then, it has grown into a vast ecosystem with millions of users downloading apps.
Apple veteran Phil Schiller is astonished at the stupendous growth of the App Store and how it has surpassed the company's expectation within just a decade and is optimistic of its future prospects. "From the innovative apps that developers have dreamed up, to the way customers have made apps part of their daily lives — and this is just the beginning. We could not be more proud of what developers have created and what the next 10 years have in store," Schiller added.
What makes the Apple App Store so attractive to consumers and developers?
Apple, a pioneer, reinvented the mobile phone with the touch-screen on the iPhone (first generation) and with the App Store, it offers the best platform for both the app developers and the consumers.
It offers the best compensation to developers for their work and in return, it motivates them to create rich user-experience for the iPhone, iPads and the Watch owners.
In 2017, Apple app developers earned a whopping $26.8 billion in revenue and the company separately made $11.6 billion business in the App Store. In 2018, these numbers are expected to grow by several notches.
Also, several people are not aware that most social media apps such as Snapchat and others, which come with camera support, take best quality photos and offer better tools on iPhones and iPads compared to Android devices. It is believed that app developers manage writing codes easily for iPhones and iPads, as there is a limited number of versions and all come with top-notch hardware.
But, Android phones come with several thousand versions with different camera specs, processor, screen size and several other variations. This requires heavy investment from the app developers and it's a hard task to develop numerous versions of the same app. We have come to understand some apps just take screen-shot of the camera's viewfinder without processing image on the Android phone and hence why some images posted via the latter on social media sites tend to be low quality compared to iPhones. There are similar cases with other genres of apps between iOS and Android.
Another most important factor, that gives Apple App store edge over Google Play store is the security. Most often than not, the latter, despite keeping claiming to have stringent security measure, apps with malicious code still be able to creep into the Play store.
On the other hand, there are very fewer cases of malware in the iOS ecosystem. The structure of the iOS and Safari browser is so secure, even if the user is unknowingly misdirected to a fake website, there is very low chance of the device getting infected by a malware.
Apple App Store story in India
With America, Europe and China, among other developed markets reaching close to saturation in terms of penetration of smartphones, India is just beginning to migrate to the world of the touch-screen. More than fifty per cent of the 1.3 billion of people are still using a keypad-based feature phone and with the arrival of 4G service by Reliance Jio, it has opened up price war among telecom players resulting in dirt-cheap data tariffs. This apparently is attracting millions of users to migrate to touch-screen phones. India is now the second only to China in terms of smartphone usage; it is the world's fastest growing market and is consistently registering a double-digit year-on-year growth.
This is apparently why mobile phone makers consider India as next big revenue generator. And Apple knows it too. The Cupertino-based company, in collaboration with Wistron Corp, is assembling iPhone SE and iPhone 6S in Bengaluru specifically for the Indian market.
It has also set up an office to develop Maps for iPhones and iPads in Hyderabad and in Bengaluru, it has opened App Accelerator, which is a resourceful hub for budding iOS coders.
If Apple succeeds in building a good ecosystem of region-specific apps for India, it will definitely boost the sale of iPhones and iPads.
Any app developer can fix an appointment online for App Accelerator and once confirmed they will be given access to several tools and also have a face-to-face expert consultation on how to refine their application. It is also coming up with a new curriculum to help them monetize their app for the hard work they put into developing the app.
Already, several Indian app developers have made big strides in their career. One such shining example is the Ahmedabad-based education app firm, Designmate.
With the help of Apple experts and AR (Augmented Reality) Kit, they were able to make the feature-rich Froggipedia app for iPads and iPhones.
Froggipedia's interface is very user-friendly and intuitive. With help of Apple Pencil (finger touch also supported), students can do a dissection of a frog with detailed information on body parts. The AR feature of the Froggipedia gives the most realistic form of education with lively interactive features, which makes it easy for children to understand the concepts of body biology clearly than before.
"For making the Frogippedia app we got fantastic support from Apple Accelerator Team in designing this intuitive UI, compelling UX and seamless integration of ARKit, the Pressure sensitivity of Apple Pencil and also Unity support. The great effort put in by our team superbly complemented by the Accelerator team helped us to make this great Frogippedia app, which is the first time an app from India has featured in a major Apple Keynote address like the one held on 27th March in Chicago. This clearly goes on to prove that challenged people, given an opportunity and right amount of support, can go on to make world's best apps, and also help in saving frogs," M. Prashant VP, Designmate, told International Business Times, India Edition.
The second success story is of Raja Vijayaraman. He has worked as the visual effects engineer in top blockbuster movies such as Rajinikanth-starer Robot but left the high paying job to pursue his passion to develop apps.
With the help of experts at the Apple App Accelerator, Vijayaraman developed a cool iOS calculator app Calzy 3. It has several nifty features including "Memory Area" – where users can store multiple numerical values and reuse it across multiple calculating sessions with a simple drag and drop interaction. Along with calculation history, it has a unique bookmarking feature where users can save any calculation with date and title for future reference.
Vijayaraman was conferred with Apple Design Award for his work at the recently concluded World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2018.
That's not all, three students-- Sudarshan Sreeram Aashna Narula and Ajay Mandani— who managed to secure the coveted WWDC18 scholarship are working on creative apps – Tic Tac Toe, Let's Shapify and a new version of iOS, respectively.
These works will inspire others to take coding and in turn, help to build a vast ecosystem of locally relevant apps in the Apple App Store in India.
List of top locally created apps downloaded in India:
- Paytm- Payments & Bank Account
- Ola Cabs - Book Taxi & Auto
- Flipkart - Online Shopping App
- OLX: Buy & Sell near you
Here's what world's top mobile app developers say on their relationship with Apple App Store:
Marco Arment, developer of Overcast and longtime iOS developer:
"Since day one, the App Store has been by far the easiest way for developers to reach the most people with our apps. It eliminated the friction and overhead of setting up our own distribution and payment systems, making development far more accessible to everyone and letting us focus on our true passion: making the best apps we can. Over its 10 years so far, the App Store has developed into the richest, most diverse, and most accessible software ecosystem the world has ever seen."
Keith Shepherd and Natalia Luckyanova, founders of Imangi Studios, creators of Temple Run:
"The App Store and iPhone changed our lives. Our first game, Imangi, launched the day the App Store opened. Fast forward 10 years, and we've created over 10 games, including Temple Run, which has been downloaded over a BILLION times. Our studio has grown from the two of us to a team of 35. None of this would have been possible without the App Store."
Shigeru Miyamoto, representative director and fellow, Nintendo:
"We are very happy that we are able to deliver Super Mario Run, a new Super Mario experience that could be played with just one hand on iPhone, to hundreds of millions of consumers because of the App Store. The App Store allows us to share the joy of Nintendo games with many new audiences, and we will continue striving to provide unique and new game experiences to App Store customers."
Riccardo Zacconi, CEO of King, creators of Candy Crush:
"We launched Candy Crush Saga on the App Store over five years ago and it's been hugely beneficial, allowing us to reach a brand new global audience. Our games have been played in all seven continents, including Antarctica! That shows just how influential and far-reaching the App Store has become."
Richard Plepler, chairman and CEO, HBO:
"When we decided to introduce HBO NOW, there was never a question that our exclusive launch partner had to be Apple. Announcing the streaming service with Apple and the arrival of HBO NOW on the App Store is one of the most significant moments in HBO's storied history."
James Cuda, founder and CEO of Savage Interactive, creators of Procreate:
"From the beginning, we wanted to sell Procreate exclusively through the App Store because it allows us to reach customers everywhere, making it easy to provide new features, respond to feedback and ensure artists are getting the best possible experience. Being a part of the App Store's journey has been life-changing, as millions of our customers are discovering digital art creation for the first time, while many industry-leading artists find Procreate with iPad Pro and Apple Pencil to be a powerful combination. Procreate simply would not be possible without the App Store."
Yan Lin, CEO of Dr. Panda, developer of popular kids games:
"Thanks to the incredible opportunities brought by the App Store, Dr. Panda has transformed from a small Chinese startup to a global kids brand loved by both children and parents with 50 million downloads around the world in only six years."
Tobi Pearce, CEO and founder of Sweat, a fitness app and community for women, and Kayla Itsines, co-creator of BBG Guide and Sweat Trainer:
"The App Store provides Sweat the ability to reach and improve the lives of millions of people around the world through health and fitness, building a bigger community and offering flexibility in when, where and how users work out. Being a part of the Apple ecosystem has brought continued growth opportunities that have fundamentally changed the trajectory of our organization."
Richard Ellenson, developer and CEO, Cerebral Palsy Foundation:
"In the world of assistive technology and accessibility, it's impossible to overstate the importance of the App Store. For individuals with disabilities, for professionals, family members, and anyone who's ever wondered about the potential in another person who had a bit of difference — or deeply significant challenges — the App Store has been profoundly transformational. I have seen it unleash possibility and potential in literally thousands of individuals. Yet, closest to my heart, I have seen it do so for my son: a bright, independent 20 year old who has Cerebral Palsy. My son moves about in a wheelchair, but that is simply the place from which his spirit soars. His voice comes from his iPad, he does his homework on iPad, his social life is rooted in the apps on iPad, he navigates his entertainment on iPad, and he has performed a thrilling one-man-show with his iPad. I cannot imagine my son's life without this technological magic. And I know so many others for whom this is also true. It's not a reach to say the App Store has been the single greatest advance for accessibility — ever."
Dan Gray, head of studio, ustwo Games, creators of Monument Valley:
"We built our entire team around the App Store, and we've been able to have millions of people around the world play our games who never would have considered themselves gamers. The App Store refresh has shown players the creators behind the apps they enjoy everyday. Humanizing apps can only be a good thing and showcasing how they're made will inspire the next generation of creators from every corner of the world."
John Hanke, CEO, Niantic:
"When we founded Niantic, we set out to develop technology that would inspire people to explore their communities, exercise and have fun with friends and family out in the real world. In addition to making Pokémon GO and Ingress easily accessible to hundreds of millions around the world, the App Store has done a fantastic job of shining a spotlight on our player communities, thoughtfully crafting stories to inform and educate our players, and making the ongoing feature rollout easy for our development team."