This week six years ago Steve Jobs launch the Apple App Store for iOS devices. It is now hard to imagine how we ever managed without it. Not only has it transformed the way we use and interact with our phones and tablets, it has revolutionised the whole rigmarole of buying and installing software, not only on smartphones but also on the Mac. Without the App Store for iOS we would not have seen the Mac App Store which has made buying software something that anyone can do at the press of a button.
Before the App Store and before the iPhone, buying and installing software was a tedious and unreliable business. Apps for what then passed as smartphones had to be downloaded from developers’ sites, paid for in return for a licence key to be entered after installing the application. In most cases the application had to be downloaded to a computer and then transferred to the phone.
The real fun started when it came time for a new phone. Everything had to be transferred laboriously to the new device, program by program, and old emails had to be scoured for those registration keys that often had a habit of not working. Buying a new phone was not for the faint of heart in those days.
Now, thanks to Apple’s innovation in 2008, apps can be downloaded direct to the phone and are up and running instantly. The only licence key you need remember is your Apple ID which serves to unlock the arsenal of software every time you buy a new tablet or phone.
The App Store was welcomed in 2008 but few commentators realised just how revolutionary it would be regarded in retrospect.