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The App Store turns five: A look back and forward

Lex Friedman | July 9, 2013
Five years ago, the App Store was born. Lex Friedman recounts the history of this crowning achievement of the iOS platform.

The App Store begat a lot of things, including the Mac App Store, a slew of gaming franchises, and roughly 400,000 Twitter apps (and the same number of "fart app" jokes). More than anything, however, the App Store's crowning achievement isn't the obscenely high download numbers it's attained or even the bundle of money it's paid out to developers.

The App Store's singular accomplishment is turning our iPhones from useful to indispensable. Before the App Store's launch, everyone's home screen looked exactly the same. Now, our iOS devices all look different, and they all reflect precisely what we want our devices to do for us.

Sure, the iPhone (and later the iPad) were game-changers and, for many of us, life-changers, too. But imagine your iOS devices with only Apple's stock apps—including the Stocks app—and you'll realize, as Apple has, that these devices better our lives in large part because of the vast, thriving third-party app market. The App Store's success is iOS's success.

Apple will continue to trumpet impressive App Store numbers in the years ahead: 100 billion downloads, $25 billion paid to developers, and on and on. But the real lasting achievement, the real window into the App Store's success, is the ever-increasing amount of time you spend—and the joy you feel—using your iOS devices.


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