How Apple's App store changed the mobile app market completely

About The Author: Vishal is the founder and CEO of Appsquare—a Sydney-basedapp development company thatdevelops innovative apps, provides part funding for selected app ideas and also helps app developers get funding through its network of Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors.
Everyone is talking about it being an ‘Appy Birthday! The App Store has completed 5 years in the industry.
Way back in 2008, Apple launched its store and had a mere 552 apps on its store. 6 months after the launch, this number had grown to 15,000 apps and now, according to the tweet from Appsfire, a company that monitors Apple apps, the Apple store has touched the 950,000 apps mark.
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Apple has indeed changed the mobile app “industry” in a few significant ways. Perhaps the most important characteristic of this impact is the fact that the App Store has influenced:

  • Customers
  • Developers
  • Competitors
  • Pricing structure
  • App marketers and
  • Even startup companies.

The applications itself

Of course the most important change in the market place has to do with the apps themselves. Interestingly, Apple was not first off the mark way back in 2008. Companies such as Microsoft and had their presence in the app marketplace. But what Apple did was something revolutionary – it created an app store.
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The App Store was the one stop shop that customers could go to when they wanted to download and run programs. Of course Apple kept; and continues to do so; a tight rein on the kind of apps and their quality.

The competition

Just like the cola wars, there seem to be only 2 big names when it comes to competition in the app marketplace – Apple and Google. It is also interesting to note that the numbers for both of them are almost the same. Depending on what you read one of them is marginally ahead of the other!
Incidentally, both of them have almost totally stitched up the smartphone market at 91.1% according to IDC.
According to VentureBeat, Apple may have ownership of only 18% of the app marketplace compared to 75% owned by Google. However, the huge difference is in the revenues that Apple makes $5.1 million per day versus Google’s $1.1 million every day.
Even though Google is giving Apple a hard time in the app marketplace, Apple has a huge plus point that is one version of its platform. Since Android has multiple versions of its platform, it can get pretty complicated to launch an app here. Therefore, most apps debut on App Store and then find their way outside!

Leads to the developer community

The one huge change that Apple App Store has made is to enable individuals to develop killer apps. It could be youngsters coming up with a brilliant idea in their college class room. It could be tech graduates with the next Big Idea.
Look at the story of Instagram and you will know why micropreneurs is a growing community. According to Sucharita Mulpuru a Forrester analyst, the App Store has made it possible for programming to become part of the curriculum. As of June, 2013, Apple has paid more than $10 billion to developers.

Price and promotion

Apple can also be held responsible for reinventing the digital space and “encouraging” other companies to do so as well. For instance, free apps such as Flipboard have spurred print media magazines to offer digital content. The whole point is that the product should be accessible from almost anywhere and that is possible only when it has been delivered via an application.
Apple can also be credited with having introduced the concept of giving apps with a “small price to pay”! If the apps are not free, they are pegged at $0.99, something that the customer does not think twice about. In fact, 90% of Apple apps are free.
Indubitably, the Apple App Store can look forward to a future which is great. Perhaps more importantly, it can look forward to a future where it continues to be a game changer in every walk of life – game franchises, productivity apps and apps for everything in daily life. Some more changes to the mobile app marketplace in the offing? For sure!