‘Appy days – App Store at 5

Alex Dymoke looks back at the five year history of Apple’s revolutionary online shop

THE app was unleashed on the world with a typically smart advertising campaign from Apple. A niggling problem in your daily life? There is, they assured us, an app for that. “A what for what?” was the reaction from most people (including myself) after seeing the advert for the first time. We soon cottoned on, though, and now, five years since the launch of the App Store, and 50bn app downloads later, it’s difficult to imagine a world without those little downloadable programs.

When the App Store launched, the iPhone had been around for a year, with buyers only able to make use of a few pre-loaded apps including YouTube and Google Maps. Steve Jobs explained that the Store turned the iPhone into an expanding universe of limitless possibility. It launched in 2008 with 500 apps – now there are 850,000.

Experts claim the App Store’s five year anniversary is more important than the recent sixth birthday of the iPhone, as it sparked an entire industry of large and small web developers all competing to produce the next killer app. Apple takes 30 per cent of the revenue generated by independently developed apps. That’s a big slice of the pie for the tech giant, but the number of app millionaires continues to rise. The latest to make the headlines was 17 year old South Londoner Nick D’Aloisio, who sold Summly – an information summarising app that he worked on in his bedroom – to Yahoo! for $30m (£20m). As hobbies go, you can’t get much more lucrative than that. Here’s to the next five years.

2008
JULY 14
The App Store launches and 10m apps are downloaded in the first weekend

2009
JANUARY 16
Global app downloads top 500m

APRIL 4
Worldwide app downloads top 1 billion

APRIL 6
Doodle Jump launches on the App Store and the franchise goes on to surpass $10m on iOS

2010
FEBRUARY 12
The App Store features Angry Birds and the popular game’s download rate increases by 50 times

APRIL 3
Netflix debuts on the App Store

iPad goes on sale with many more apps available for the new format

JUNE 7
$1 billion paid out to developersto date

2011
JANUARY 22
App Store downloads top 10 billion

JULY 21
App Store expands to 23 countries

2012

2013
MAY 16
App Store downloads surpass 500 billion over 800 per second

850,000
apps available

350,000
native to iPad