Steve Jobs and the Legacy of the App Store
It's been just over seven years since Steve Jobs announced the App Store, and yet it's hard to imagine our lives without it. Apple officially launched the app marketplace on July 10, 2008, offering 552 apps in all. Within three days, the store had caught on, garnering more than 10 million downloads. The App Store is undoubtedly one of Apple's most important inventions. Apps have revolutionized the way we do so many things—look no further than Uber, Tinder, or Spotify for proof. And while Steve Jobs didn't invent mobile apps, he did successfully popularize them. The iPhone and iPad are often credited as Jobs's greatest legacies, yet the App Store is a huge part of why they have such a loyal user base in the first place. Neglecting apps' potential was ultimately the nail in the coffin for other companies, such as Palm with its webOS, an otherwise great operating system that included multitasking long before the iPhone had it. I bought a Palm Pixi when it came out in 2009, and while I loved its compact physical keyboard and user-friendly OS, I became painfully aware of its meager supply of apps as the iPhone's reservoir of apps grew by the thousands. By the time Palm got it together to offer a developer's kit for creating native apps, I, like many others, had made the switch to Apple, and have never looked back. With the App Store, Apple created a vibrant marketplace for creating and selling apps, and as developers strove to compete, they stretched the capabilities of our iPhones by pushing the devices' functional limits. Take the camera, for instance. Third-party app developers came up with apps that used the camera in new and brilliant ways—using the flash as a flashlight or as a way to measure heart rate, or using the camera itself to register credit cards and scan documents. Today, there are more than 1.5 million apps in the App Store. The gold rush for developers in the early days of the App Store has passed, and discoverability has become a challenge. But this crowded app landscape is what makes creating our annual Best Apps issue so much fun. Within these pages, we delve into apps in more than a dozen categories, unearthing the hidden gems as well as touting the most popular picks, the perennial favorites. Apps are what make the iOS experience so interesting, and our aim is to help you experience the best of what the App Store has to offer.
Donna Cleveland Editor in Chief iPhone Life magazine, email@example.com, @schillcleveland