Shortly after the launch of iPhone 3G, the App Store officially started its service on July 10, 2008.
If the release of the original iPhone created the true smartphone, then the App Store made it truly iconic. One can’t imagine how things would have turned out if there were no apps.
At the time of the App Store’s announcement, the world was familiar with the concept of mobile apps, thanks to Nokia, and application ‘stores’, thanks to Getjar and Mobile9.
However, installing apps on your phones was not easy. You had to first figure out if an app was compatible with your phone, then download the installation “package”. Once downloaded, you had to locate the file to start the installation process. Many a time, the app wouldn’t work on your phone even it was installed properly. Why? Back then, no one knew and you would rarely get assistance since there were no official stores.
And, then there were viruses. Yes, viruses. Since there were no official stores, it was easy to distribute infected packages.
However, things took a turn for the best!
The day that changed the aptitude
It was January 9, 2007. During the Macworld convention, Steve Jobs not only unveiled the iPhone, but he paved the way for the future of app development. He announced the availability of full Safari engine inside an iPhone during WWDC the same year in June. This was the first time the world was introduced to the concept of using web apps.
“You can write amazing Web 2.0 and Ajax apps that look and behave exactly like apps on the iPhone. And these apps can integrate perfectly with iPhone services,” Jobs explained. “They can make a call, they can send an email, they can look up a location on Google Maps. And guess what? There’s no SDK that you need!”
While this does not sound revolutionary, it paved the way for instant development.
“You can begin developing your iPhones apps today,” told Jobs.
While this step is considered a dud, I consider it a master’s move. This is the day when application developers started thinking like app developers. They began discovering the different ways of using a 3.5-inch screen effectively. When they discovered that Safari-based apps were limited, they demanded an SDK.
And, Jobs responded beautifully.
Through a letter published on Apple’s Newsroom on October 17, 2007, he announced the availability of an SDK by February 2008. He assured that he wanted third-party apps on iPhone and he was looking forward to see “a vibrant third-party developer community around the iPhone”. However, he also explained why it was taking so much time to create one:
“We’re trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once—provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc. This is no easy task. Some claim that viruses and malware are not a problem on mobile phones—this is simply not true.”
He then closed his letter by saying “a few months of patience now will be rewarded by many years of great third-party applications.”
On July 10, 2008, the App Store was launched with 500 apps. Today, it has more than than 2 million apps.
We miss you, Steve.