Let’s all give a warm “happy birthday” to the Apple App Store, which turns five years old today. The store officially opened on July 10, 2008 through an iOS software update, a few months after Steve Jobs gave it a proper unveiling at the iPhone SDK keynote address. It started out with a mere 500 applications, which at the time was already a pretty decent number out of the gate.
Fast forward to now, multiple iPhones and iPod touches later and adding in the release of the iPad, there are over 900,000 iOS apps in the App Store. Users have downloaded apps over 50 billion times. In fact, the App Store has been one of the main selling points of the iPhone and iPad since they both launched.
Apple has paid out to developers over $10 billion and many developers have been able to quit their regular jobs to exclusively develop and monetize their iOS apps. Successful games like Angry Birds and apps like Instapaper have come a very long way.
Not a whole lot has even changed about the App Store either — other than those gigantic numbers. Yes, the ability to make in-app purchases were added and automatic updates are coming in iOS 7, but the core of the ecosystem remains quite similar. Developers get 70 percent of all revenues and Apple gets the remaining 30 percent to cover hosting among other fees. There’s still an approval process, meaning every app that gets submitted must get the green light by Apple before going live in the App Store. This prevents apps containing malicious content or pornography.
In the next five years, anticipate continual growth and further evolutionary changes to the App Store. Its success is not slowing down any time soon.
To celebrate the App Store’s 5th birthday, check out the video below of Steve Jobs first announcing it back in 2008.