The App Store Turns 5 – Which Apps Are Your Favorites?
I’ve had my iPhone for about a year ad change, and like most of civilization, found I can’t live without it.
And as such, can’t live without the 25 or so apps on my phone.
(25? I know, you're laughing, right?)
News sites, our own RadioPup, navigation, social media – I’m just as guilty as the next guy when it comes to keeping my head down and looking at the world though the gadget in my palm.
And playing with the gadget in my palm.
(Insert joke here!)
So whenever I get the notification that there’s an update to an app I already have, I’m quick to download it. And if I need to stay on top of new apps, besides getting all the notices online, I usually go to my IT person (my daughter) who tells me what I need to know to keep up.
"There's an app for that." Indeed.
Apple trademarked the catchy (and by now well-worn) phrase in 2010. But it has become more than a line used in iPhone commercials. It's actually an expectation that whatever we need right then and there is only as far away as the smartphones in our pockets — just give me a minute or so to download it.
That's really what's so remarkable about the five-year anniversary of Apple's App Store on Wednesday, how it has in a relatively short time transformed our very lives. Ten million apps were downloaded that first weekend — App Store downloads have surpassed an astonishing 50 billion since, with more than 900,000 apps currently available, a great number of them free. Google's own Play Store is right on their heels.
Poolside this past holiday weekend, the dreaded mosquitoes were out in full force. Someone pulled out an iPhone and tapped an icon for Anti Mosquito, a sonic mosquito repellent app that aims to keep the annoying suckers at bay. The Pico Brothers app emits a high-frequency sound (that not every human can hear) that the pests apparently find distasteful.
It's hard to verify the effectiveness of the app. But it's a lot less messy than bug spray.
The surprising thing about apps that aim to repel mosquitoes is that their mere existence no longer seems surprising. Not with the hodgepodge of apps that turn your phone (and/or tablet) into a flashlight, radio, scanner, GPS locator, game machine, translator, wallet and a lot more.
Could you have imagined five years ago using an app to not only order a taxi but to pay for the ride as well? Or an app that lets you discover the name of the unfamiliar song blaring away in the crowded bar? Or using an app to get the filmography of your favorite actor or the career stats of a Major League ballplayer?
While Apple, and to a lesser degree rival smartphone makers, have conditioned us to expect just about anything, we can only fathom what the next potentially disruptive five years will bring. Expect further advances in wearable computers, and the apps that communicate with them. Expect an evolution (consolidation?) in payment apps.
And expect apps that will not only get faster and smarter but will do a better job of anticipating our needs and whims, whether we're at home, the office or the car.
I can see it now. An app that will think for us! Sort of like putting your brain on cruise control and letting the app do the rest.
What to name the new app?
How 'bout Sitonyourass!
Brave new world on the horizon.
What are the apps you can’t live without, and some of the coolest ones as well?