I get all wispy and nostalgic when I think about the days of the first iPhone. How innocent we were then.
When we talked about apps, we were talking about web apps. The kind we had to load up in Safari. No, developers weren’t allowed to get their greasy fingers anywhere near iPhone’s innards.
Apple tried to calm the natives by putting on a number of iPhone developer events to help them make the best web apps they could. But those apps only gave us a taste of what a real app might do.
Some say Steve Jobs only reversed himself when he realized the enormity of the potential for 3rd-party apps. Others believe opening iPhone up to apps was the plan all along, and it was simply a matter of “first things first.” iPhone needed to become a solid platform first.
Whatever, within six months of iPhone’s birth Apple welcomed developers into the tent. Six months later, the App Store was born. It soon became clear that apps were by far the biggest part of the iPhone story. Apps are what turned a communicator/iPod into a true pocket computer.
When competitors started to appear, Apple’s advantage depended on its lead in apps. Apps became a given for every platform. No competitor could seriously contend without an app store of its own.
In fact, the very word apps, a geek word turned mainstream by Apple, was instantly adopted by Apple’s competitors. It’s now as generic as a screen full of app icons arranged in a grid.
Now, as if the world of apps isn’t big enough already, the other shoe is about to drop. And this is one humongous shoe. The Mac App Store will open for business on January 6th.
You can’t help but feel this is going to be a “how did we live without this before” kind of thing. Surely it will spark another gold rush for developers. Happily for AAPL stockholders, it will also spout a new gusher of cash. Apple will now start pocketing 30% on software sales — as opposed to the 0% they’ve been taking for the last 25 years.
Given the historic success of the App Store, this development wasn’t hard to predict. Even yours truly saw it coming back in October of 2009. As the App Store does for apps and iTunes does for music, the Mac App Store will give millions of Mac people one simple place to discover great new apps, talk them up with friends and get instant gratification 24/7. While mega-apps like Adobe CS5 and Final Cut Studio may not work this way for a while (but then they may), the Mac App Store will be the Big Bang for more bite-sized apps and utilities that make the Mac a more fun and customizable place. Mac apps will suddenly be a spontaneous decision, just a click away.
The Mac App Store will be one more reason for people to be drawn to the light. Though none of us should be surprised when a certain entity announces its intention to copy the idea on the PC side.