Appo Blog: The meaning behind 2 billion apps downloaded

Sep 28, 2009
Finance

While technology and media pundits are racing to cover the news of two billion apps downloaded from Apple’s App store, most observers should note that we are still just scratching the surface. The sheer trajectory involved when 6.3 million apps are downloaded each day means that Apple may soon look forward to similar “landmark” announcements […]

While technology and media pundits are racing to cover the news of two billion apps downloaded from Apple’s App store, most observers should note that we are still just scratching the surface.

The sheer trajectory involved when 6.3 million apps are downloaded each day means that Apple may soon look forward to similar “landmark” announcements on a monthly if not weekly basis. It won’t take long for 85,000 apps to mushroom into 850,000 either. What Apple’s astonishing success reveals, however, is that consumers are embracing mobile apps today more significantly than when they first logged onto the World Wide Web ten-to-fifteen years ago.

Hear me out with this. A decade ago, our ability to monitor Internet consumption patterns was somewhat clouded by the “irrational enthusiasm” of financial markets gone wild. Up until the crash in April 2000, the Internet was the poster child for a so-called new economy that would bring an end to the traditional business cycle and maybe even war and famine. We learned after the dot-com crash and more painfully from the financial crises a year ago that the world order remains unchecked despite revolutionary technological advancements.

But even the “Great Recession” can’t stand in the way of people and their apps. Sure, the majority of app downloads are free. But just because there is no price tag involved doesn’t mean that the developers and consumers of those apps are not engaged in commerce. In fact, the app economy will likely center around free downloads from marketers looking to engage consumers in this rapidly emerging mobile medium. The two free apps Starbucks recently released are among the most significant examples of this truism.

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The next frontier in the app space will not focus on the quantity of apps released, but on the relevance of select apps to any individual consumer. But how do you find them?

It took at least a few years after Netscape went public for Google to figure out how to index the Internet. Finding mobile apps today, which are based around proprietary platforms (Google, BlackBerry, Palm and others in addition to Apple), is not as intuitive as locating web pages through a browser was 14 years ago. That will likely not be the case 14 years, or even 14 months from now.

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Brad Spirrison

Brad Spirrison is the managing editor of appoLearning and Appolicious Inc. In this capacity, he has sampled and evaluated thousands of iOS and Android applications. He also holds an M.A. in Education and Media Ecology from New York University.

Spirrison worked in concert with appoLearning Expert and Instructional Technology Specialist Leslie Morris while curating and evaluating educational applications.

A longtime media and technology commentator and executive, Spirrison is also a regular contributor to ABC News, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Bloomberg West and The Christopher Gabriel Program.

Spirrison is married and lives with his wife and young son in Chicago. As his son was born just weeks before the debut of the iPad, Spirrison takes his work home with him and regularly samples and enjoys a variety of educational applications for young children.

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