Apple App Store: (Unconventional) technology of the decade

Apple's App Store set a precedent which revolutionised the mobile industry and handsets like we had never seen before, making it "technology of the decade"

Think about it for a moment. If you try and condense down the most technologically progressive decade of all time into a single blog post, which would you choose? I considered many including broadband, 3G, email, GPS and even Facebook.

But not all of them were developed in this decade, some just don't have the significance or the impact as others.

Yes, Facebook does connect over 350 million people worldwide and trying to explain the concept of the site to someone even five years ago wouldn't have been even slightly comprehensible. But the Apple App Store along with the Facebook application platform has had a massive societal change.

The Facebook application platform launched in May 2007 and the Apple App Store was released in July 2008 with the launch of the iPhone just under a year before hand. These two developments, especially the App Store, shook up the entire mobile industry to produce a completely customisable device.

You could download any application and install it over the air, and each phone would be different and unique to that person. It opened up so many possibilities not only for iPhone, and later iPod touch users, but the wider market.

Since then, Nokia jumped on the bandwagon with the rebranded Ovi store which allowed applications to be downloaded in a directly rivaled way to the iPhone and App Store - mostly free and over the air - and BlackBerry devices, known for their business style and functionality was opened up far wider in terms of possibility and enhance ability with the BlackBerry App World. Even the Android has jumped on board with their own application database.

Even though I'm not a fan of the iPhone, the possibilities are endless. There is no doubt there will be an application out there for whatever you need, free or otherwise, and because of the nature of the programmability and the relatively simple SDK, in theory anybody could write one.

And with the massive popularity of the iPhone and iPod touch devices, this spurred on the downloads further and further. While there are only around 120,000 applications available, this is massive disproportionate to the number of downloads worldwide - over a billion in only nine months.

This was viral behaviour and it spread through the market to other mobile devices and handsets, companies and services. The Apple App Store set a precedent which other manufacturers could simply not ignore. People don't seem to buy phones anymore based on what's on there - more so what they could put on there.

I wouldn't bet that most people who have bought an iPhone or iPod touch is because of the expandability of the devices with third-party applications, rather than the other features or the aesthetic design of the device.

The iPhone isn't the technology of the decade. It's the vast number of applications which accompany the iPhone and iPod touch, and the mobile applications which followed in the App Store foot steps.

Got a favourite iPhone application? What would rank in your top three technologies of the decade? Comment away.

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