The App Store turned six years old today

It has been half a dozen years ever since the App Store was launched, although it did take some convincing to Steve Jobs in order for him to agree to the presence of third-party developers gaining native access to the iPhone. Since its debut, the App Store has continued to grow from strength to strength, ending up as a place where small developers even earn a living from it. Considering the size as well as the popularity of the App Store today, it is pretty difficult to believe and imagine the early days of the App Store, where it experienced accelerated growth as developers jumped aboard, quickly overtaking other popular platforms at that point in time – including Nokia’s Symbian and Palm OS, among others.

Six years after Steve Jobs relented and agreed to allow third-party developers native access to the iPhone, the App Store has grown into a cultural phenomenon that connects people, drives innovation, and supports more than a million families around the world. The App Store is so popular today that it’s almost hard to remember that Apple originally launched iPhone without it, initially only supporting builtin apps and web apps accessible via the browser. When Apple delivered its iPhone Software Development Kit and opened its new App Store to third party native apps, the results blew away existing mobile software designed for platforms like Nokia’s Symbian, Palm OS and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile. And while those companies scrambled to open new stores of their own, from Nokia’s Ovi to Palm’s revamped App Catalog for webOS to Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store to BlackBerry World, none achieved similar successes despite far larger installed bases of users. Apple’s closest competitor is Google’s Play, which boasts more titles and more users but still trails the App Store in overall quality and desirable, exclusive titles for smartphones. Developers overwhelmingly write for iOS first because Apple’s platform offers better development tools, a unified platform of user devices on the same OS release, and far less hardware fragmentation.

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