We got big news from Apple today as they announced the exact details of their highly successful App Store's first year. In just a year, the infant app store has had a staggering 1.5 billion applications downloaded, which puts Apple far ahead of any competing app store out there. Apple also announced that the store now holds over 65,000 apps, and that there are more then 100,000 developers signed up for the iPhone Developer Program.
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I think the app store is going to go down in history alongside the iPod as one of Apple's biggest innovations. Neither invention was totally original, but Cupertino was able to take existing ideas, improve upon them, and market them well enough to create a global frenzy for their products. Even someone rabidly anti-Apple would have trouble being anything but impressed with the success of the App Store.
So why was the Apple App Store so successful, while the Palm, Android, and RIM app markets have lagged so far behind?
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I think the reason is simple. Unlike their competitors, Apple made their App Store a major priority. They courted developers, put up strict quality control processes, and made sure to advertise and market their apps like they would any other product. The added attention Apple gave their App Store is the reason for its success. They didn't treat it like a gimmick or an afterthought, and that's why they're celebrating 1.5 billion downloads now, instead of looking at ways to stop hemorrhaging customers (*cough* RIM).