On this very day back in 2008, Steve Jobs announced the App Store. It was the day before the iPhone 3G launch, and nobody, perhaps not even Jobs himself, could foresee the amazing successes the App Store would have collected in the coming years.

I don’t want to bore you by saying how many apps were available and downloaded at any given moment, so I’ll just point out the most important ciphers. At the time of its launch, only 500 apps were available for download, but not even a year later, in April 2009, the number had increased to 35,000, with more than one billion downloads…

10 billion downloads where reached on January 22nd, 2011, and now, less than six months later, the counter has passed 15 billion. The number of apps available just lapped 400,000, and the half a million milestone is around the corner.

Since the App Store was the first distribution platform of its kind, it would be uncorrect to state that it broke every pre-existing record. Rather, the App Store set the bar so high that it is unlikely any other competitor will ever top the stats Apple has been able to reach.

It’s a groundbreaking commercial distribution system, but I think there’s more to the App Store. It was able to inspire thousands of people, and to instill in each and every developer that went through the trouble of learning the SDK a passion for one, simple thing: That everyone, regardless of age, gender or nationality, could create something unique. And that the whole world would be able to purchase that app at any given moment.

The App Store helped globalization. It helped create a community that transcends barriers of language and culture. And such a success is way more important than the money developers and the folks in Cupertino have made – and continue to make – from it.

Happy birthday, App Store!

  • Dane

    There was no app store for the first iPhone when it launched? How did you get apps. I wasn’t into the iPhone at all before iPhone 4

    • Scott

      There weren’t any apps unless you
      Jailbroke you phone

    • Cameron

      You downloaded them from iTunes and sync them onto your iDevice.

  • James

    I wish they would be more stringent though on what apps were allowed as there are far more terrible apps than there are good ones. I’d rather see 50000 really good apps that 500000 where 95% are poor lol, Justin Bieber apps, Mini Gay Boyfriend apps lol, quality not quantity should be the priority.

    • Dane

      Yea they say there’s 400,000 but there are <100 worth downloading

  • Michael

    How did you download apps before the App Store?

    • MrA

      There was not a way to do it unless you jailbroke your phone. I got the iPhone at that time because I wanted an easy way to manage/listen to music on my phone. Email and safari were just a plus! It’s hard to think of the iPhone without the AppStore, huh?

    • Cameron

      You bought them from iTunes and then sync them onto you iDevice.

  • Michael

    Yes practically impossible. So before July 8th 2008 there were no apps or games? I remember getting my iPhone on July 20th 2008 and there were lots of apps and games to download.

    • MrA

      Right. Only Apple apps that came with the phone. Stocks, weather, safari, etc…

      There were some web apps/games you could access through safari.

  • Michael

    Wow we have come so far. I don’t think I would know what do with iPhone without apps.

  • What bout my apps? I did not create them pssst