It doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Bilbo Baggins’s eleventy-first birthday party, but Apple’s App Store turns five on Wednesday, and Cupertino is pulling out a few stops to celebrate.
A number of journalists not this one, sadly have received posters from Apple that commemorate the upcoming occasion. On them, Apple listed a number of its App Store’s various milestones across a “timeline” that’s really more a chart of total app and game downloads.
For example, Apple calls out the store’s one-billionth download on April 4, 2009, and notes that the popular game Doodle Jump premiered shortly afterwards. Apple’s two-billionth download came a few months later on Sept. 28, but it would be a bit more time until the premiere of one of the platform’s more wildly successful games, Angry Birds, on Feb. 12, 2010. The chart continues with apps, milestones and, of course, Apple product releases until the Store’s most recent milestone 50 billion downloads as of May 16, 2013.
As noted by All Things D, there are quite a few “milestones” that Apple left off its poster for obvious reasons. That included a 2010 report by The Wall Street Journal that showed how 56 of 101 tested smartphone apps were submitting users’ personal information and phone identifying codes to advertising networks, many without users’ permission.
There’s also all the in-app subscription squabbling that Apple was having with content publishers, a thorny issue that was finally resolved in 2011 when Apple agreed to remove restrictions on content pricing and availability. Previously, Apple was planning to force apps that allowed users to access content sold outside of Apple’s store to also make that content available via in-app purchases which would then be subject to Apple’s commission on purchases.
“Our philosophy is simplewhen Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30 percent share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100 percent and Apple earns nothing. All we require is that, if a publisher is making a subscription offer outside of the app, the same (or better) offer be made inside the app, so that customers can easily subscribe with one-click right in the app,” then-CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement.
Is Apple’s poster missing anything else? Certainly. We’d love to see a little marker for when $0.99 purchases started to become the “norm” for games and apps, and how the various pricing tiers progressed through Apple’s five-year history. Or, for that matter, a track of the App Store’s popularity against its desktop and laptop counterpart, the Mac App Store.
And there’s always room for the controversial apps. Perhaps a little frowny-face logo could accompany the App Store’s removal of “Bang with Friends” in 2013; the constant rejections in 2012 of an app, Drone+, that gave users notifications every time it detected that a U.S. drone strike hit Pakistan, Yemen, or Somalia, based on news reports; and, of course, the banning of the famous “I Am Rich” app in 2008, which gave users a pretty icon to look at if they coughed up $999. Oof.
While we highly doubt Apple would want to commemorate the event with a poster call-out, the App Store also saw its first malware app in July 2012. The app, “Find and Call,” would upload the contents of a user’s address book to a third-party server, and those within the book would find their email addresses and phone numbers spammed to heck with promotions for the Find and Call app itself.
Apple promptly removed the app once its actual intent became known, but the entire ordeal was nevertheless noteworthy for being the first time that malware had slipped past Apple’s review process.
Apple’s App Store Turns 5: What’s Missing on the Poster? – PC Magazine
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