When the iPhone 3G was launched it brought with it the Apple App Store. It really was a turning point for the iPhone and smart phones in general. For the first time you could download apps that enhanced the user experience of the phone and that opened doors for incredible creativity from app developers, and it’s no exaggeration to suggest that the App Store was a huge reason for the success of the iPhone from the 3G model onwards. The 3G was my first iPhone and in truth the apps were a little bit rubbish back then. Most crashed repeatedly but, as it was a new technology, I let it go, and with each successive generation they became more and more reliable.
It was an exciting time. I remember when Instagram first appeared (well before it was bought by Facebook) and the early Twitter apps were a game changer for that platform, and were a huge part of Twitter’s early growth. It took years before Twitter finally bought the app Tweetie and used that as the basis for their own app. Until then it was down to developers to create their own and they were all very different and fun. The first Facebook app was terrible. I really don’t think they realised at the time just how important the mobile world would become, and again it took them years before their own app was stable.
Things are different now.
I haven’t bought an app for a long time. I’ve pretty much got everything I need already installed. Facebook is the monster social network and I really can’t see it being replaced by anyone soon, there are still lots of Twitter apps but the official one gets all of Twitter’s changes first, so I stick with that. Instagram is growing and changing. I tried Snapchat but really don’t have time for another way of sharing things. I stopped buying mobile games when I realised that they were now just cash generating machines with all of those annoying in-app purchases (I just want to buy the game and play it please).
It’s a shame but I guess everything new becomes old eventually.
I still love my iPhone, and the apps it has that connect me to me friends around the world. But the App Store (whether that’s the Apple, or the Android version) are so bloated that I wonder whether the bubble has burst. However, a new opportunity has arrived. I can see the same old enthusiasm with the new iMessage App Store and there are some great fun things appearing there with the arrival of iOS10, and the arrival of Pokemon Go was a sudden bump, but that game doesn’t seem to have had the wished for long tail.
I think the whole App ecology has matured now, and it takes an amazing app to stand out among the thousands all elbowing for attention and space.
And what about the devices themselves? I took delivery last week of a shiny new iPhone 7 and wonder where they can go next year with the 7s. I’m sure you Android users feel the same. I have a hugely powerful computer in my pocket. It plays music, podcasts, I can read the news, communicate with friends, check my finances, take amazing photos and videos, oh, and make phone calls. This generation of phones are amazing, be that the iPhone, or the new Androids. I find it hard to imagine what the manufacturers can possible add that will make me want to upgrade in two years time. I thought long and hard this time as I loved my iPhone 6.
Have we gone as far as we can go, or will Apple or Google reveal that killer feature none of us had thought of. Well, for me at least, I don’t have to think about that for a while.
I’m going to listen to some music.
Where did I put that little adapter?