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Tech blog

The app maker

»One of the best tributes to Steve Jobs was paid a few days before he died. A report by Appsfire said the number of Android and iOS apps crossed one million in September. Here is an app industry in high gear, accelerating and transforming how people use IT. It has a lot to thank Jobs for. 

It may be unwarranted to compare Jobs to Einstein or Newton. But there is no doubting that he could see possibilities not visible to normal human eye. He put his talent to good use in App Store, which encouraged independent developers to build applications for the growing base of iPhone users.

Jobs pitched his products as elements in an eco system. He worked tirelessly with music labels to create iTunes to provide downloadable music to iPods. iPhones came with an App Store, where you could download apps to run your life. 

The idea was a run away hit and within two months of the launch in July 2008, 100 million apps had been downloaded. It set a trend as the competition realised they could not sell phones without apps. The effect of App Store as we realise now has been more far-reaching than just selling mobile phones.

Programmers work to meet real-life human needs. But it is tricky to figure out what people want and Jobs famously maintained that people do not know what they need. Many companies start with a unique insight into people’s needs and develop a successful product. But as they grow big they tend to move away from consumers. IT companies also need to target opportunities of a certain size that can support a viable scale of operations.  App Store forced a paradigm shift in IT.

It created niche markets for small developers, though it is debatable how much money they have made on apps. But here was a platform to pander to all kinds of pressing or whimsical needs of the consumers.

You name any biological or cultural fact of life – from sex to satellites – there is an app to do something about that. People also got used to idea of building key activities of their life around apps.

It also sparked off a virtuous cycle - apps driving smart phone sales, which in turn lead to more consumption of apps – to transform mobiles and tablets into primary computing devices.  

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