The App is everywhere. As of June 2014, there was an estimated 1.2 million apps on the iTunes store. Apps have been downloaded over 60 billion times. “There’s an app for that” has become not just a slogan, but an axiomatic fact of life. When a typewriter app developed by a celebrity is the number one downloaded app, though, what exactly is the state of apps in 2014?
In July of 2008, when the App Store was launched, there were only 800 apps. Just three years later, in 2011, there were around 200,000 apps. Now, another three years after that landmark, there is six times that number. There is an app for everything. Just try going on a long road trip with a significant other and not argue about which direction app is better.
About a week and a half ago, Tom Hanks released the Hanx Writer app, a word processing program that does nothing new except make typewriter noises. Right now, Hanx Writer is the number one downloaded app on the iTunes Store. Users say that the most enjoyable aspect of the app is the typewriter noise. It sets off a certain nostalgic note that users find almost comforting. Hanks is not the only celebrity to put their name on an app. Kim Kardashian’s Hollywood is another celebrity driven app that has taken iPads and tablets by storm. Only two months old, Hollywood is already on track to earn its makers, Glu Games, over $200 million in the next year.
The app world shows no signs of slowing. More and more apps are hitting the market, and not all of them are backed by celebrities. The app Steeze, launched in the beginning of August, already has thousands of users, and was created by normal, non-celebrity, college aged guys. Steeze, which has a sort of Instagram meets Tinder meets Pintrest aesthetic, aims to be a one stop shop for young people looking for the newest media. “I think the most exciting thing about apps is the way they connect people,” says Asad Rizvi, co-founder and chief technological officer of Steeze.
Connectivity is a big issue in the app game. With more options on the market, its important to hook in users and make them seem as if they are a part of a group. Facebook saw its numbers for teen users drop by over 25 percent over the last year as teens increasingly use sites like Instagram and Steeze for their social networking needs. Both of these sites are designed with mobile use in mind. Also, Steeze has a blog component to its app, so users can have news and ideas fed to them, beyond pictures of someone’s lunch.
Looking past social media, apps are becoming an integral tool to do business. As more companies and businesses put out apps, having an app creator on-site or hiring out app making services in an important new part of growing a business. Whether they are restaurants using apps to facilitate reservations, or boutique shops using apps for coupons to get customers through the doors, the app may be the most vital part of doing business in the new digital age.
Apps have become useful tools for work and play. They have become big business, for app creators and the businesses that use them. As more and more life takes place on smart phones, the state of the app in 2014 is booming. With 1.2 million apps on the App Store, and more to be surely on the way, the app is a way of life.
By Bryan Levy