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Wednesday, December 4

Five Years of Apps

It is hard to believe that Apple launched its App Store justover five years ago (July the 10th, 2008), such is the impactthat a mere software distribution platform has had on so manyfacets of daily life (the number of app downloads on thisplatform alone reached 50 billion in May 2013).

The rate of smartphone ownership among American adults rose from 35% in May 2011 to 56% during May 2013. Meanwhile, 110 million tablets and other portable computers were sold during 2012, with sales of these devices set to overtake sales of laptop computers during 2013. American mobile networks carried 69% more data traffic in 2012 than during the previous year.

With 4G (fourth generation) mobile phone networks currently being rolled out worldwide (promising internet access speeds comparable to home broadband connections) and the cost of data falling, constraints on mobile interest use are melting away.

Chat apps like WhatsApp have virtually replaced SMS messaging as a means of communication among teens.

Middle Eastern teens love these apps because they allow them to communicate in an unsupervised way with members of the opposite sex. However, some governments in the region are suspicious of them: Saudi Arabia banned Viber in June 2013.

Apps like Instagram are revolutionising photography, with the selfie now the self-portrait of the digital age.

Similiarly, apps like Vine are changing how video is both made and viewed. Vine enables users to create and post video clips of no more than six seconds in length. These are then played on a continuous loop.

Apps will increasingly be implemented on new hardware platforms, such as Apple's forthcoming iWatch and the Google Glass headset.

Apps are re-imagining old favourites for nostalgic adults. The first Choose Your Own Adventure book was published in 1979 by Bantam Books, which went on to release more than 180 titles in the series that sold over 250 million copies between them.

There is the potential for a backlash against apps as some consumers attempt a digital detox, which could curb growth in app downloads and usage.

Despite such resistance, the app revolution is here to stay.

App development is likely to flourish in emerging markets over the coming years, with apps increasingly catering to the specific needs of local consumers.

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Crdits: la factoria