Happy Anniversary! How the App Store Changed During the Last 10 Years

Posted in July 2018 by Silke Glauninger

App Marketing

About a decade ago, the App Store was introduced. We wanted to pay tribute to the last 10 years of iOS app marketing. This is why we summarized some of the App Store’s most relevant milestones.

So, go ahead wallow in nostalgia. ;)

How it all started

Apple App Store was introduced on July 10, 2008. For the very first time ever, iOS device users were provided a chance to go to a centralized place where they could easily purchase mobile apps.

“There was an incredible sense of anticipation and excitement the day the App Store launched […]” - Chad Evans, senior vice president, Product Development, Major League Baseball (one of the first apps listed on the App Store)

At its beginning, there were only 522 apps compared to today’s 2 million mobile apps available in the Apple App Store. However, among those first 522 apps were the ones that feature most home screens up to these days worldwide. (MLB At Bat, Tap Tap Revenge, Trism, The New York Times, eBay to name a few)

How the App Store evolved over the years

This day, the app store counts about 2 million apps which makes it the second largest app distribution platform available.

Back in the early 2010’s, the App Store was still at its beginning. While it was founded in July 2008 with a few hundred apps, its offer has been growing as the app market did. Five years later, there’ve been already 10 times more apps available.

Here is a graphic that shows how the app store evolved over the last decade.

Approximately 800 apps are downloaded every second

With approximately 800 apps downloaded each second, iOS app store, is one of the most successful breakouts in the history of mobile app business.

Just in six months after the launch, Apple App Store has reached its first 500 million app downloads with 15,000 apps available for sale. In April 2009, the number of downloads hit 1 billion.

Global App Distribution

By summer 2010, the store was available in more than 90 countries. In 2012, the App Store reached more than 153 countries and surpassed 25 billion downloads.

In May 2013, 14 months after it hit 25 billion app downloads, the figure crossed 60 billion.

Today’s App Store and Recent Changes

2010: The iPad is here

With the introduction of the iPad in 2010, app developers were supplied with a chance to design apps for the larger screens, which resulted in an additional 1.3 million apps created just for the iPad.

2011: Driving Sales with IAP became possible

After Apple has implemented changes in gaming and apps with the in-app purchase, offering people to discover and explore different functionality before they actually purchase the app. In 2011, this feature has evolved into supporting subscription apps.

June 2016: Search Ads are coming

In early summer 2016, Apple announced App Store Search Ads at its annual WWDC conference. Since then, it’s been possible to pay for top search spots. This should help to stop a decrease in global sales, which app companies have been facing during the preceding years already.

Search Ads Apple App Store Creation

Feb 2017: Apple Finally Enrolling the World of Flexible Ratings and Reviews

With the release of iOS 10.3, Apple allowed app developers access to the SKStoreReviewController API. This made it possible to trigger app rating requests within iOS apps.

As a result, app owners could push prompts to ask for app ratings without the user having to leave the app. Apple, however, introduced some strict guidelines to follow in order to keep access to that API. For example, you can only trigger the review prompt at a maximum of three times per year to a single user. Thus, timing your app’s rating and review requests is essential.

May 2017: App Analytics Enhancements Arrived at iTunes Connect

In May of last year, Apple launched a new functionality in App Analytics. For more than a year now it has been possible to analyze app statistics by data sources. The differentiation of downloads by data sources (App Store Browse, App Store Search, App Referrer, Web Referrer) has been showing how effective App Store Search is for most apps and mobile games.

Example App Analytics Source Types: App Store Search

June 2017: The App Store Makeover & iOS 11

At 2017’s WWDC, this was one of the biggest topics: the App Store gets a complete makeover. Together with the release of iOS 11, they launched a redesigned and restructured version of the App Store. This had the effect, that App Store Marketing for many marketers changed. Not only apps and games are now separated but search behaves differently and top charts have even less impact on impressions and downloads than before.

Apple App Store Search Layout iOS 11 vs iOS 10

2018: iTunes Connect becomes App Store Connect

Thoroughly timed to its 10th anniversary, Apple decided to rename the developer platform behind the App Store. For this reason, former iTunes Connect is now named App Store Connect. Further, various platform and performance improvements have been promised.

Let’s see what the future will bring ;)

Silke Glauninger
Silke is Marketing Manager at App Radar. When not writing about app marketing, you can find her looking for new places to explore or watching series with a cup of tea and chocolate.