One of the interesting things Mr. Jobs said is that this phenomena of mobile apps that has really exploded in the past three years is something new, something we haven’t seen before. I must say, I agree with him. To be honest, there were a few albeit limited mobile apps before the iPhone and the iPod Touch, but they were few and far between. The iPhone and iPod touch really gave this market a truly usable platform for the first time, and that’s what caused it to ignite. Truly usable pocket/portable Internet-enabled devices have facilitated brand new types of activities.
In the realm of desktop computers, there are probably hundreds of thousands or millions of applications available. However, we cannot carry a running desktop or laptop computer around in our pockets. Full-blown computer applications are designed for a different platform with different purposes in mind. For years there have been people that have carried laptops around in their cars and briefcases with them, but full-blown computers don’t lend themselves to the types of consumer behaviors we see emerging from the use of capable smart phones.
On a desktop computer, if we want to look something up such as a restaurant or a sports score we typically go to Google or Bing, and such a search will likely point us to web pages to get the information we seek. However, as Mr. Jobs pointed out, the statistics indicate that the majority of people doing a search on smart phones tend to use specialized apps to perform these searches. Specialized smart phone apps do tend to provide much more specific, concentrated, GPS-enabled search results. Also, the GPS-enabled smart phone takes social networking itself to new heights.
Steve Jobs and Apple deserve credit for facilitating this new emerging portable device app market. The iPhone, the world’s first truly highly-desirable smart phone platform, was the right move at the right time. In the absence of the iPhone, given the emergence of high-speed wireless Internet, it’s likely that an app market of some sort would have emerged anyway. What Mr. Jobs and Apple really did was give the smart phone market a kick in the pants, spurring a quantum leap forward in what is essentially wireless broadband pocket computing that also happens to have a phone function.
Now that Android phones are on the scene offering the first serious competition with the Apple iPhone, the smart phone and app market is truly becoming interesting.