In Pictures: 10 Years of the Apple App Store

00 - apps
In Pictures: 10 Years of the Apple App Store Newsweek

Eleven years ago, Apple released the iPhone. A touchscreen smartphone that would fundamentally change the industry forever.

But it wasn't until 2008, a year later,, that Apple's prodigal son would get its most important feature: the App Store. Simply calling it a revolution for Apple is underselling it-the App Store ended up defining and guiding the success of the smartphone generation.

In March 2008, Steve Jobs officially announced third-party developers would be able to build applications for the new model iPhone. Apple retained final control over what would be allowed (in true Apple fashion), but the floodgates were open.

Upon its launch on July 10, 2008, Apple's App Store had 500 applications available for download. Many of them were basic, but they showed off the features that would eventually attract a widespread audience. A highlight was PhoneSaber, a Star Wars-related app that would give users a lightsaber on their phone.

It would make noises similar to the movies when swung—thanks to the accelerometer—and you could pick your lightsaber's color. It was quickly killed off by THQ and LucasArts for copyright violations, but has since been replaced with a licensed version.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs wasn't always on board with the App Store. According to 9to5Mac, he originally wanted developers to build web apps optimized for Safari. According to his biographer Walter Isaacson, Jobs had denied the idea of third-party apps at least "half a dozen times".

But after the original iPhone was jailbroken, developers quickly ditched the HTML 5 coding on Safari to build native apps. Twitterific and Tap Tap Revolution were both made available quickly. Then came SDK (software developers kit), which was Apple's way of conceding defeat on Safari web apps.

Fast forward 10 years and the App Store is the defining feature of the iPhone. Apple even ran a marketing campaign "there's an app for that" in 2009, that sound entered common parlance.

As of March 2017, there were 2.2 million apps available for download in the App Store. Apple has profited hugely from its growth, and according to TheTool, the App Store has generated more than $70 billion in revenue as of June 7.

But just how did the App Store grow from a Steve Jobs rejection to one of the most profitable ideas in the industry?

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The original iPhone (2007): When Steve Jobs took stage on June 29, 2007, he promised to reveal three new products: a touchscreen iPod, a mobile phone and a “breakthrough internet communicator”. Minutes later, he confirmed what everyone knew, this was one device: the iPhone.ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images
02 - web apps
Web Apps (2007): After the initial wave of excitement, developers were quick to ask what sort of freedom they would be given on app creation. Jobs believed WebApps (designed to work through the Internet instead of the phone) were the future, and that Safari would give developers complete freedom to create. Developers were less than impressed.Ryan Anson/AFP/Getty Images
03 - developer disinterest
Developer disinterest (2007): Technology blogger John Gruber put it best: “If all you have to offer is a shit sandwich, just say it. Don’t tell us how lucky we are and that it’s going to taste delicious.” Developers were less than pleased with Apple’s sell of Web Apps. Andrew Burton/Getty Images
04 - bad web apps
Steve Jobs' concerns (2007): Jobs may have genuinely believed in WebApps, but according to the Walter Isaacson biography of him, Jobs was more concerned about developers infecting the iPhone with bugs. It didn’t require any specialized developer kit, but also locked off developers from iPhone storage and a home screen icon.Sean Gallup/Getty Images
05 - the outlier
The Google Maps outlier (2007): Not all apps were Apple originals. The iPhone launched with a Maps application that ran off of Google Maps. Videos were strangely difficult early on as well. Apple has since launched its own maps app, but many still download the Google version.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
06 - jailbreaking
Jailbreaking (2007): Eventually, developers became sick of trying to make Web Apps work. Mainly because they just didn’t. Enter jailbreaking, the process of taking your phone out of Apple’s world and giving you access to third-party apps. This is where apps like Twitterific and Tap Tap Revolution were born.David Paul Morris/Getty Images
07 - SDK
SDK (2007): Despite his stubbornness, Jobs saw the writing on the wall with jailbreaking and gave in to the rumoured pleading of his team. On October 17, 2007, he announced the Software Developer Kit (SDK) for third-party developers to start building apps. “We want native third party applications on the iPhone and we plan to have an SDK in developer hands in February,” Jobs said in an open letter on Apple’s press page.David Paul Morris/Getty Images
08 - iPhone os2
iPhone OS2 (2008): A few months later, Jobs confirmed the change. iPhone OS 2 was announced in March 2008, officially introducing iPhone SDK. Approval was still needed from Apple before an app was published, though.Ryan Anson/AFP/Getty Images