At a 1983 conference in Aspen, Steve Jobs gave a presentation where he predicted a kind of “digital record store” where people would download discrete software applications over telephone lines. This was 24 years before the first iPhone and 24 years before the App Store debuted with 500 apps. It was even 14 years before Snake, the addictive game that could be played on Nokia phones or discreetly during class on graphing calculators, ruined AP Calculus for a generation of students.
As of 2020, according to Forbes, those first 500 apps have ballooned to over 8.9 million apps. According to Grandview Research, the mobile app industry surpassed $154 billion in 2019 with an expected compound annual growth rate of 11.5% through 2027. According to App Annie, as of 2021 consumers spend an average of 4.2 hours a day on mobile apps.