The App Store is a digital distribution platform for mobile apps on iOS, developed and maintained by Apple Inc. The service allows users to browse and download applications that were developed with Apple’s iOS SDK. The apps can be downloaded directly to an iOS device, or onto a personal computer via iTunes (also developed and maintained by Apple Inc.).Applications in the App Store are targeted at iOS devices, including iPhones and iPads, and may make use of specific attributes of those devices, such as motion sensors for game controls and cameras for online video calling. Apps may be downloaded for free or for a set cost, and they may include in-app monetization through advertising or purchases. Apple takes 30 percent of all revenue generated through apps, and 70 percent goes to the app publisher.
The App Store opened on July 10, 2008, via an update to iTunes. On July 11, the iPhone 3G was launched and came pre-loaded with iOS 2.0.1 with App Store support; new iOS 2.0.1 firmware for iPhone and iPod Touch was also made available via iTunes.As of February 10, 2012, there are at least 1,100,000+ third-party apps officially available on the App Store.As of January 18, 2011, the App Store had over 9.9 billion downloads, which was announced via the company’s “10 Billion App Countdown”. At 10:26 am GMT on Saturday, January 22, 2011,the 10 billionth app was downloaded from Apple App Store. As of July 2011, 200 million iOS users downloaded over 15 billion apps from its App Store.
After the success of Apple’s App Store and the launch of similar services by its competitors, the term “app store” has been adopted to refer to any similar service for mobile devices. However, Apple applied for a U.S. trademark on the term App Store in 2008 which was tentatively approved in 2011. Later, in June 2011, U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton, who is presiding over Apple’s case against Amazon, said she’ll “probably” deny Apple’s motion that seeks to bar the Web retailer from using the “App Store” name. Later on July 6, Apple was denied preliminary injunction against Amazon’s Appstore by a federal judge.The term app has become a popular buzzword; in January 2011, app was awarded the honor of being 2010’s “Word of the Year” by the American Dialect Society. Apple does not hold a trademark on, or claim exclusive rights to the term app, which has been used as shorthand for “application” since at least the mid-1990sand in product names since at least 2002, for example Google Apps (first introduced in 2006).
The App Store is accessible from the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad via an iOS application by the same name. It is also the only way to directly download native applications onto an iOS device without jailbreaking the device. Web applications can be installed on these devices, bypassing the App Store entirely, but they tend to have inferior functionality. The store is also accessible through iTunes, and then on any operating system for which iTunes is provided (OS X and Windows).In February 2011, Apple announced its new subscription-based service, which will allow publishers the freedom to set the length and price of subscriptions.
Previously, new magazine or news releases were sold on a per release basis. The new service allows publishers to sell content directly through their apps, allowing users to receive new content over specified periods of time. Furthermore, Apple will begin allowing publishers to not only distribute and/or sell their applications from iTunes, where revenues will continue to be shared (70 percent for the publisher, 30 percent for Apple), but also allow them to distribute their subscriptions directly from their websites, where no revenue will be shared with Apple.
Due to its popularity, the term “app store” (first used by Apple’s App Store for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad lines) has frequently been used as a generic trademark to refer to other distribution platforms of a similar nature on both mobile devices and other platforms such as smart TVs. The model has done so well in and become so recognized by consumer markets that businesses have begun developing and deploying their own, branded app stores for their employees and customer populations. However, Apple has asserted trademark claims over the phrase, and filed a trademark registration for “App Store” in 2008. In 2011, Apple sued both Amazon.com (who runs the Amazon Appstore for its Android-based devices) and GetJar (who has offered its services since 2005) for trademark infringement and false advertising regarding the use of the term “app store” to refer to their services. Microsoft filed multiple objections against Apple’s attempt to register the name as a trademark, considering it to already be a generic term.Unlike the apps that come standard on the iPhone, apps downloaded from the App Store can be removed by the user at a future date
Because Apple’s App Store is for consumers, companies are unable to distribute in-house apps on the App Store. Under Apple’s iOS Developer Enterprise Program companies can publish in-house apps to “employees” using an Enterprise App Store.