Every era in history seems to have its theme. At the turn of the twentieth century through the middle of it, that theme often seemed to be war, with many of the planet’s most powerful nations waging conflicts that would go on to be known as World War I, World War II and the Korean War. The period that followed these wars was defined by transformation with countries across the world declaring their independence and social mores being transformed and questioned by a new generation of young people. Perhaps the theme that will define the current era at the turn of the twenty-first century is a disruption.
Technology, which has always been a constant throughout human history with the creation of tools such as the analog radio, the telephone or even the older technologies that were developed to perform functions such as irrigation would suddenly go on to change everything in the industrialized world. Technology transformed communication by making it instantaneous and enabling messages to cut across social hierarchies and demographic silos. It took the telephone, perhaps the greatest development with regard to human communication and, arguably, improved upon it, by uprooting it from its static position in a house to the pockets and purses of anyone who could afford a monthly phone contract or an alternate payment arrangement. The mobile phone made communication much more convenient than it had ever been. And perhaps when observers of technological development thought that the telephone could no longer be improved upon they perhaps found themselves confounded by the introduction of the smartphone which might be seen as an improvement upon the standard cell phone.
How The Smartphone Revolutionized Cell Phones:
The smartphone brought with it features such as high-quality cameras and introduced the world to the mobile app. While software and computer programs have always been around the smartphone made them much more efficient and accessible. Consumers would no longer have to sit in front of a computer in order to access technology that made their lives much easier they could instead access technology from the comfort of a powerful computer that was in their pockets known as their smartphone.
The smartphone has given rise to accessible computer programs for nearly everything from simple programs that allow people to draw pictures, to programs that allow individuals to use their mobile phones like flashlights or social photo sharing apps such as Instagram that allow users to post and share pictures.
Through the smartphone, mobile software development went from being an industry that was nonexistent at one moment in history to be a multi-million dollar industry staffed by scores of highly trained and inventive programmers. Apps themselves were an improvement upon computer programs because they distilled complex programs down to a small set of useful functions that created value for a user in a very clear way and branded themselves in ways that were appealing to users.
Today the process of creating mobile app development software has become a distinct and valid profession in its own right. Many organizations have cropped up to train programmers in the art and science of creating computer programs for mobile phones that will make consumers’ lives far easier.
The iPhone Application Development Era
If the theme that will define the early twenty-first century is the word disruption then the symbol of that disruption would arguably be the smartphone. That symbol would not necessarily be just any smartphone, it would be an iPhone in particular. The iPhone is a product of one of the most lauded consumer brands in the world of technology. Arguably it was Apple that ushered in the era of the mobile phone app through its production of the iPhone.
Qualities That Set The iPhone Apart
Apple has made a name for itself by developing consumer technology products that are known for their beauty, both in appearance and the functionality of their design.
The iPhone was perhaps one of the first models of smartphone that introduced the public to the concept of having a multi-functional and multipurpose telecommunications device. The company’s phone and app store became a market leader that arguably the android attempted to catch up to as the iPhone and its creators shaped the marketplace and laid the groundwork for the thriving mobile app industry that we know today.
The iPhone’s app store helped to transform the idea of what a mobile phone could be. While other technologists and product designers had added features to the smartphone that included features such as a built-in camera that could rival a stand-alone camera or a ticker that alerted the user to the temperature or the local weather, Apple’s app store allowed the mobile phone to become something more than that.
The app store laid the foundation for the mobile app industry that employs scores of developers around the world. According to the news publication, The New York Times Apple’s app store turned the smartphone into a technologically advanced “Swiss Army [knife]” for the twenty-first-century citizen. The attributes of the smartphone that allow people to live lives that are more convenient and efficient are commonplace but in the history of technology and civilization, they are relatively new.
It was the iPhone and the app store that laid the groundwork for the app industry by creating one of the very first marketplaces and by improving upon the distribution systems (smartphones) through which users actually accessed mobile apps. The Apple app store might be considered a disruption within a disruption. According to a 2009 article published by The New York Times, the app store marked a pivotal change in the technology market. The article quotes an analyst who compared the iPhone and the app store to the transformative impact that AOL had on how consumers’ used the internet. iPhone mobile apps were among the first to transform the cellular phone into something more than a handheld telephone. They transformed the mobile phone into an iPod, a library, a storefront and a chat room.
Android Software Development
While the iPhone was the first to lay the groundwork for the mobile app industry the android phone and android app developers are catching up. Apple was one of the first companies to capitalize upon and pioneer the concept of mobile apps. While Android phones may not necessarily have the same focus on design that iPhones have they helped to further democratize apps by making them available to a large number of users.
While iPhones have proven to be a market leader in the world of smartphones android phones and the apps that are hosted on them are available to a much bigger population than iPhones are. According to the Savvy App blog, there are more android phone users than there are iPhone users around the world. This means that developers that choose to specialize in creating mobile apps for Android phones will naturally be able to have their apps reach a much larger audience than if they simply limited their app to the iPhone’s app store.
There are many advantages that come with choosing to cater to an iPhone user as a developer. One tech expert noted that iPhone users tend to be more affluent than Android phone users and as a result typically have more money to spend on an app. Whenever a developer takes on the challenge of creating an app they must answer the question of how they will sustain the app in the long term. After all keeping an app running in tip-top shape means that an app must be able to support a team of programmers and developers who can keep it running smoothly for the people who are using it. Smartphone users download apps so that they will be able to complete various tasks that enhance their lives. An app cannot that is unable to run properly cannot deliver on the value proposition that it promised to the people who downloaded it. To that end figuring out how to fund an app and develop a business model that will sustain that app is key.
Pros and Cons of Developing iPhone Apps vs Android Apps
- The benefit of developing an app for the Apple app store that targets iPhone users is the fact that iPhone users tend to be more likely to pay for an app which opens up a revenue stream that can create income for a developer and their team.
- While the option of having a paid app certainly exists for developers that work on android application development many android app developers might find themselves choosing to pursue other revenue streams in order to make their apps work. According to a tech expert, many android apps are funded through ads as opposed to subscription fees or one-time payments.
- The upside to this is that a free app that is ad-supported is often accessible to a much larger number of users. This allows an android app developer to get their work in the hands of many people and to have the satisfaction of knowing that their work is making people’s lives better.