Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s App Store, which was launched in July 10, 2008, completes five years today. Initially, iTunes App Store was launched with 500 apps, including popular names like ebay, Facebook and Super Monkey Ball. Now, there are some 900,000 apps available with more than 50 billion downloads.

Apple

The App Store has “fundamentally changed the world,” Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook said recently. Fifty billion downloads is “a lot of zeros and a truly staggering number, for less than five years.”

Apple’s App Store – a game changer

The App Store has truly been a game changer that enhanced the popularity of mobile devices and led the decline of desktop and laptop computers. Popularity of apps has certainly played an important role in ending Microsoft’s long dominance of computing, says a report from USA Today.

With the advent of the App Store, app developers were able to convert dorm-room concepts into billion-dollar ideas. The App Store has also helped the then-struggling music service, Pandora to revive its fortunes. When the App Store was launched, Pandora had 13 million registered users compared to more than 200 million presently.

Android dominant but Apple iOS easier

When the App Store was launched, the iPhone was the most popular device. Then later that year, Google came up with its Android mobile operating system. As per the internet giant, some 48 billion apps have been downloaded from its Google Play store for Android devices. Now, owing in large to Samsung’s Galaxy S devices, Android based devices are more in use than iPhone.

As per the developers, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iOS mobile platform is much easier to handle than the Android platform. “There are clearly more Android devices, but that said, we see much more engagement and time spent on iOS,” says Steve Yankovich, an Ebay vice president. Android platform is tougher for developers as “You need hundreds of phones to know if it works on every new Android device, and that’s hard.”

What’s next?

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) takes a 30 percent cut from developers for offering their apps on its platform. Since 2008, the company has paid out $10 billion to developers. Facebook is the most downloaded app on Apple with Pandora at No. 2 followed by Instagram.

Majority of the apps are free while the paid apps range between $1 or $2, and games are the most popular paid apps. Developers follow a “freemium” concept, which is giving apps for free but charging for “in-app” purchases. For example, the popular game Candy Crush offers additional moves for 99 cents a pop. According to the experts these are much cheaper and have instant distribution than the software’s in PC era.

On the future of apps, Ebay’s Yankovich says that apps will become more advanced, something similar to a website, “Today you can’t build the Web experience into the app, but that’s coming.”