Remember Apple’s ancient television commercial regarding the iPhone App Store? “There’s an app for that.” Indeed. Both the App Store and Google’s counterpart, Google Play, have a few million applications and sales are going up faster than iPhone or Android smartphone sales.
That means we are buying more applications than ever, at least according to the folks who track such things, but I wonder how accurate the data is because only Apple and Google know for sure and they’re not saying much. Regardless, my own personal survey says I have more apps on my Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch, and Apple TV this year than the year before.
The question to ask other than “Are you really buying more apps?” is “Why are we buying more apps?” The former seems obvious based on everyone’s math, and the latter implies we agree but don’t necessarily know, well, why. 2018 marks the 10th anniversary of Apple’s App Store for iPhone. Apple says its customers spent $240-billion in the App Store back on January 1, 2017. That’s more than a year ago, so we can be certain that recent App Store sales are beyond record levels again.
Why? What’s going on? Why are we cluttering up our devices with ever more apps? Are we becoming more efficient and productive? Or, have we littered our Apple toys with ever more abandoned applications?
So many questions. So little time.
To answer some of my queries I started with the Mincey household. Everyone here admits to having more apps now than ever. Why? Some of the purchases are games. Other purchases or downloads are alternatives to existing apps. For example, we use Amazon’s Alexa app, too. And, we’ve added new browsers that block ads and trackers, and even downloaded a few ad blocker apps for Safari.
2017 was the year I tried and kept a few iPhone and iPad keyboards. In addition to Apple’s built-in keyboard and the emoji, I have three others but still use only one at a time. Our office has mandated Microsoft Office so that means even more Microsoft applications. The iPhone’s camera has begun to compete against entry-level DSLR’s so I have a few more camera apps this year than last year.
Software developers worry about a thing called feature creep, but we users are feeling the pinch of application creep. Apps seem to breed. My wife has added even more apps to her iPhone because Target, CVS, and other retailers don’t seem to have as much love for Apple Pay as customers think they should. Even our banks have apps. So do the local television stations.
That we have more apps on our devices than ever, and that growing list includes the Mac and Apple TV, is a foregone conclusion. The problem should be obvious. God didn’t give us a few extra hours each day to use those new applications so something must give. I just don’t know what it is yet.