Flash back four years, to January 9th, 2007. Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc., is standing before an audience at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, and unveiling the original iPhone to public eyes for the first time. There has been months of wide speculation and rumors, but nobody in the room has any idea that in just a few years’ time, the little device in Jobs’ hand will enable a wave of mobile applications that revolutionize the way consumers access and interact with content, and more importantly, from where they can do it.
Today, getting into the small squares of real estate on the home screen of a smartphone has become a primary objective of businesses and advertisers, creating a boom in terms of innovation and investment. Mobile applications (apps) allow users to access utilities, services, visual content, and entertainment, all from handheld, portable devices that aren’t limited by tether to a home or business internet connection.
The mobile app marketplace has become a crowded bazaar of competing vendors, all vying for one of the dozen or so square centimeters of space that a smartphone owner sees 200 times per day. A study commissioned by mobile app store operator GetJar reveals that the market will reach $17.5 billion by 2012, with up to 50 billion unique application downloads.
Realistically, the allure of the mobile app isn’t about the actual product or the service, – anyone can turn on their television or log onto the internet and experience the same content – but instead the ability to be accessible to the user from anywhere, anytime. Naturally, with improved accessibility come increased visibility and credibility, two things that every business desires. Mobile apps have become a powerful tool for keeping in step with the increasingly tech-savvy consumer.
The way we consume content has changed yet again, and as businesses feel the pressure to keep up with consumer behavior in order to stay relevant, we are experiencing the birth of an exciting new economy. As the app market floods with thousands of options for which icons may occupy those tiny squares, staying connected to consumers has never been easier, but neither has it ever been more competitive.