What did people do in waiting rooms before mobile applications? On train platforms? In boring meetings and bad first dates? Ten years ago, before Steve Jobs introduced us to the Apple App Store, how did people manage?
I know what you're thinking. Another useless millennial that's been spoiled with technology.
But if you think about it, I bet most people would be a bit lost nowadays without their phone, and without its apps. It has to be one of the most important business innovations of the past decade.
A concept brought to us by Apple back when the iPhone graced the shelves (yes actual shelves in actual stores, that's how long ago,) the Apple App Store was an industry-changing concept that has been widely attributed to the success of the technological giant. A concept that has changed the way we do pretty much everything.
Dating, travel, shopping, ordering food, providing feedback, renting, buying, selling, using public transport, communicating... the list goes on. And on. And on and on. We use apps for everything. It’s changed the way we interact with people, business, and arguably the world in general. There are significant changes in things we interact with on a daily basis thanks to the world of mobile applications.
Two major examples spring to mind: the world of banking, and communication.
I live in London, and, so, like the majority of my Londoner neighbours, I am originally from a different country. I remember making long distance phone calls, making sure to keep the conversation short so as not to spend too much money.
Now, thanks to WhatsApp, FaceTime, Skype, Facebook, and Instagram, scrolling through the various feeds on my various phone applications almost feels like I’ve made a microsecond trip home. I know whats happening with my family and friends in just a quick glance. No minute counting over here.
And remember when you had to keep receipts to track how much money you were spending per month? I mean I don't–I’m 24–but I’m sure lots of people do. Nowadays, most banks come with an app that allows us to track our spending, freeze cards, and even open new accounts on the app. Apps that tell you how much money you can spend at the pub tonight. Apps that help you save. Apps that help you spend. Then the introduction of things like Monzo and Loot–where the bank and card work for the app rather than the other way around, and of course, ApplePay. Banking is arguably an industry that has been forced to change the most because of the introduction of apps.
Like a ripple effect, this inevitably changes businesses. How annoying is it when you're online shopping and you can't just check out with ApplePay? Filling out card details is now such an arduous process, like needing a physical map to find your way around, or actually calling people; these things that used to be an expected normality. Business–both B2C and B2B–have had to rapidly evolve in the past decade due to the changing way people consume.
I write this on a Pages app on my phone, on a platform at Baker Street, because yesterday I used the Milkround app to search for a new job. I’ll send it off using the Mail app, and then check CityMapper to make sure I’m at the right part of the platform. Then I’ll check the weather for the weekend, book a table at a restaurant tonight, message relevant people about relevant things and mindlessly scroll through Instagram while I await my train; and it’s not yet 9 AM.
Seriously, what did people do before apps?