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Normalization of early adopter syndrome

Sep 13 2021

Clued in by Daring Fireball about a recent NYTimes article on the Game changing nature of the iPhone App Store. There are a number of good quotes in the article, but the one Gruber pulled was the one that made me think:

“Our goal is very simple: We want to have the best platform for applications that there has ever been on any product,” notes Mr. Schiller, the marketing executive. “We know we’re not perfect, but we know we’re better than anything else that has been and we want to keep improving it.”

He’s right too. Of course the app store has issues—often of the highly annoying and stupid kind. However, it has succeeded to do something remarkable. In the article, Craig Moffett says “The iPhone will be remembered as the first true handheld computer.” However, he’s missing half the story:

The iPhone app store is amazing not because of all the things it allows a phone to do—just ask any iPhone hater and they’ll name a number of features that it’s missing. What is truly remarkable about the app store is how it’s normalized the process of searching for, finding, purchasing, installing, and even upgrading applications.

In the world of computers, it’s only the geek and the early adopter who even thinks about new software. Whereas, the average user seldom installs any new software. Your normal user will often use what’s already installed or what IT (or their son/daughter) installs for them, and they are also often terrified of upgrading anything. The iPhone app store has changed the all this. This is why the app store is a game changer. Suddenly the audience for shiny new applications isn’t just the computer know-it-all, it’s anyone.

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