Ahead of the App Store’s fifth anniversary on Wednesday, July 10, Apple has launched a new promotion that includes five “groundbreaking” iOS apps and five “landmark” iOS games; these apps will be available for free for a limited time to celebrate the first five years of App Store. Apple has posted an official page with links to download the apps and games on iTunes.
Here’s the tweet from the official App Store Twitter account:
— App Store (@AppStore) July 9, 2013
There’s something about seeing the words “innovative” and “landmark” in such close proximity to “free” that really brings home the fact that Apple just isn’t interested in enabling sustainable businesses on the app store. This celebration is not about developers; it’s about users getting treats for having adopted the platform.
To be clear, Apple has been public about this for a long time. David Barnard sent me this screen capture from the 2010 WWDC keynote when Steve Jobs introduced iAd:
As David wrote in the accompanying post
The pool of time users spend on smartphones is staggering and growing rapidly, but it is not infinite. The more time people spend with useful/entertaining free apps, the less need they have to actually pay for apps. That doesn’t mean people will never pay for apps — the market for paid apps has continued to grow alongside free and freemium apps — but users have been conditioned to expect more and more for less and less.
It seems they’ve been conditioned correctly; after all, every user just got “five innovative apps and five landmark games for free.”