It’s been exactly a decade since Apple launched an online store where its customers could download iPhone apps, with the iOS App Store debuting on July 10, 2008.
The store offered only about 800 apps for download initially, but Apple said in 2008 that the store still saw more than 10 million downloads the first weekend after it went live.
Steve Jobs, Apple’s iconic co-founder and former CEO, called the App Store a “grand slam” after its initial success 10 years ago. And there’s no question that the App Store, and mobile apps in general, have been a over the past decade.
Today, there are more than 2 million apps available for download on the App Store and there have been more than 170 billion app downloads on the store over the past decade, according to app market research site App Annie. Meanwhile, major companies like Uber and Snapchat are now worth billions of dollars thanks to the popularity of their mobile apps, while tech giants like Facebook have seen most of their users migrate from desktops to mobile apps in recent years.
Apple’s App Store has come a long way in the past decade, which makes it interesting to look at the store’s most popular apps in its first year of existence. While some things never change — the Facebook app is always popular — several of the top apps at the time of the App Store’s launch are now nowhere to be found among the store’s most downloaded apps today.
Here are the five most popular paid iOS apps of 2008 (Apple does not reveal the actual number of downloads for each app):
- “Koi Pond”: a 99-cent “entertainment” app that offers a digital recreation of a relaxing koi pond, complete with swimming fish and ambient noises.
- “Texas Hold’em”: Zynga’s app for playing poker.
- “Moto Chaser”: a motorcycle racing game app that cost nearly $6 to download.
- “Crash Bandicoot: Nitro Kard 3d”: Activision’s $6 racing game
- “Super Monkey Ball”: a racing game from Nintendo where cartoon monkeys in transparent balls roll through mazes.
Today, none of these apps are in the top 100 of iTunes' chart for most popular App Store paid apps.
Here are the five most popular free iOS apps of 2008:
- Pandora Radio: Spotify didn’t launch until the fall of 2008, and Apple Music didn’t follow suit until seven years later, which is among the reasons why Pandora was the go-to streaming music app when the App Store launched. Today, Pandora is far behind it’s larger streaming rivals in terms of subscribers, as it loses money and listeners. However, the company’s app still ranks 21st among the App Store’s free apps in iTunes.
- Facebook: No surprise here. The social networking giant is still one of the App Store’s most downloaded apps, ranking sixth overall in 2017. Meanwhile, Facebook’s Instagram and Messenger apps ranked as the fifth and fourth most downloaded apps last year, respectively.
- Tap Tap Revenge: a music game where you gain points by tapping colored balls to the beat of a song.
- Shazam: The app that idntifies a song’s title, artist, and other information is now the 95th most popular free App Store download on iTunes.
- Labyrinth Lite Edition: A gaming app that’s a throwback to an old-fashioned game, where the player tilts the mobile device to guide a digital steel ball through a wooden maze.
At the end of 2017, Apple released its list of the most popular App Store downloads of that year, with the top spot going to Bitmoji, the Snapchat-owned app where users create personalized, digital avatars of themselves. Snapchat itself was the second most-downloaded app of 2017, as the messaging app boasts over 191 million daily active users. Google’s YouTube app was the third most-popular App Store app of 2017, with the three Facebook apps occupying the next three spots on the rankings, followed by Google Maps, Netflix, Spotify and Uber, respectively.
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