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Apple’s many app stores

There is no doubt Apple changed the world with the introduction of the iOS App Store back in 2008. It is a powerful example of an open platform beating a closed platform. 

Every time I want to criticize Apple’s IOS app store, I find myself restrained simply because if it wasn’t for the iOS app store, my work wouldn’t be as interesting and my phone wouldn’t be nearly as much fun and useful. 

So, thank you Apple.

An interesting thing about Apple is they have actually launched 4 app stores since the success of the iOS app store for the iPhone. 

1. they have a section of the app store for iPad only apps (ok, not quite a standalone app store but clearly they want iPad apps)

2. an app store for tvOS

3. an app store for watchOS 

4. an app store for iMessenger.

All of four products (iPad, AppleTV, Watch and iMessenger) are extremely popular with consumers. So it makes sense why Apple felt compelled to try the App Store model again and again.

But developers haven’t been inspired and for the most part third party apps for these four stores have been weak.

Apple made a bunch of announcements this week at their annual worldwide developers conference. Based on the announcements, I’m feeling really bullish on iPad apps (and of course iPhone apps) but the other non-iOS app stores/platforms didn’t get much love — so it’s hard to imagine developers getting excited as a result.

The one product that hasn’t led to an open platform/app store model is Siri. 

With the introduction of HomePod, I was really hoping we would see a huge upgrade to Siri and an exciting open platform for third parties. 

Yes, that would be the 5th app store for Apple but it could be the most exciting after iOS.