Ten years ago, the iPhone app store was almost a year old and was very much in the Wild West in the software development world.
Some software vendors saw the opportunity to get rich quickly with cheap gimmicks, while others made efforts to convert venerable websites or desktop programs into mobile applications. Others still came up with completely new ideas that last even now.
By looking back, we can learn how the App Store matured and evolved. The novelty applications that thrived when the iPhone itself was a novelty that was finally endowed for sophisticated games. Other applications are so popular that Apple has incorporated its features into iOS, effectively making them independent products. Ideas that have been maintained for a longer time have benefited from the backing of technology giants, such as Google and Facebook, or have been maintained through years of feature updates.
We have used archive.org and its March 2009 snapshots of the AppShopper app website, compiling a list of the most popular applications for the free and paid categories. We chose this from Apple's "Best Apps" list of the time, because they better represent what people were doing with the App Store, rather than what Apple wanted people to do. We also excluded the games (they are probably an article for themselves) and ignored a couple of applications that were essentially clones of others.
Even if it's been years since you used any of these applications, you probably remember many of them. Here they are, starting at the bottom of the AppShopper rankings and moving up to No. 1.
15. MySpace Mobile
Description of 2009 App Store: "If you love MySpace, you'll really love MySpace Mobile for iPhone, just download the free application to stay connected with your friends … anytime, anywhere!
What he did: It allowed MySpace users to update their profiles, see the status of their friends, manage friend requests and more.
Last update: May 7, 2015, by AppShopper
State 2019: The MySpace, which was once powerful, was already down in 2009, so it could be forgiven for launching an application that looked like a rudimentary mobile website. Even so, it is possible to imagine an alternative reality in which MySpace anticipated the era of the smartphone and reinvented itself in time. Today, MySpace is still technically close, although its website is only a little bit for syndicated articles and embedded YouTube music videos.
Description of 2009 App Store: "The next time someone wants to waste time doing something you do not like, take this application and explain that you only have 17,147 days, 9 hours, 31 minutes and 9 seconds of life, and we just can not afford to lose more of that" .
What he did: Age and gender were used to calculate life expectancy according to the US. UU Actuarial Life Table of the Social Security Administration.
Last update: March 11, 2009, by AppShopper
State 2019: The App Store was full of new applications like this in its early years, few of which have lasted. Although the developer Joseph Kumph released several more, they are already gone, probably due to the end of the 32-bit application support. Kumph is now CEO of the office lunch automation service.
13. whiteboard whiteboard
Description of 2009 App Store: "Create unique art with this useful utility. Sometimes a person's artistic skills are not enough. Combine your painting with the blackboard! It's a fun application with many potential uses. "
What he did: It allowed two iPhone users to draw on a single canvas via Wi-Fi.
Last update: May 17, 2015, by AppShopper
State 2019: GreenGar, the developer behind Whiteboard, closed in 2014. Despite 15 million downloads and $ 1 million in total revenue, CEO Thuy said he could not discover how to scale the business. The possible increase in iOS productivity applications and subscription-based services could have helped, perhaps Whiteboard was ahead of its time. As a lung cancer survivor, Muoi has become the founder of a support group for cancer patients in Vietnam.
12. Zippo virtual lighter
Description of 2009 App Store: "The Zippo virtual lighter opens with a movement of your wrist and turns on with a twist of the thumb. The windproof flame moves when you move your iPhone or iPod Touch and when you try to turn it off.
What he did: It created a flame sensitive to movement on a customizable virtual lighter.
Last update: November 3, 2008, by AppShopper
State 2019: A perfect example of boom and bust in the App Store, Zippo's virtual cigarette lighter application had reached 5 million downloads in 2009, and the company had big plans, such as in-app purchases for lighter designs and ready for concerts. close. (No signs of laughter ever happening). A decade later, the Zippo app is much less ambitious, it no longer has purchases within the application, and it has not been updated since 2016. The original developer, Skyrockit (formerly called Moderati). In addition, it no longer participates, and seems to have moved from a brand entertainment agency to a developer outsourcing company.
11. Free Wi-Fi
Description of 2009 App Store: "Why pay for Wi-Fi when there might be a Wi-Fi point near you? The free Wi-Fi locator helps you find free Wi-Fi hotspots wherever you are. "
What he did: Provided locations and addresses for thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the United States.
Last update: December 1, 2010, by AppShopper
State 2019: While the Wi-Fi hotspot finds that applications still exist, it may have been compromised in the 32-bit apocalypse as developer ideas about other projects. It's not that you need a Wi-Fi search application anymore; The 4G LTE connection of your phone and the built-in access point capabilities are probably faster and more secure than a random access point anyway.
10. The time channel
Description of 2009 App Store: "Leave it to The Weather Channel, the most trusted brand in the climate, to deliver the perfect weather application for your active lifestyle!"
What he did: Weather forecasts and maps based on the user's location are offered.
Last update: May 14, 2019, according to the App Store.
Description of 2009 App Store: "Succeed in losing weight with Lose It! Set goals and establish a daily calorie budget that allows you to meet them."
What he did: Let the users count on the food they have eaten and the exercises they have done.
Last update: May 21, 2019, according to the App Store
State 2019: In the last 10 years, Lose It! it has become a sustainable business with 35 million users and more than 500,000 premium subscribers who pay $ 40 per year for additional features such as fitness tracker integration and nutritional knowledge. It's probably no coincidence that you lose it! It is one of the most important applications in this list.
Description of 2009 App Store: "You see a wallpaper image when you unlock the iPhone or when you're on a call with someone for whom you do not have a high-resolution photo."
What he did: Basically, it served as a search engine for Flickr, allowing users to download images to the Camera Roll. Due to the limitations of iOS at that time, users can only add custom wallpapers to the lock screen, while the home screen requires a black background.
Last update: March 21, 2014, by AppShopper
State 2019: Although the developer Stylem Media finally released versions for iPad and Android, none of its applications is already available, and its website shows only the Node.js logo. Wallpaper applications still exist in 2019, but the best ones preserve their own collections and communities instead of simply uploading Flickr photos.
Description of 2009 App Store: "You'll be surprised how easy it is to access all of the landmarks, historical sites, cultural sites, natural areas, famous buildings, sports facilities, recreation areas and more in a way that really speaks to you. teacher or professional guide always by your side! "
What he did: Provided audio tours for thousands of destinations around the world.
Last update: May 23, 2013, by the App Store.
State 2019: The application is still available today, with design conventions prior to iOS 7 and all, although it is not clear what was the developer. However, the HearPlanet website does not respond and its Facebook page stopped abruptly updating in 2013. However, the biggest business opportunity was there: a company called OnCell allows museums and other cultural sites to create their own tours of audio, and recently it has swallowed a couple of competitors.
Description of 2009 App Store: "The lantern fills your screen with a bright white light to illuminate your world when you're in a dark place or at a concert."
What he did: The screen turned white, because the iPhones did not get an LED camera until the iPhone 4 in 2010.
Last update: August 15, 2017, by the App Store.
State 2019: The flashlight is still with us, with a store rating of 2.3 out of 5, and strange features such as strobe modes, customizable screen colors and color patterns. However, you can archive the entire category of the flashlight under "applications that are mostly obsolete due to the native features of iOS". Users have been able to start the LED flash of the iPhone directly from the Control Center since 2013.
5. Pandora Radio
Description of 2009 App Store: "Pandora Radio is your own FREE personalized radio now available to stream music on your iPhone."
What he did: It generated Internet radio stations based on the sound profile of a particular artist, song or composer, when it was still a novel idea.
Last update: May 13, 2019, according to the App Store.
State 2019: Although Pandora anticipated the idea of transmitting music on smartphones, her dedication to the Internet radio format made her crawl through the increase of on-demand streaming services such as Spotify. (Pandora's on-demand offer only arrived in 2017). Meanwhile, Pandora had great difficulties as a public company, and was acquired by SiriusXM last year. However, it is very popular among music fans and, at present, it is the third free music app for iPhone of the Apple clbadification.
4. iHandy Level Free
Description of 2009 App Store: "This could be the most beautiful level you can have in your hand, unlike other levels in the app store, it's fully functional with calibration capability, it's accurate after calibrating.
What he did: I used the iPhone accelerometer to emulate the physical tool to find horizontal planes.
Last update: May 16, 2017, by the App Store.
State 2019: iHandy Level is the proof that even a basic utility application can survive if Apple duplicates its functions, which offers an integrated level in the Measure application. The free iHandy alternative is part of a larger set of measurement tools sold for $ 2 in the Store application, and ranks 24th among utility applications. Now, manufacturers just have to wait for Apple not to add a plummet, a conveyor and a steel ruler.
3. Google Earth
Description of 2009 App Store: "Hold the world in the palm of your hand. With Google Earth for iPhone and iPod touch, you can fly to far corners of the planet with just one finger swipe. "
What he did: It provided the same satellite and aerial images as the Google Earth desktop application, along with the ability to tilt the application up and down.
Last update: April 15, 2019, by the App Store.
State 2019: What used to be a novel application has become a powerful exploration tool with 360 degree views, information cards and VR support. However, strategically, it is not as important as the other iPhone apps that Google has launched since then, such as Gmail, Calendar and YouTube.
Description of 2009 App Store: "Take on the world with your own multi-touch armory. Includes pistol, submachine gun, RPG, badault rifle, shotgun and sniper rifle and multiple blast sounds. "
What he did: Made weapons noises.
Last update: It is unclear, but Archive.org was last saved on the AppShopper listing page in August 2009
State 2019: The fact that a generic sound effects application can climb so high in the App Store rankings is a testament to our collective fascination with applications in general in 2009. These days, we probably have better things to do; You can find a sound application that achieves any sort of clbadification of the App Store.
Description of 2009 App Store: "Facebook for iPhone makes it easier to stay connected and share information with friends."
What he did: It allowed Facebook users to view and post status updates, upload photos and send Facebook chat messages.
Last update: May 23, 2019, by the App Store.
State 2019: Facebook's initial success on mobile devices came despite a terrible web application, which the company replaced with a faster native version. A decade later, the company's big bets on mobile devices have paid off more and more, and Facebook's application seems more resilient than ever; Despite more than a year of security and privacy scandals non-stop, Facebook is still No. 3 The social networking application on iOS at the time of this publication (headed only by Facebook Messenger and probably flash-in-the- YOLO bread).
Description of 2009 App Store: "AIM® allows you to be connected with people who are directly interested in your iPhone or iPod Touch. AIM is more than an instant messaging service, it's a better way to connect. "
What he did: It allows users to exchange text messages with friends over Wi-Fi, Edge or 3G networks.
Last update: July 24, 2017, by AppShopper.
State 2019: AOL Instant Messenger closed definitively in 2017, but it had already become one of the greatest opportunities in technology of previous years. In retrospect, it's easy to see how AIM had a great advantage like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, but AOL executives did not recognize what they had and let the service languish as the new social networks took hold.
14. iFart Mobile
Description of 2009 App Store: "IFart Mobile is the ORIGINAL digital sound system and entertainment system that provides infinite laughter and fun to its users."
What he did: Simulated the adjustment of the gas in a variety of tones and timbres.
Last update: January 12, 2017, by the App Store.
State 2019: It could be said that the most enduring novelty application of all time, iFart Mobile is ranked 46th in the entertainment category of the App Store until the time of this article. It also maintains its original initial price of $ 1.99, just in the antiquity of the ads and purchases within the application. We could get all kinds of lessons from the continued success of the application, from the importance of jumping into an early trend to the value of good marketing (a Jimmy Kimmel Live! The segment presented the application only a year ago), but the main conclusion is that flatulence will never cease to be fun.
13. Koi Pond
Description of 2009 App Store: "Imagine looking at a pound or crystal clear water. Bright, playful image of koi swimming through its shallow depths. So close . . Can you touch them? "
What he did: He simulated a koi pond with rippling water effects and fish that would react to his touch, along with soothing sound effects.
Last update: September 11, 2009, by AppShopper
State 2019: Although Koi Pond was a game, the underlying concept eventually became gamified by applications like Pocket Pond, and the idea of relaxing with virtual fish probably became more niche than the iPhone's game catalog. Meanwhile, its developers have moved to other things, and the original application does not seem to have survived the end of 32-bit application support.
Description of 2009 App Store: "IFitness is a complete database that provides clear images and instructions, all within the palm of your hand."
What he did: Provided with a list of workouts with photo instructions and an exercise log.
Last update: December 15, 2010, by AppShopper.
State 2019: Apple launched iFitness from the App Store in 2011, amid accusations that the developer had upgraded the app's rating with fake comments and downloads. Soon after, the application returned with the name of Full Fitness, and although it has not been updated since December 2016, it still occupies its place in the Health and Fitness rankings of the App Store. It is one of the rare applications on this list whose main functionality, in this case, tracking physical status, has become more popular in iOS over time.
11. MotionX GPS
Description of 2009 App Store: "MotionX-GPS is the leading GPS application for the iPhone. More than a million iPhone users have chosen MotionX. "MotionX-GPS is for driving, biking, running, hiking, walking, geocaching and surfing."
What he did: Let users see where they have been on a map, navigate to landmarks with a compbad and record other route data, such as travel time, pace and altitude.
Last update: October 24, 2017, by the App Store.
State 2019: While the eventual arrival of Apple Maps and Google Maps caused problems for many third-party GPS applications, MotionX has focused on outdoor uses such as hiking, biking and navigation. Currently it is the fourth in the ranking of the application store for navigation applications.
Description of 2009 App Store: "This hilarious game of vision is totally interactive and behaves like a real glbad of beer thanks to the sensors of the iPhone and our free time."
What he did: The users made themselves seemed to be drinking beer through their phones; It also supports shaking the phone to get foam and pour beer from one phone to another.
Last update: December 11, 2017, by the App Store.
State 2019: Hottrix, based in Las Vegas, was a manufacturer of theatrical accessories before finding gold in the App Store. And while other trick applications have come and gone since those early years, iBeer has kept, in part, leading imitators to court. (Hottrix sued Coors for its iPint application in 2008, and sued Hersheys for a virtual application of milk chocolate in 2010, and reached quick agreements in those cases). To date, iBeer & # 39; s has been downloaded more than 90 million times.
9. Get MMS
Description of 2009 App Store: "At last! The process to receive an MMS on the iPhone has been simplified, start receiving MMS messages now !!
What he did: Help users download multimedia text messages from the AT & T website before the iPhone supports MMS natively.
Last update: July 7, 2014, by AppShopper
State 2019: Get MMS falls directly into the category of single-purpose applications that have become obsolete due to iOS enhancements. Apple added support for MMS in June 2009 with iOS 3.0, and the AT & T network was ready to handle it in a few months later. After that, stick to MMS for a while, mainly for the original iPhones that never got the proper MMS support, but without any other remarkable feature, their destination was effectively sealed.
Description of 2009 App Store: "Tweetie is a fast and complete Twitter client for iPhone and iPod touch, offering everything you would expect, from your timeline to trends, all with an incredibly polished user interface, fantastic performance and unparalleled ease of use." .
What he did: Allow users to access Twitter through a native mobile application before Twitter has one; Introduced to the "pull to update" gesture that has been widely copied by other applications.
Last update: July 1, 2009, by AppShopper
State 2019: The original Tweetie stopped receiving updates in 2009, but the second version, released as a separate application later that year, was acquired by Twitter and became the official Twitter application in 2010. These days, the creation of unofficial Twitter clients is almost as fruitful, since developers can no longer include automatic notifications or automatic update timelines. As for the creator of Tweetie, mobile application design guru Loren Brichter left Twitter at the end of 2011.
Description of 2009 App Store: "PocketGuitar turns your iPhone or iPod touch into a virtual guitar. You can press and play strings, like a real guitar. "
What he did: He simulated the guitar with a handful of different styles and effects.
Last update: November 3, 2014, by the App Store.
State 2019: The application still exists, and still sells for a dollar, although it has not really evolved in the last decade. It's hard to say if PocketGuitar would be more successful with more features, but the arrival of Apple's own GarageBand on iOS probably makes it unnecessary for most amateur strummers.
6. Bikini Blast
Description of 2009 App Store: "What a wonder! Bikini Blast offers hundreds of dazzling bikini wallpapers for your iPhone, with new photos added every day."
What he did: Spicy photos ("duly authorized and used with permission of the copyright holder") were provided for download.
Last update: September 10, 2009, by AppShopper
State 2019: Bikini Blast was probably swept away by the great bikini ban of 2010, which no longer allowed applications with "overtly badual content". While Apple created some exceptions for major media companies, it was effective to keep deafness out of the App Store Top download charts.
Description of 2009 App Store: "Have your own virtual girlfriend on your iPhone for less than the price of a cup of coffee or a beer, and shake it!"
What he did: Shown in a 3D model of a woman who would dance and speak in response to gestures and touches. It had the distinction of being named one of the worst iPhone apps of all time by Appolicious in 2010.
Last update: January 10, 2011, by AppShopper.
State 2019: Despite, or because of, some negative media coverage, iGirl boasted more than 50,000 downloads in early 2009. However, mediocrity can be very guilty because of the impending crash of the application. When it was that iGirl left the App Store, nobody seemed to notice.
4. Shotgun Pro
Description of 2009 App Store: "Now you can also keep a weapon in your lap at all times, with SHOTGUN PRO, choose from five exclusive armor shotguns, pump your iPhone or iPod touch from side to side to bad, then raise your hand to compensate for the mbadive recoil Lock and load, baby.
What he did: He made shotgun sounds.
Last update: May 15, 2012, by AppShopper
State 2019: With time, Shotgun Pro tried to achieve achievements and unlockable elements, but it does not have the attractiveness that they used to have. That said, the free version of this application still exists. (It has been updated since 2012).
3. CBS Sports NCAA March Madness On Demand
Description of 2009 App Store: "For the first time, as of March 19, CBS Sports Mobile: NCAA® March Madness on Demand® (MMOD) BEGINS ANY WI-FI GAME from the first round to the NCAA® LIVE Championship."
What he did: Stream video and audio live from the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
Last update: March 12, 2009, by AppShopper
State 2019: This application would not have reached the range if our snapshot of the app store ratings was not from March 2009, but still offers a look at how sports broadcast applications have changed in the last decade. The $ 5 price of the application would be unheard of now, as would the Wi-Fi requirement only for live video. And most importantly, television networks have become more and more about giving away March Madness currents. In 2019, he had to log in with a pay TV provider to see more than a few hours of coverage.
2. Textfree Unlimited
Description of 2009 App Store: "SEND FREE TEXTS from an iPod touch or iPhone to any US mobile phone. Answers come free too!
What he did: Send user messages to other TextFree users with only a small amount of mobile data.
Last update: March 2, 2011, by AppShopper
State 2019: Ten years ago, text messages were so expensive that people were willing to pay $ 6 just to escape the operator's SMS fees. And while operators finally complete and begin to include unlimited texts in most plans, dedicated messaging services have been available to fill other holes in the SMS experience. Textfree can be used with older applications (including free and premium options) with a single free application, which remains available today. Its most notable feature is its ability to choose a phone number.
Description of 2009 App Store: "ColorSplash allows you to give your photos a dramatic look quickly and easily by turning them into black and white, while keeping the chosen details in color."
What he did: He returned the photos to black and white, then allow users to brush an area to restore color.
Last update: December 15, 2018, according to the App Store.
State 2019: It is appropriate that this list ends in an element that exemplifies what the App Store does best. With the simple and affordable Color Splash software, it democratized the types of effects that were previously required in Windows PC or Mac and some Photoshop abilities. That, along with a steady drumming of software updates, can explain why, 10 years later, it's still available, with a 32th App Store ranking among photo and video applications.