With mobile maturity comes the long tail of apps

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A funny thing happens as new technologies mature. Some pundits get bored and look for the next big thing — while others see an opportunity to proclaim the death of the incumbent.

In the case of mobile, 2018 marked the 10-year anniversary of Apple’s App Store and a decade since Google’s Android OS was launched. There are an astonishing four million+ apps available between the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Inevitably, as the app market has matured, the growth in app downloads in recent years has slowed — though by most accounts it is still growing (according to a SensorTower report, Apple App Store downloads increased 1.5% to 7.2B in Q4 of 2018, while Google Play grew 16% to 20.2B).

There’s no question that there can only be so many big-winner, mass-market apps. After all, as consumers, we only have so much time in the day to do online shopping at Amazon, scan our Facebook “feed” and binge watch the latest streaming series on Netflix.

These facts have led some to conclude that apps, as we know them, are on the way out. And, like clockwork, every few months you’re likely to read a doom-and-gloom headline like these:

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