App is short for application, meaning software program, and the App Store is a single, centralized catalog of every authorized iPhone add-on program in the world. In fact, it’s the only place where you can get new programs (at least without hacking your phone).
You hear people talking about the downsides to this approach: Apple’s stifling the competition; Apple’s taking a 30 percent cut of every program sold; Apple’s maintaining veto power over apps it doesn’t like.
But there are some huge benefits, too. First, there’s one central place to look for apps. Second, Apple checks out every program to make sure it’s decent and runs decently. Third, the store is beautifully integrated with the iPhone itself.
There’s an incredible wealth of software in the App Store. These programs can turn the iPhone into an instant-messaging tool, a pocket Internet radio, a medical reference, a musical keyboard, a time and expense tracker, a TV remote control, a photo editor, a recipe box, a tip calculator, a restaurant finder, a teleprompter, and so on. And games—thousands of dazzling handheld games, some with smooth 3D graphics and tilt control.
It’s so much stuff—2.2 million apps, 200 billion downloads—that the challenge is just finding your way through it. Thank goodness for those Most Popular lists.
To check out the App Store, tap the App Store icon on your phone. You arrive at the colorful, scrolling wonder of the store itself.
Until 2017, you ...