The Apple App Store fifth anniversary is upon us, which we can thankfully celebrate with a bunch of free apps. Even though the company's software marketplace clearly has affected the iPhone, and later the iPad, the App Store has had a strong affect on all computers. It's important to remember on the Apple App Store fifth anniversary how big of a game changer it was for the iPhone -- providing (what we know now as) iOS with its first set of third-party applications. On the Apple App Store fifth anniversary, 50 billion app downloads later, their store is the most popular.

In 2013, various app stores like Google Play, Windows Marketplace, and Blackberry App World have followed in the footsteps of Apple's. While Android comes close, none of the storefronts offer quite the selection Apple's does. Though the fact that every other handset maker has created app stores of their own speaks to how significant it's been for Apple.

The Apple App Store fifth anniversary may prove the ecosystem's maturity but it almost never came to fruition. As part of Steve Jobs' vision initially, the iPhone originally ran only first party apps. Third party applications were to come in the form of web-apps. While some applications such as Gmail are able to run online at the same capacity locally, other apps -- such as games -- would need access to run locally in order to provide the best performance.

The company announced its first software development kit (SDK) in 2008, allowing developers to create apps for the platform. Initially Apple didn't allow third party applications in order to preserve battery life and stability. Using a system that would close out the app and kill any background processes, Apple was able to bring newer apps to the system.

Once it was clear the App Store was a success, it was clear this was the direction Apple wanted to go all along. Nothing signified this more than when the company brought over the app store idea to the Mac. The Mac App Store provided an easier way to download applications that didn't involve downloading a disk image and figuring out the rest. For users it provided ease of use; for Apple it provided control.

Not every app store following Apple's exhibits the same level of control. Google's, for example, allows any app to be part of their play store. While the iPhone offers a level of stability that in theory may not be possible on Android, there is something to be said for a more open ecosystem.

On the Apple App Store fifth anniversary, it's important to remember that while third-party apps is a huge reason the iPhone is an attractive offering, it almost didn't exist. Even though there are some compromises us iOS users have to deal with in using the App Store, overall it was a win. Unless you're Nintendo or Sony that is.

How are you celebrating the Apple App Store fifth anniversary? Let us know down below!

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