25 July 2016 Tenaka

The traditional notion of “going online” often evokes images of a desktop or laptop with a full complement of features: large screen, mouse, keyboard, wires aplenty, and a dedicated high-speed connection. Fortunately, this is no longer the case: smartphones are hitting back with a tasty knuckle sandwich – and the secret ingredient is apps.

Over 2 million apps have been created – the bulk of them being divided between the two battle giants, Google and Apple. Internet stats put Android in the lead in the downloads department  and Apple ahead in revenue. The app phenomenon has painted a new face on how internet is consumed, and as a result, for the first time ever there are more gadgets in the world than people.

According to GSMA (Groupe Spéciale Mobile Association) intelligence, the number of active mobile devices is around 7.19 billion, leaving no confusion as to how mobile apps have insinuated their way into our daily lives. Apps like Pandora Internet Radio, Candy Crush and Google Translate are at around 1 billion downloads each, which tells us in no uncertain terms how valuable they are. Pokemon Go was released just the other day: an augmented reality platform that has taken countries by storm. Pokemon has been popping up everywhere, leading users on quests and, frankly, changing lifestyles – kids are suddenly out in the neighbourhood. On July 8, only two days after the app’s release, it was installed on 5.16% of all Android devices in the US. If that figure doesn’t raise your eyebrows, how about this: by Thursday, July 7, the app was installed on more US Android phones than Tinder… Is virtual reality better than sex? Over 60% of those who have downloaded Pokemon Go in the US are using it daily.

Of course, these days apps don’t rely solely on smartphones to live: platforms like Apple TV and Apple Watch are dishing them out left, right and centre. Not forgetting the internet of things – look at how apps are improving the efficiency and safety of driving. Whether you are rooting for Apple or Google, cutting-edge apps are the order of the day, served up for humans to consume. If music is food for the soul, then apps are undoubtedly food for the brain… or is it the heart? Oh well, who cares, as long as they are served.