What’s an App?

Mobile 101:  This post is part of our educational series on mobile technology.  If you are new to the smart phone/app arena, this series is a good place to start.

What’s an App?

The term “App” is short for application.  Apps are little bits of software that live on your phone – designed to enable you to easily do an endless number of things from your phone like checking the weather, finding movie times, taking photos, or reading the news.

Beck (age 18 months) and my iPhone

My 1 year old son is obsessed with the apps on my phone.  He knows that if he gets antsy enough in a restaurant, my phone will show him Sesame Street.  He drags his sticky fingers across my screen as he video chats with his Aunt Anne.

The other day, my wife found him holding her phone and softly whispering “Anne?, Anne?”.

Where Can You Get an App?

You typically get an app through an app store.  There will be an app store icon installed on your smartphone.

App Store on an iPhone

Tap on the app store icon. Do a search for whatever kind of app you are looking for, tap install, and it downloads within seconds.

Steps to get an app on an iPhone

Many apps are free to $.99 while some can cost north of $10.

Can’t I Just Use the Web?

Smartphones are leading the change in how we connect to “the internet.” Phone and tablet screens are typically smaller than computer monitors, so most websites are clunky to use via a phone.  Compare the screen shots below:

Kayak WEBSITE on an iPhone

Kayak APP on an iPhone

Apps work better than the web on phones because, well, apps were designed for phones. They’re faster and more functional way to complete a task.

Apps Aren’t Going Away

Apps are growing even faster than the ridiculous growth of smartphones. Mobile app downloads are expected to grow from 11 billion downloads this year to 77 billion in 2014 (a SEVEN-FOLD increase).

The marketing machine for apps is starting young, and ain’t stopping. Just ask my son.

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