Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/09/the_app_store_is_five_years_old/

Apple: Ta for blowing £££s on apps, fanbois. Now we've set them FREE

Woz still waiting for Cupertino idiot-tax giant's next tech breakthrough

By Jasper Hamill

Posted in Applications, 9th July 2013 07:27 GMT

Apple is marking the fifth anniversary of its app store by doling out free software and games.

In a move that may anger anyone who's shelled out for one of the titles, Apple has made them available gratis in the run up to Wednesday's big day.

The fruity firm has yet to discuss its plans for the anniversary, but it likely the game-changing online store will be celebrated in some meaningful way. Although the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was initially opposed to smartphone apps, the shop has fostered a huge mobile software engineering sector.

The games being given away for free include Tiny Wings, Infinity Blade II and Badland. Pick them all up and you've saved almost ten quid - although you will have spent far more than that buying an iPhone, iPod or iPad to use them.

A smart little DJ app called Traktor will also be given away for free, which will prove particularly annoying to peeps - including your humble hack - who spent more than a tenner buying it.

Once upon a time in the Age Before Angry Birds (ABAB), there was no such thing as the Apple App Store. Fanbois and fangurlz were cruelly forced to splurge their money on other useless stuff. Since then, the software market for mobile gadgets has exploded. According to Gartner, online bazaars run by Apple, Google and others will be worth at least $25bn this year alone.

A recent study by analytics firm Flurry found that smartphone users spend two hours and 38 minutes per day fondling their gizmos, 80 per cent of which is spent using third-party apps.

So what has Apple been doing in the five years since introducing the App Store? Not very much - at least, since the death of Steve Jobs - said the fruity firm's co-founder Steve Wozniak. He claimed that Apple had gone into a kind of creative coma since its godhead shuffled off his mortal coil.

"I think Apple is in one of these waiting periods waiting for the next big direction," he said last week.

"You can't expect a whole new incredible revolution of a category of existing consumer electronics, you can't expect that every year. If you could have one every year it would be quite a surprise."

Most recent Apple announcements have involved selling a slightly modified version of stuff designed when Steve Jobs was still alive, although fanbois and fangurlz are hoping to see an iWatch in the not-too-distant future. ®