Steve Jobs on the App Store in 2008: 'We Didn't Expect It to Be This Big'

Following the launch of the App Store in 2008, Apple CEO Steve Jobs sat down for an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

In celebration of the recent 10th anniversary of the App Store, The Wall Street Journal today published both the audio and transcript of that interview, where Jobs shares his view on the future of the App Store and the future of Apple.

stevejobsappstore
The interview took place in August of 2008, a month after the launch of the App Store. Even back then, just after its debut, the App Store's success surprised Jobs, who said Apple hadn't expected the App Store to "be this big." "The mobile industry's never seen anything like this," he said.

Within 30 days, users had downloaded 30 percent as many apps as everybody in the world downloaded songs from iTunes during the same period of time. Jobs said he could not even predict how many new apps would be uploaded by a particular date given the App Store's wildly popular debut.

I would not trust any of our predictions because reality has so far exceeded them by such a great degree that we've been reduced to spectators just like you, watching this amazing phenomenon and just doing our best to try to help everybody get their apps done and get them on the store.

In the early days of the App Store, Apple was criticized for high app prices. "It's a competition," said Jobs. "Who knew what to price things at?" According to Jobs, Apple didn't have advice for developers on pricing either. "Our opinions are no better than yours because this is so new."

Jobs went on to mull how the App Store could grow in the future as people adopted the iPhone and the iPod touch, speculating that it could be a billion dollar marketplace, which Apple has significantly exceeded. As of July 2018, developers have earned more than $100 billion from the App Store.

Who knows? Maybe it'll be a billion dollar marketplace at some point in time. This doesn't happen very often. A whole new billion dollar market opens up. 360 million in the first 30 days, I've never seen anything like this in my career for software.

Jobs said that he didn't expect the App Store would be a big profit generator, with Apple instead launching it to add value to the iPhone. Jobs was wrong, though, and Apple's services category is the size of a Fortune 100 company, largely on the strength of the App Store. In Q2 2018, for example, services brought in $9.19 billion and the App Store set an all time revenue record.

While Jobs was surprised by the success of the App Store, it didn't stop him from declaring that the "phone of the future will be differentiated by software," a prediction that has largely come true. Today, many high-end smartphones share similar features and designs, with software - iOS and Android - as one of the main factors that people take into consideration when choosing a device.

The entire interview with Steve Jobs is well worth listening to and can be found over at The Wall Street Journal.

Top Rated Comments

Tivoli_ Avatar
59 months ago
I really miss Steve Jobs.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Radon87000 Avatar
59 months ago
The best CEO Apple ever had and will have. Unlike a certain bean counter, you can really hear the passion when he talks.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
japanime Avatar
59 months ago
In the early days of the App Store, Apple was criticized for high app prices. "It's a competition," said Jobs. "Who knew what to price things at?"
Remember the "I Am Rich" app, which did nothing but was priced at $999.99? Good times. :D

Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Frank Dalton Avatar
59 months ago
Steve Jobs was a visionary and what Apple needed after the Gil Amelio debacle, but the best CEO Apple has ever had is Tim Cook.
LOL. No. Tim Cook was the best COO Apple has ever had. He is a terrible CEO.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lunarworks Avatar
59 months ago
Steve Jobs got things wrong sometimes. It seems people have forgotten that.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
xnu Avatar
59 months ago
I miss him. I always enjoyed every time he spoke about any topic. Thank you Steve.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

dewey airtag

Report Highlights Danger of Using AirTags for Tracking Dogs

Monday January 30, 2023 1:45 pm PST by
AirTags may be a convenient way for tracking dogs that might get off leash or otherwise lost, but there are dangers associated with the practice, as outlined by a report from The Wall Street Journal. At 1.26 inches in diameter, AirTags are able to fit easily on a dog's collar, but that size also makes the tracking devices small enough to swallow, at least for a medium to large-sized dog, and ...
Multi Display CarPlay 1

Apple Launching All-New CarPlay Experience Later This Year With These 5 Features

Sunday January 29, 2023 10:15 am PST by
In June 2022, Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay, promising deeper integration with vehicle functions like A/C and FM radio, support for multiple displays across the dashboard, personalization options, and more. Apple says the first vehicles with support for the next-generation CarPlay experience will be announced in late 2023, with committed automakers including Acura, Audi,...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Five New iOS Features Coming to Your iPhone Later This Year

Tuesday January 31, 2023 11:58 am PST by
Apple has previously announced several upcoming iOS features that are expected to be added to the iPhone this year. Some of the features could be introduced with iOS 16.4, which should enter beta testing soon, while others will arrive later in the year. Below, we have recapped five new iOS features that are expected to launch in 2023, such as an Apple Pay Later financing option for purchases ...
maxresdefault

Kuo: Apple to Release Foldable iPad With Carbon Fiber Kickstand in 2024

Monday January 30, 2023 12:55 am PST by
Apple will launch a foldable iPad with a carbon fiber kickstand sometime next year, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In a series of tweets, Kuo said he expects an "all-new design foldable iPad" to be the next big product launch in the iPad lineup, with no other major iPad releases in the next nine to 12 months. The analyst said he...
Apple Silicon Teal Feature

The Next Big Apple Silicon Device May Not Be a Mac or iPad

Wednesday February 1, 2023 3:57 am PST by
Apple's next device with an Apple silicon chip may not be a Mac or an iPad, but rather an advanced external display, according to recent reports. The display, which is rumored to arrive this year, is expected to sit somewhere between the $1,599 Studio Display and the $4,999 Pro Display XDR – but more exact information about the device's positioning and price point is as yet unknown. While ...
MKBHD HomePod 2 White Ring Stain

New HomePod Can Still Stain Some Wooden Surfaces

Tuesday January 31, 2023 8:29 am PST by
When the original HomePod launched in 2018, it was discovered that the speaker can leave white rings on some wooden surfaces. Now, well-known YouTuber Marques Brownlee has confirmed that the issue persists to a lesser extent with the new HomePod. In a side-by-side test, he showed that the white second-generation HomePod left a white ring on the wooden surface that he placed the speaker on,...
tim cook data privacy day

Apple Violated U.S. Labor Laws With Anti-Leak Email

Monday January 30, 2023 3:43 pm PST by
Apple violated United States labor laws when it sent out an email warning employees about leaking confidential information about the company, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said today in a ruling shared by Bloomberg. Rules that Apple has established around leaks "tend to interfere with, restrain or coerce employees" from the exercise of their rights under the National Labor...