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
35 months ago
I really miss Steve Jobs.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Radon87000 Avatar
35 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
35 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
35 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
35 months ago
Steve Jobs got things wrong sometimes. It seems people have forgotten that.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
xnu Avatar
35 months ago
I miss him. I always enjoyed every time he spoke about any topic. Thank you Steve.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

new m1 chip

M1 Mac RAM and SSD Upgrades Found to Be Possible After Purchase

Tuesday April 6, 2021 5:34 am PDT by
Technicians in China have reportedly succeeded in upgrading the memory and storage of the M1 chip, suggesting that Apple's integrated custom silicon for the Mac may be more flexible than previously thought. Reports of maintenance technicians being able to expand the memory and storage of M1 Macs began circulating on Chinese social media over the weekend, but now international reports have...
sonny 2021 ipad mini pro dummies

Leaked Dummy Units Show iPad Mini 6 With Thick Bezels and Home Button, New iPad Pro Models

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:11 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple will release refreshed versions of the iPad mini and iPad Pro models in the first half of this year, potentially as soon as this month, and a new leak today has provided us with a possible preview of what to expect in terms of the devices' overall design and camera prospects. Tech leaker and Apple blogger Sonny Dickson this morning shared images on Twitter showing dummy ...
apple music for artists new icon

Apple's Revamped Apple Music for Artists Icon Leads to Speculation About iOS 15 Design Plans

Tuesday April 6, 2021 1:03 pm PDT by
Apple yesterday updated its Apple Music for Artists app with some minor bug fixes and improvements, but also one other notable change -- a new icon. New icon on the right The Apple Music for Artists app now features a simpler, streamlined icon with a pinkish red music logo rather than the multicolored logo that was used before. The icon also has an embossed look that makes it stand out from...
iPhone trade in

Apple Adjusts Trade-In Value of iPad Pro, iPhone 11, and Select Mac Models

Monday April 5, 2021 1:54 am PDT by
Apple has adjusted the trade-in values of a number of its products, including the majority of the iPad and Mac lineup, while also making some changes to iPhone. Apple's trade-in program allows customers to trade-in older devices, and receive a certain amount of value for them, to use towards a purchase of a new device. The exact trade-in value a device has is measured by its condition, when ...
samsung galaxy iphone

Samsung's 'iTest' Lets You Try a Galaxy Device on Your iPhone

Thursday April 8, 2021 12:42 pm PDT by
Samsung has launched "iTest," an interactive website experience that's designed to allow iPhone users to test out Android on a Galaxy device, or "sample the other side," as Samsung puts it. The iTest website is being advertised in New Zealand, according to a MacRumors reader who came across the feature. Visiting the iTest website on an iPhone prompts users to install a web app to the Home...
apple find my network

Apple Announces Find My Network With Support for Third-Party Devices

Wednesday April 7, 2021 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today announced the launch of its Find My network accessory program, which is designed to allow third-party Bluetooth devices to be tracked in the Find My app right alongside your Apple devices. According to Apple, the first accessory companies to take advantage of the new Find My integration include Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof, with devices set to be available beginning next week. ...
Intel MBP Is Thin and Lighjt

Intel Ad for 'World's Best Processor' Features a MacBook Pro

Wednesday April 7, 2021 9:51 am PDT by
Intel has been on a relentless marketing drive against Mac computers in recent weeks, positioning them as inferior to Windows laptops powered by Intel processors. In a slight slip-up, however, Intel has accidentally used a MacBook instead of a Windows laptop in one of its newest ads to promote one of its new 11th-generation chips as "the world's best processor." The ad appeared on Reddit and ...
tmobile 5g modem

T-Mobile Launches Unlimited 5G Home Internet for $60/Month

Wednesday April 7, 2021 2:18 pm PDT by
T-Mobile today hosted an Un-carrier event where the company announced the launch of a a new 5G home internet plan, which is priced at $60 per month and offers unlimited data. The service is available to more than 30 million Americans across much of the United States, including 10 million households in rural areas not typically able to access reliable broadband. Connectivity will be either 4G ...
iPhone 13 Notch Feature

Mass Production of A15 Chip for iPhone 13 Set to Begin Ahead of Schedule in Late May

Tuesday April 6, 2021 7:29 am PDT by
Longtime Apple supplier TSMC is set to begin mass shipments of Apple's upcoming A15 chip for the iPhone 13 ahead of schedule at the end of May, according to a snippet of a full report set to be published tomorrow by DigiTimes. The new chip will be based on an enhanced version of the 5nm process, which first debuted in the A14 Bionic with the 2020 iPad Air and iPhone 12 lineup. While the full ...
Whatsapp Feature

WhatsApp Testing Ability to Transfer Chats Between iOS and Android

Tuesday April 6, 2021 12:37 am PDT by
WhatsApp is testing a new feature that will allow users to transfer their chat history, logs, and transcripts between iOS and Android devices, making it easier for WhatsApp users to switch between the two platforms. The new future, in the early stages of development, was brought to light by WABetaInfo, who often shares unreleased and hidden features behind the chatting service. According to ...