Today Andrew C. Stone might best be known for his iOS app Twittelator selling millions of copies on the iOS App Store. But in 1990, Andy was building and selling apps via the Electronic AppWrapper, the very first App Store, made entirely on the NeXT Computer.
Andy will be interviewing for AppStorey and telling us the whole story about how all of this came to be. To learn more about Andy, check out his website.
First we must imagine a world without smartphones, without a web to surf…a world where in order to get software, people had to drive to a store called EggHead. Life was nasty, brutish and short. This was the world that Andrew C. Stone was born into, and in 1988 he just wasn’t satisfied.
Some people are just always on the cutting edge. Some of us just can’t help but to do the next thing, even if it may be years ahead of the rest of the world and largely misunderstood.
Andy Stone is one of those people.
When Andy first saw the NeXT… well it was no different than handing Michelangelo an iPad. He saw opportunity for innovation, and as an independent software developer he was perfectly poised to invent for it. Like giving an astronomer a highly advanced telescope, there’s just going to be a period of discovery, and giving Andy access to the NeXT Computer was no different.
“October 12, 1988 – Computing Advances To The NeXT Level” — Steve Jobs, Introduction of the NeXT Computer at Symphony Hall in San Francisco.
Andy created some of the first commercial Apps to ever ship for NeXT, such as the stunning TeXTArt application. He was also first to put his Apps on the very first App Store, which Andy and others like him openly lauded as a critical invention for independent software developers. It was.
Today, Andy continues that tradition of electronic distribution with Apps for sale in the iOS App Store — some 20 years after his works including Create, DataPhile, 3D-Reality first hit digital store shelves. That just might make Andy the most long-lived perrenial seller of software via electric distribution on earth.
In a recent presentation to the Yosemite Cocoa programmers group in California, Andy talked about how crazy it is to have worked on iPhone “for over twenty years” and he tells us a little bit about how close modern iOS really is with its NeXTSTEP heritage.
“What I think’s interesting is that, in fact, I was getting into the iPhone 20 years ago [laughs] with the NeXT computer.” – says Andrew Stone, “actually, unbelievably, I’m working with the same language and APIs we were using twenty years ago.”
The mobile world relies on NeXT tools as much as it does the software that was developed and invented with those tools. Today’s mobile world relies upon the web to freely transfer information between computers, and the App Store to protect digital rights of artists like Andrew Stone. These are the legs of upon which the 21st century mobile world stands upon. This lineage and connection to NeXT is no coincidence, this is the heritage that made today’s Apple what it is.
“And what is weird is that…actually, unbelievably, I’m working with the same language and the same APIs that we were using twenty years ago – but they’ve matured into what we’re using on the iPhone today.” —says Andrew Stone, as interviewed by MacObserver
That’s how Andrew Stone began iOS development more than 20 years ago, and how he had apps in the App Store before you ever even knew what an App Store was.
Follow Andy on Twitter and if you’re interested in reading more great Andy stories, check out this article from Peter Cohen.
This was very the inception of the App age.
One computer ignited the dot-com boom, launched the mobile revolution and invented the first App Store.
A computer that made history more than it has been part of history. Until now. AppStorey brings you the Story of Andrew Stone, and many other revolutionary NeXT developers during this critical period in computer history.
One thought on “Andrew Stone was in the App Store 20 years before you”
You missed the real story about Stone’s apps. Hopefully The Intercept will run it one day.