In the early days of personal computing, there were a lot of different computers, each seemed to have a place in the world. Until one. The NeXT Computer. October 12, 1988, Computing Advances to the NeXT Level. So did Jesse.
Come with us, as we journey back to a time where jobs like graphic design were not yet part of computing.
Now, AppStorey brings you the true story of the web and the first App Store, along with all the tools and technologies brought together by this one computer. The NeXT Computer.
Today, Jesse is CEO of a successful iPad and iPhone software development company, the same company he founded as a NeXTSTEP development shop in 1995. However, it was not this startup this story is about. The startup company just before that, has quite a story to be told. A Seattle startup called Paget Press.
Jesse was born a startup junkie, and October 12, 1988, his eyes became glazed with NeXT fanaticism, he decided it was time to leave for the West Coast to find his startup software paradise.
He made it as far as Seattle.
But that was far enough, Jesse joined forces with his first true business partner, and along with her expert guidance and experience, together they helped create a software revolution.
Paget Press, was a software publishing startup, dedicated to NeXT computers and focused on independent developers. At this time in computer history, the financial requirement to put a software product into play was a major investment. As a consequence, much potentially valuable software never made it to market.
Paget wanted to change all that. By 1991, they had created the essential catalog of NeXT products, and provided publishing services to help smaller software developers create the packaging and documentation they required to bring their products to market. It seemed to be working.
Soon, we realized the printing and the books and packaging was the real problem. We had to solve the whole distribution system, electronically — Jesse Tayler, App Store inventor
It became clear that these printing services, the books and packaging itself was the problem.
And there was something else.
Independent software developers needed electronic software delivery; but that meant they also needed a way to protect their digital rights online and this was no simple matter.
This was the moment where Paget set about turning their popular printed product catalog, into the very first electric product catalog. As it is for so many startup founders, this was to be one of the most challenging efforts of their lives.
Paget realized that it had to create an “Application Storefront” or App Store and this means a novel standard in digital rights, one that allowed especially smaller, more independent developers a fighting chance to get their wares into the hands of users who needed it. This was only fair.
“By AppWrapper 3, we really had something working well, and that’s when I first demonstrated the App Store to Steve Jobs, he nodded, and said only ‘I like it’…” — Jesse Tayler for AppStorey
Creating the first Application Storefront was more than just listing software titles, or even indexing encrypted wares —this was a true interactive store that would unpack and install software, even update titles all while ensuring digital rights of those artists who created them. This is a seminal creation in the software industry, and a turning point in humanity’s journey of computing. The App Store would change the world in which we live forever.
This was such a new concept, Paget spent almost a year preparing their audience (advanced software developers and computer scientists) with charts, explanations and diagrams to help the engineers think of a world with electronic distribution. All for something where today, it would be hard to think of a world without.
As of 2016, Apple’s online application storefront (App Store) is the most profitable app marketplace on the planet. Thousands of new apps are downloaded each second, with a current average price of: $1.24 and 75% of all apps being free of charge. Just to note, exactly zero free apps were available on the AppWrapper.
This first App Store, The Electronic AppWrapper, was both a battle of encryption, and a landmark in digital rights.
It was created in the Public Market at Pike Place in Seattle Washington.
Starting with just 250 apps, The App Store has changed software delivery forever.
“[The] App Store has forever changed software and software distribution. Been a economic boon.” —Tim Cook, Apple CEO at WWDC 2015 “98 percent of all Fortune 500 companies creating an iOS app and the average person owning about 119 apps within their iPhone”
Jesse’s background in complex software systems and his innate love for invention, plus maybe a dose of naive altruism, brought out a team and company that would set in motion a new way to distribute and consume software. They created the very first App Store and put it to market.
Software has always been electronically transferred, and software encryption has always been part of computing.
So, what is an App Store?
Put simply, an App Store is any digital storefront intended to allow search and review of software titles or other media offered for sale electronically. Critically, the computer application hosting the storefront provides a secure, uniform experience that automates the electronic purchase, decryption and installation of software applications or other digital media.
The introduction of unified commercial software distribution catalog with a true application storefront to collectively manage and provide encryption for apps and media was a seminal invention. This is because by protecting the digital rights of artists online, the App Store provided the first economically viable, instant distribution mechanism unleashing an explosion of software adoption and creating an economic boom.
When compared to shipping boxes and printing user manuals, the pace and efficiency provided by the App Store is profound and has changed software distribution forever.
Interestingly, The Electronic AppWrapper was mostly apps with some music or other digital media, the iTunes Music Store was mostly music and some iPod apps. Apple’s Garage Band purveys digital music lessons sharing the same iTunes account as iOS AppStore submissions and hit songs from big Music Labels. Electronic bookstores such as Kindle, Barnes and Noble or Kobo are further examples of successful electronic distribution using the App Store concept.
The NeXT Computer technology ignited the dot-com boom, and provided the underlying mechanisms required for the mobile revolution of today, and yet it remains one of history’s least known computers.
Join us as AppStorey brings you the real, true story of the world wide web, the first App Store and the computer that brought it all together.