Today, July 11th, 2009, we celebrate the 1 year anniversary of the iTunes App Store. As of today the app store contains over 56,801 apps and has hosted well over a billion app downloads. I asked some of our writers to look back over the year and discuss how the app store and iPhone apps in general, had changed their mobile usage and their lives.

Read on for our thoughts, screen shots of our home screens, and our favorite apps.

Donna Harrison

I have always utilized technology extensively in my work, but with the iPhone I feel that Apple has captured lightning in a bottle. It is simply a physically beautiful, intuitive and powerful piece of technology that enhances my life personally and professionally. The iPhone's applications only serve to make it even better. In terms of entertainment and productivity, the App Stone has added infinitely to the iPhone's functionality. I never considered switching from my Palm based Treo until the App Store. The ability to have medical information at my fingertips, kill 10 minutes or half a day on a great game, track food, car repairs and nearly anything else in my life make my iPhone and its applications an irreplaceable part of every day. I eagerly await future development.

Favorite Apps: Facebook, Splash ID, Pocket Informant, Huffington Post, Epocrates, TextFree, Yelp, Shopper, Peggle, Koi Pond, Stone Loops of Jurassica

Christine Morris

This last year, the App Store has become a part of my life. It has changed the way I do things, in many aspects (personally, professionally...). For me, it means there has been a serious amount of fun, connecting with friends & family and of course, being able to keep current with world issues and steer clear of boredom!

The app store has given me ways to keep in touch with family and friends abroad Through Skype. It has also brought me many new friends and colleagues through Twitterfon. Those apps have made it so much easier now to communicate. I am able to connect at all hours (zzzz I'm tired now) and it really enforces the ideal that there is no such thing as far away.

Equally the great games keep me & my sons busy and in constant competition with each other. (I'm sure I still dominate the highscores!) Additionally, there is never a bored moment with Ted on tap and Evernote to make voice / text / picture notes which sync with my desktop application. Lastly, meetings are far less boring when I whip out the Nametag app and put something inappropriate in it instead :D -- I'll let you think of your own inappropriate terms to type into it.

This year my faves & keepers have been - and believe me, this has been a difficult decision, I love so many apps: Skype, Twitterfon Pro, Evernote, WildWest, Flight Control, Harbor Master, Lux Touch, Nametag, Archie Comics, Ted

Jason Philo

I enjoy having apps that make some aspect of my life easier, have a high reuse value, and otherwise add value to my device. Before I had an iPhone I was on the Blackberry Pearl. I was happy with the Pearl; it was my first smartphone and I loved being able to get email wherever I was. I bought my iPhone November of the year it came out and thought it was cool. It was no different in functionality from the Pearl, but was easier overall to use. Then the next year 3rd party apps were available and this made the smartphone competition an entirely new game. Now I've got important info at my fingertips—games to entertain my sons in emergency situations, the latest news in easy-to-read formatting, the Psalms, a dictionary, and all my to dos in my pocket. So when someone asks me about a Blackberry now my only reply is, “A Blackberry huh? What is that?”

Favorite Apps: Byline, Gas Cubby, Textfree Unlimited, Things, Facebook, Instapaper Pro,, Tehillim, Shopper, iShabbat, iBomber, Flixster

Kyle Flanigan

Almost every application on my iPhone is there to keep me updated with what's happening in the world. Be it through friends on twitter or to the latest stock trading news; it's an endless stream of data that keeps me on top of the game. This is the great feature about the iPhone - and more specifically with the new push notifications - you can be anywhere, and as long as you have reception there's no stopping the information coming to you. As someone who studies Politics and Economics - having the latest information and figures at a finger-tap make all the difference. And as someone who has recently started trading, I can keep track of everything, everywhere. I'm not all that boring though (honest) - who doesn't enjoy a few quick games on their iPhone? I'd be lost without my iPhone - and I'm pretty sure it'd be lost without me.

Favorite Apps: Tweetie, WifiTrak, 1Password, iTrade, AP Mobile, NotifyMe, BeejiveIM, Real Racing, Snooker, RunKeeper

Will Raskin

My iPhone, since the addition of the App Store, is truly my all-in-one media device. No longer do I have to have an iPod, a phone, and a portable game console, I simply have the iPhone. The ability to quickly find a nearby restaurant, to stream live internet radio, or to instant message with my friends is only a few taps away. While the added functionality is impressive, the best part of the App Store, to me, is the games. While App Store games started out as quick five minute time-wasters, some have evolved into incredibly deep and immersive gaming experiences. The games have changed the way developers think about games, and they have changed the way I think about games as well. It’s the little things—if you want to steer a car, you simply turn your device rather than use a clumsy analog stick. There are games for those five minutes I spend in line at Starbucks every day, but there are also games I can play for two hours and not want to quit. Overall, Apple’s mega-store truly fulfills its oft-repeated mantra: "There's an app for just about anything."

Favorite Apps: Facebook, Agile Messenger, Pandora, Superpages, Rolando 2: Quest for the Golden Orchid, Sway, Castle of Magic, Doom Resurrection, Baseball Slugger, Zenonia

Glenn Head

The App store has cranked up my iPhone usage to another level.

The iPhone, pre-app store, was great, but the moment the App store was born the game changed. The store is untouchable in terms of ease of use and quantity of apps. Yes, there is a bucket load of rubbish in there - think fart apps - but there are joyful apps in the store that ordinarily would have no business being on a phone.

Who would have dreamt that your phone would become your do-it-all device?

My iPhone was always going to be a great organisational tool for me, but what I didn't expect was how it would usurp my Nintendo DS as my portable gaming platform of choice. The iPhone isn't perfect for gaming, but it is very good - and getting better daily. The fact that your mobile phone is with you all the time is its biggest benefit, and it's that omnipresence which puts it above the DS for me. Why bother carrying a DS when I have an iPhone that scratches my gaming itch equally well?

You can find an app for almost anything. Here are some of my favorites.

Wunder Radio, MLB At Bat 2009, ChessGenius, Mecho Wars, Stanza, Bookmarks, Evernote, Facebook, Ultimate Todos, Star Walk

Chris Hall

It’s really quite amazing how the iPhone has changed my life over the past year. I can remember a point in my life, not so long ago, where I could go a whole day without my phone. Other than talking to people on the phone, which I’ve found to be overrated, what do I really need a phone for? Well Apple, just like they do with everything else, created a need for me to always be on my phone. Because of the iPhone and its beloved app store, I stay connected to my friends all over the world with Twitter, I can beat people halfway around the world in Baseball Slugger while I’m not busy (aka. in the restroom), and... I guess most importantly, I have a job. The iPhone for me, along with many other iPhone writers and developers, is a gateway into everyones childhood dream of creating something awesome. It’s become an essential necessity in my life, and life is good.

Here’s a glimpse in to my typically daily app usage: Tweetie, Baseball Slugger, Pandora, Slacker Radio, MLB At Bat 2009, Yelp, Remote, Trivial Pursuit, Doom Resurrection, Shazam

Jeff Scott

For me, it's all about organization, information access, and just plain connectivity. I've always been an organization nut and that's been the main usage for my mobile phones from the Palm, to Windows Mobile, back to Palm, then to the iPhone. The ability to have access to my data, wherever I was, and like never before was very compelling. The mobile phones in the past have never really done everything I wanted them to do. The iPhone, really being a powerful mobile computer, can finally do nearly everything I want it to. I, like many, also enjoy the occasional game. The app store offers over 10,000 games more than just about any other platform and way more than any other mobile platform. I've found a fair many that I really enjoy.

Here are a few of my favorite Apps: Tweetie, Flight Control, OmniFocus, Groceries, Real Racing, Zen Bound, Instapaper Pro, Darkslide, Touch Grind, Blue Defense, Fieldrunners, AutoStitch, Sketches, MotionX GPS

What the next year has for us we don't know. What we do know is that it will be exciting.

How has the app store changed your life? Let us know in the comments.

Posted in: News
Tagged With: Apple, Iphone, Anniversary, AppStore
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