This week, Austin Texas is the center of the technology universe. The foremost digital media and tech companies will debut their latest products, hottest new features, and leading-edge concepts for the future. Entrepreneurs will arrive at SXSW Interactive to compete in pitch competitions and test the mettle of their start-up ideas. SXSW is one of the moments each year when ideas, people, and funding come together to explore what’s next in technology.
No doubt, a cornerstone of every SXSW conversation will be how mobile technology is defining our digital lives. Those attending SXSW will arrive in Austin with multiple mobile devices in tow and position their mobile devices at eye level for the next five days. The social discovery apps that exploded in popularity last year will help attendees find a restaurant for a quick pitch meeting or the location of that Oreo after-party buzzing on Twitter.
Mobile entrepreneurs will huddle to discuss the apps they’re building, or thinking of building. What are consumers struggling with? How can we make it easier to discover music, art, culture, commerce, and even get dry cleaning? That’s the magic of our moment in mobile technology. Before 2007, an app store was more properly described as storage for a job application. Today, the apps economy is creating jobs in the hundreds of thousands. The ubiquity of apps – and our reliance on them – is captured in Mobile Future’s new infographic: All About Apps.
After launching the App Store in 2008, it took nine months for Apple to reach the one billion download mark. By the end of 2013, two billion apps will be downloaded…every week. Long lines mark the launch of many mobile devices and consumers will wait hours in line to buy the latest tech gadget. Today, consumers are lining up to download apps. One week after launching, the app Mailbox had one million people waiting to make the download. The average mobile user has more than 100 apps they use to organize their lives, connect on social networks, and pass the time with games. Those apps generated $18 billion in revenue last year, and are on track to reach $46 billion in 2016.
With more than one million apps submitted to Apple each year, and millions more across the other platforms, it’s clear that mobile is reconfiguring today’s technology landscape. At work and at home, at SXSW and across America, mobile devices are essential tools and our connection to what’s next. It’s all about apps here in Austin, and if you swipe across that screen in the palm of your hand, you’ll be reminded why.