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How LTE kills the Apple App Store

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

All too often the ‘next’ big thing is right in front of our faces all the time, yet we somehow can’t see it. It’s very hard for even the most diehard techies to grasp that whatever you have today, in terms of technology, will look something like a covered wagon in less than 10 years. Look at this Nokia 7210 handset, it was one of the hot sellers in 2002, a mere 10 years ago. You laugh looking at it today.  But everything you know is going to change again.

It stands to reason that my iPhone 4s will in a period of 10 years have more memory, more computing power, faster download speeds and an array of I/O capabilities than today. It is also most likely I will find myself connected more easily and reliably such that the days of wondering whether how many “bars” I have will seem pre-historic. We will laugh about how we used to have to ‘scan’ for a Wi-fi zone to log on to.

The mobile industry is missing, or seemingly unaware, of a great movement that has been occurring in the PC world. Namely, none of us want to install new applications on our desktop/laptop computer. We now expect all applications for the most part to run within the browser. What’s setup.exe? We also don’t seem to want to store anything locally, preferring network storage. It’s the whole movement to cloud computing (duh). Somehow the mobile industry isn’t adopting this change.

The average smartphone user has 24 applications installed on their phone. Ironically, they seem to be using only about 12 on any regular basis (according to stats). Do you or I really want more applications littering our phone?  To get an application for most phones, you have to go to a central repository operated by Google or Apple.  Apple is busy telling us they want to protect my little iPhone from ‘bad’ applications and ensure quality and make things easy.

Doesn’t this sound a lot like the rhetoric that we heard from America Online & CompuServe? A closed community is best, right?

With the advent of LTE to your mobile handset, applications won’t need to be stored locally on your handset, they can simply be blasted in via the network on a demand basis and in a matter of a few seconds.  How you use applications will change dramatically as well.  Imagine your typing in the URL for United Airlines and magically the application runs on iPhone and disappears as soon as you leave. Why should United Airlines try and convince Apple to put their app on their store (it’s free) and why is it Apple’s job to feed us this app?

It’s no wonder that Apple is in no big hurry to put LTE on the iPhone 5, it’s the end of the App Store for them and with it a huge potential source of revenue.