Last week the App Store turned 10 years. It has generated 40 billion dollars for Apple. The day it opened it had only 500 apps. “Let me just say it: We want native third-party applications on the iPhone, and we plan to have an SDK in developers’ hands in February,” Steve Jobs wrote. Those first 500 creators had the unique opportunity of shaping the design direction and interaction methods of the millions of apps created since. And there’s no question that the App Store, and mobile apps in general, have been a major influence on the world over the past decade.
Recently someone posted on Twitter how voice is not as the App Store was at that moment when it made the first developers of mobile applications millions ‘overnight’. In 2008, the 2 most famous apps were Facebook and Poker. A social network and a game. Let’s not forget that Facebook was around since 2004 as a website and did a semi-mobile transition, and a year before was available as one of the iPhone’s first web apps. They made available an already defined and successful product on mobile. Ebay, Yelp, the list continues. True mobile-first experience are apps like Instagram and Snapchat, didn’t exist for the first couple of years of the App Store. And most of the games that were top at the beginning might have made the monies, but they are not around anymore. Now you might tell me that no developer has become millionaire with skills. And your argument is right, the history timeline, however, is wrong. Voice is a complete new platform, you can not port Facebook to voice. You have to create a completely new experience in voice to have a social network and to have games.
Design in mobile applications is organized, predictable and constraint by the space in the phone. We don’t have those constraints for voice applications. Conversations can be as opened as the users want, they can use as many similar words as they want, there’s no list to select a value from. Is in the users mind. We are effectively hacking how we communicate to a deeper level. Conversation has other expectations as well, where context is very important. If we are talking about my mother’s car, and we ask about the doors then we ask about the painting, we both implicitly know we are still talking about the car.
All this challenges will be overcomed. I truly believe that once people get used to do certain tasks by voice, it will be frustrating for them to do it differently. Now we mention this frequently, voice-first is not only about voice, but that’s the subject for tomorrow’s episode! If you want to define how the next million skills are going to be designed, if you are a developer, a designer, a scriptwriter, an entrepreneur, bet on voice.
Thank you for listening. The transcript for this episode is available at our website voicefirstweekly.com/flashbriefing, and search for episode number 28. Have a productive, joyful day.