Where do you get your apps? For the Mac, we have choices. Mac App Store, and third-party app developers. We download the apps, install the apps on our Macs, use the apps accordingly. What about iPhone, iPad, and Watch? Not much different. Each has an App Store. We download and install the apps we use.
What could change? The number of steps. For now, as it has been since PCs became of age back in the day, apps are installed on and run on our devices.
What could change is that center step. The download.
In just a few decades we’ve seen internet speeds increase sufficiently that all our apps come from an app store or developer somewhere online. We download, we install, we use. What if the internet became so fast there was no need to store apps on our devices?
Tap an app icon and the app would instantly connect itself to the cloud. Any files created or managed by the app would also be saved on the cloud. That last one, of course, happens already. I use iCloud and Dropbox, and backup files on both and Amazon S3 (plus a couple of ancient Mac hard disk drives).
Miguel Vital thought of something similar in The Cloud Is The Future Of Software Delivery. Except, that’s how apps are delivered today already.
Salesforce invented the software-as-a-service model in the early 2000s, and there has been a slow rumbling of progress ever since — from Amazon to Microsoft and beyond. While we are still in the initial years of this transformation, SaaS and the cloud are now integral parts of the change.
Microsoft, Adobe, and others are in on the trend. We subscribe to their suites of apps, they provide the updates and manage everything. We just use the apps.
From there it gets more complicated. Does cloud computing mean we don’t have apps on our devices? Or, are the apps we have and use simply mini-apps that connect to the main apps on the cloud?
I see this happening already.
Back in the day I helped migrate Mac360 from a Mac to a Linux server. That meant we had to manage not just the website, but the server architecture, too. Today, it all sits on a much larger platform with shared resources so no matter how many websites are added to the Villagers group, we have enough server horsepower to handle it all.
This kind of cloud migration happens first to business, then to the rest of us, but you can see it on the horizon. Where do we store our photos? Photos app, right? Maybe not. I keep mine on iCloud.
How we use apps will change because how we use apps now is constantly changing.