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An iPhone user in China browses her home screen. Photo: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

Apple opened its App Store on July 10, 2008, with 500 apps.

Why it matters: The resulting explosion of phone apps — there are now more than 2 million for the iPhone alone — has changed daily life for billions of people around the world.

AP Tech Writer Michael Liedtke writes:

  • "At the time, mobile phones were largely a take-it-or-leave it proposition, with features programmed by their manufacturers and customization mostly limited to a choice between tinny electronic ringtones."
  • "During [the store's] first weekend, people downloaded 10 million apps — many of them games."
  • "Apple competitors Google, Amazon and Microsoft soon launched their own app stores. Together, these companies now offer roughly 7 million apps. Apple, meanwhile, has now sold more than a billion iPhones."

The big picture:

  • "Billions of dollars flowed into startups dependent on their apps, from Uber to Snapchat to Spotify to game makers like Angry Birds creator Rovio."
  • "Apple perhaps benefited most of all. Its 'free' apps usually display advertising or make money from subscriptions or other in-app purchases, while others charge users to download. Apple takes a cut of this action, sometimes as much as 30 percent."
  • "The app store is now the fasting growing part of Apple's business. ... The company says it has paid out more than $100 billion to developers during the past decade."

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
7 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.

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