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National App Day

Chances are high that you have a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch, and that means you likely use apps on a daily basis as well. An "app" is short for "software application," which is a type of computer program. Today an app usually refers to those used on mobile devices, but it initially referred to those on desktop computers as well. Apps became common on cell phones after phones were equipped with internet capability, touchscreens, and processing chips. They gained prominence with the release of Apple's iPhone in 2007. The Apple OS 2.0, released in 2008, had about 500 apps. The American Dialect Society made "app" their word of the year in 2010, and the popularity of apps continued to increase during the following years. Today there are about 2 million apps on the Android and Apple platforms, and thousands of new apps come out every day. Apps have changed how we live, transforming work and leisure. New jobs and companies have stemmed from them, and they have shifted culture and promoted creativity and innovation. They are celebrated today because of their importance in this regard.

There are three types of apps: web apps, native apps, and hybrid apps. Web apps use mobile web browsers instead of being located directly on mobile devices. Native apps have a special source code, are geared for a specific mobile platform, and are thus used on certain devices. Hybrid apps have characteristics of both of the other apps. Early apps focused on organization assistance, such as email, calendar, and contact databases. Apps today are commonly used for communication; to access music, films, and books; for travel, assisting with finding food and transportation; to play games; and to help with organization and other tasks at places of employment. They are usually downloaded from a distribution platform—an app store—operated by the owner of the mobile operating system they are used on, such as App Store (iOS) for Apple or Google Play Store for Android. There are independent app stores as well, such as Cydia, GetJar, and F-Droid. Some apps are free, while others must be paid for. National App Day was created by CJ Thompson of Platinum Edge Media, a company that creates mobile apps.

How to Observe

The creator of the day has urged observers to post what their favorite app is on social media using the hashtag #NationalAppDay, and to include "why you couldn't imagine life without it." You could also celebrate the day by spending the day with some new apps from Google Play for Android, Apple's App Store, or Microsoft Store.

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