Since the iphone has been available developers have been beavering away with Apple's SDK to bring us unique and better apps every day.
In the beginning, when the app store first opened its doors, a couple of thousand apps were available for download. These early apps were a mixed bunch, some free, some paid for, some good, many bad but all had a purpose, be it very useful or a bit pointless, they all did something.
The growth and consumption of apps since initial release has been phenomenal and I think this is based on 2 main factors. The first, the ability for anyone with a Mac computer and internet connection to download the SDK, start developing and then release an app has given everyone an opportunity to get an app in the app store.
The second point is how we, the consumers, have had a growing hunger for these apps since day one of the app store. Maybe you're interested in game or news apps, social networking or entertainment, all categories are covered and there's something for everyone.
There are of course other factors such as the relatively low cost of most apps and things would never taken off if it weren't for the excellent, intuitive, user friendly platform Apple has created to run these apps.
But personally, I think the 2 points mentioned above are why apps are so popular and why they'll continue to grow rapidly in the next 3-5 years.
However, with this growth in apps brings problems for consumers. How do you find what top apps are available? You could look on the app store and check out the top 25 or latest featured apps. This is great and popularity often tells us we're onto a winner (eBay Mobile isn't in the top 25 because it's useless!). But I've discovered over the past few years that many of my favourite, most used apps weren't in any top ten lists, they weren't featured on the Apple site and they certainly didn't feature in any of those Apple adverts on TV.
These apps were hunted out, stumbled upon, emailed to me or simply recommended. These are the more obscure apps, the apps that are excellent in every possible way but haven't had the exposure they need to get noticed in the app store.
Looking at it from the other side, the rapid growth in apps makes it important to developers (especially to small, independent developers with limited marketing budgets) that they promote using all the marketing tips and techniques available. One of the most cost effective (and often free) ways of getting your apps noticed is by submitting them to app review sites. Review sites help consumers make informed decisions and get your apps noticed, especially if reviews are favourable.
You sometimes have to accept negative comments but these are mostly constructive and will help you with future app updates, helping you resolve any problems (on a major update you can even ask for the app to be revisited, potentially getting a higher rating)
Getting your app noticed will become even more of a challenge in the future. Hopefully, you're more aware of the need for app review sites. If you've developed an app and want some free marketing check out iphone app reviews and find out how reviews can help get your app noticed by the people who matter.