The launch of smartphones and app marketplaces changed some of the modern nomenclature as touch devices become more common and expectations of what an app and a program is – whilst the mobile route will continue to go down this route with the changing online space whether for streaming platforms delving deep into their own apps, utility companies and hospitality developing options, or even American casinos accepting uk players turning to online apps too as a way to deliver entertainment, it’s no surprise at all that operating systems would start to lean in to the same terminology, but is this creating some confusion for users?
The release of Windows 11 had certainly signaled this change more than any others before, opening the start bar shows all programs installed and directly lists them as apps to search through, as well as including the Microsoft store which will allow for the additional download of apps – something that has been noted by many users is that this can create a duplication of programs and apps that are used regularly – with some coming preinstalled or being available through the various stores accessible, and some being directly downloaded from a programs website instead.
In terms of any actual difference, there often isn’t any at all and it’s simply a new naming structure that has come about with the change seen in apps on our smart devices – programs that were created to serve a specific process were always called applications, however not labelled as such until recently which is where the new distinction has come from – again having came about around 2008 with the launch of Apples and Google’s own app marketplaces.
The biggest change this will look to continue to bring however is within how apps and programs are obtained in the future, previously many users would have a list of sites that they’d need to visit to download the software, or a USB drive filled with installers ready to go, but app stores could look to centralize this with accounts having the ability to save the most used apps and rapidly deploy them on a new system without the need to go looking through all the different sources to find the essential programs to install, and also avoids the issue of risking untrusted applications being installed from third party websites too.
It may have seemed like an unnecessary change to many, but simply a sign of the changing terms that have come from new devices and new tech and helps newer operating systems become more useable and approachable particularly for a younger audience more accustomed with touch devices today.