Who coined the term 'App'?

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  1. andreas koch
    Paris Hilton

    Who coined the term 'App'?

    Ok,ok, so language evolves, but nevertheless: was it really necessary to abbreviate 'application'?

    It seems that it was a great marketing move, because Joe and Jane Public seem* to think that App's** are better than programs and only available through iTunes.

    So, does anyone know who coined the term? I've got the feeling it could have been Mr. Jobs...

    *My own experience quite a few times, not a proper survey.

    **Deliberate greengrocers apostrophe, fit's better with the target group.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who coined the term 'App'?

      Apple coined "App store". But surely, app as an abbreviation, has been around for many years?

    2. Overflowing Stack

      Re: Who coined the term 'App'?


      1. Phil W

        Re: Who coined the term 'App'?

        I did. It was me.

        I dare you to prove otherwise! I dare you!

  2. Mephistro

    I remember seeing that word sporadically during the nineties, in technical contexts, but I think it's almost as old as the word 'application', and that's quite old indeed. It beats me how a company can be allowed to trademark common use words and abbreviations.

  3. andreas koch

    Thanks, guys.

    I really wondered about it, because i hadn't heard it all that much. But then, I never actually remember hearing it back in Germany, and I only moved to Britain a few years ago. Probably an Anglo-Americanism that escaped me before...

    Is 'App Store' really trademarked? Wait, I used to work for Xerox, and they trademarked 'The Document Company'; so same thing there.

    Oh well then, 'App' is a term. I'll survive it.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      App store trade mark

      Apple tried and failed to get trade mark for "app store".

      We wrote a story here.

  4. andreas koch

    @Drewc - App store trade mark

    I'm suitable embarrassed to not have read el Reg careefully...

    No, really, That one escaped me. Thanks for the link!

  5. Viola

    App is short for Application or Apple.

    1. Mage Silver badge


      App is short for application, not Apple.

      AAPL is Stock market Abbreviation for Apple Inc., formerly Apple Computer, Inc. The dropping of "Computer" from the name is logical. They of course copied the name from UK Apple Corp (Beatles own label) and Logo also. Jonathan Ives copies 1950s Dieter Rams's designs for Braun.

  6. SiempreTuna

    I think the question should be "who coined the term application?" because I'm sure whoever they were talking to coined "app" around 30 seconds later.

  7. normanpritchard59

    Short for application used in many java programs to define classes. Thats what i always thought.

  8. ravenviz Silver badge

    2c = 1.19p

    For my 1.19p*, Wikipedia says The word applet was first used in 1990 in PC Magazine

    *source oanda.com

  9. sakshi

    Apple ofcourse!!

  10. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    I was using "app" around 1985-ish as a shorthand for "application", and at one point wrote a simple GUI with a sprite of an apple as a weak pun to refer to "app", and the sprite and function names were prefixed "app".

    The earliest RISC OS programming manuals from 1987 onwards described the application directory structure with examples such as: an application called App in a directory called !App, with files called !App.!Boot, !App.!Run, !App.!Sprites, etc. and the ROM-based ResourcesFS had the applications in a directory which sat on the icon bar called Apps.

  11. DaisyMichael_Techspert

    No one actually knows who coined this term. But as it is the short form of Application, I am pretty sure it was coined in nineties.

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