Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 2001: Apple iTunes

 
 
By eWEEK Labs  |  Posted 2012-05-28
 
 
 

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time

People who never wanted a computer still wanted the perfect typewriter, and Electric Pencil for CP/M machines (cloned as EasyWriter for IBM PCs) made that a reality.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1978: WordStar

For users who became imprinted on its unintuitive but memorable interface, anything that didnt run WordStar was not a usable PC.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1978: WordStar

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1979: VisiCalc

Often called the first killer app, this pioneering spreadsheet tool gave birth to the demand, I need this software and something that runs it.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1979: VisiCalc

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1981: dBase II

Minicomputers costing far more were replaced by PCs when dBase II put just enough almost-relational rigor--and an accessible programming language--on desktops.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1981: dBase II

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1982: AutoCAD

Proprietary drafting systems got a chill wind down their necks when Autodesk told people they could put a numeric coprocessor in that empty socket on a PC motherboard.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1982: AutoCAD

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1983: Lotus 1-2-3

Written in down-to-the-metal machine code for performance that left competitors gasping, Lotus 1-2-3 put graphics into the spreadsheet and gave rise to many user-interface clones.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1983: Lotus 1-2-3

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1983: Turbo Pascal

No other programming tool before or since has made such a huge triple jump in programmer convenience, performance and affordability.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1983: Turbo Pascal

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1984: MacWrite/MacPaint

Without this multifont, graphically enabled word processor and its companion illustration tool, the original Mac would have been nothing; with them, it almost needed nothing else.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1984: MacWrite/MacPaint

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1984: MultiMate

For companies wedded to their Wang word processors, the appearance of a work-alike for PCs finally made those less costly and more flexible machines an option.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1984: MultiMate

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1985: Excel for Macintosh

Making 1-2-3 suddenly seem comparatively crude, Microsoft Excel set a new standard for direct manipulation of the venerable spreadsheet interface as well as for elegant graphics.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1985: Excel for Macintosh

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1985: Aldus PageMaker

Essentially creating the notion of mass-market desktop publishing, PageMaker gave the Mac a beachhead in the creative arts that it still retains.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1985: Aldus PageMaker

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1986: Cross-network E-mail

No single communication software product opened digital communication to everyman, but cross-network e-mail presaged the day when everyone would have an @ address.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1986: Cross-network E-mail

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1987: Excel for Windows

Having given the Mac a jump-start that no one else could have provided, Microsoft migrated its hard-earned GUI skills to the open hardware of the PC--and things changed.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1987: Excel for Windows

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1987: dBase Mac

The only killer on this list that deserves the term in the homicidal sense, dBase Mac was so weird and so slow that it tarnished the credibility of both its own vendor and Apple.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1987: dBase Mac

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1988: Mathematica 1.0

One of the most distinctive applications for the short-lived NeXT Computer, Mathematica still sets the standard for symbolic math and visualization on Windows, Mac, Linux and Unix.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1988: Mathematica 1.0

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1989: Word for Windows

Combining much of the power of desktop publishing with an interface comparable to anything on the Macintosh, Microsoft Word for Windows began the mainstreaming of the GUI.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1989: Word for Windows

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1990: Windows 3.0

One of only two operating systems on this list, Microsoft Windows 3.0 was far from being as capable as the Mac--but looked good enough to prevent major Mac gains while Windows matured.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1990: Windows 3.0

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1990: Adobe Photoshop

With a name thats become a verb meaning to manipulate or fabricate an image, Adobe Photoshop is more than a program--its the visual artistic medium of our age.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1990: Adobe Photoshop

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1991: Microsoft Visual Basic

Originally conceived as a dual-platform tool, Microsoft VB abandoned planned OS/2 capability just before the 1.0 release, opening a leadership gap for Windows development that IBM would never close.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1991: Microsoft Visual Basic

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1994: Netscape Navigator 1.0

Arguably killed too soon by Microsofts Internet Explorer to be called a killer app itself, Netscape Navigator still deserves a place on this list as the application that redefined surf.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1994: Netscape Navigator 1.0

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1995: Internet Explorer 1.0

Originally an add-on, IE quickly became the linchpin of Microsofts strategy to integrate Internet connectivity and protocols such as HTML into the desktop environment.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1995: Internet Explorer 1.0

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1996: Palm HotSync

A breakthrough for convenient companion computing, the HotSync functionality of the Palm platform drove a huge expansion in the use of handheld devices.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 1996: Palm HotSync

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 2001: Mac OS X

The second operating system on this list, OS X catapulted the Macintosh to a new role as personal system of choice for many Unix and open-source devotees.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 2001: Mac OS X

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 2001: Apple iTunes

A brilliant fusion of user interface up front and e-commerce interaction behind the scenes, iTunes and the iPod put a halo on the Apple brand.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 2001: Apple iTunes

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 2004: Mozilla Firefox 1.0

Bringing open-source development out of its geek-centric niche into the mainstream, the Mozilla Foundations Firefox served notice that secure and simple applications were in demand.

Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time - 2004: Mozilla Firefox 1.0

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