There is so much wealth is apps stores (the Apple iTunes has just passed the 400,000 apps mark with over 10 billions downloaded) that thinking about their disappearance seems impossible. Like thinking that the mighty Roman Empire in the first century could ever disappear. It did. But it took 4 more centuries. We are not interested in what may happen in 2400 of course but the clock is ticking so much faster today than 400 years, 2000 years ago, may compare to less than 10 years today. And 2020 is within our range.
Take a look at the interesting ideas put forward by Brian Kennish.
Basically he is claiming that there are 2 billion web users vs 50 (I would say 100) million IOS users. The volume is clearly favoring web apps rather than apps stores. And this goes for any store, Androids, Windows, RIM. and of course Telecom Operators’ ones.
Then there is the biz model. Apps store are there to sell apps, and they charge 30% or so to distribute the app. Google, on the other hand, is mostly in the biz of ads and for distributing an app through the web takes something like 5%. Add to this that an app for the web can run on any device and you have a strong incentive for developers to do that.
On the other hand, one has to acknowledge that web apps and apps are more and more stand alone, i.e. they can run when the device is not connected to the network. This applies to news as well. Your device can download the latest news once it has a connection handy and keep them in its storage for you to use at a later time. This, on our network, translate into bulk download and commoditized connectivity.
Personally, I see a future that, from a user point of view, will have information and apps (is there any difference, by the way?) local. The network disappears most of the time. If I do not have an information it i most likely that my device can find it on another devices in the vicinity and pick it up from that one. From time to time connection with data buoys (real or virtual) will update my device local storage and I will be in synch with the world.