Happy 10th Birthday to Yelp on iOS!
Bill Meltsner, Tech Lead
- Jul 16, 2018
Yelp hit a big milestone last week: ten years ago, Yelp launched on the Apple App Store! On July 10th, 2008, Apple officially launched what was then known as the iPhone App Store, giving iPhone users their first-ever opportunity to run third-party native apps on their devices.
It launched with a whopping 552 apps available for download, including the Yelp app! At the time, Yelp was only available in the U.S. (we would launch in Canada a few weeks later), and offered an incredible breadth of functionality: you could search for businesses, read reviews, and even bookmark! Staggering.
It was our very first foray into mobile development which, at the time, was a huge unknown. Neither we nor the industry had any real experience to draw upon, nor knowledge of whether this would be a worthwhile investment. Luckily, it was a hit and we kept it up; we launched a BlackBerry app a year later, and an Android app soon after that. (Some of which have aged more gracefully than others.)
The app’s 10-year journey has been long and winding, incorporating greatly expanded functionality, new usability research, changing platform standards, and the unique sensibilities of our designers and PMs. You can trace that journey, as well as the much shorter journey of our app icon, in this retrospective from 9to5Mac (we’re at the bottom). That’s a great article, but we’ve also included the images below for your reading convenience:
I’ve been at Yelp for almost 6 years, and it’s been genuinely inspiring to work exclusively on the app and watch it grow and evolve in ways I never could have expected. It’s developed from a window into Yelp’s business data into a place users can post reviews and photos, order food, and hire a plumber. Not to mention what was just one app is now part of a whole family of apps across iOS and Android! Of course, it’s fun to look back, but we’re even more excited by what Yelp will look like ten years from now… here’s to another successful decade of connecting people with great local businesses!
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