"If you think the Industrial Revolution was transformational, the app store is even bigger."
Those words actually appeared in a video aired at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference ongoing today in San Francisco. It was followed up by a lot of not-ridiculous observations about how apps are important in lots of industries and the app store makes a lot of money and blah blah blah reasonable assertions about how apps are a big deal.
And so they are.
But here's a good chart showing how central the industrial revolution was to the entire history of the global economy:
Basically there is endless stagnation of living standards, and then there is the Industrial Revolution. It's the most important thing that has ever happened.
This particular bit of hubris doesn't actually derive from Apple, by the way. Rather, it comes from a McKinsey report that asserted that apps are part of a series of trends that are 3,000 times bigger than the Industrial Revolution. McKinsey's Richard Dobbs says, "The Industrial Revolution involved 10 million people. The changes we're seeing in emerging markets involve three billion people." This is an extraordinarily limited way of looking at the Industrial Revolution, which profoundly altered the course of world history and impacted the lives of everyone in the world today.