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Our long, strange, 10-year trip

Ten years ago, on July 10 2008, Apple rolled out the App Store. It sure has been a long, strange trip for us here at Art Authority LLC since then.

In 2008 we were Open Door Networks, founded in 1995 as a dial-up internet provider, and known mainly for developing Macintosh network utilities like the DoorStop Personal Firewall.

The iPhone of course changed everything. When introduced the year before, Apple didn’t allow developers to provide software for it, but they quickly saw the error of their ways and the rest is most certainly history. We couldn’t resist the opportunity to develop iPhone apps, and our iEnvision Web-image browser app was available on day one in the “iTunes App Store” ten years ago.

iEnvision included “bookmarks” to five categories of image sites that we thought displayed particularly well on the iPhone: comics, space photos, newspaper front pages, children’s books and… art! It was a great start for us, and within a month, we broke out the individual built-in categories from iEnvision into individual apps, which we called “Envi apps.” There was “Comic Envi,” “Space Envi”, “News Envi”, “Kid Book Envi” and… “Art Envi.” Many other Envi’s soon followed.

The App Store was a huge success, as was Art Envi in particular. When Apple announced the iPad in early 2010, it was a no-brainer what we were going to implement on Apple’s next groundbreaking device: art, art, art. Art Authority in particular. Art Authority for iPad took Art Envi to the next level, with dozens of times the number of artists and the amount of art, many more ways to search and access the art, and a professionally-designed virtual museum interface. The result: “an experience unlike any other” (the NY Times), which has often sold as the #1 reference app in the App Store. We are proud to have, literally and figuratively, changed art history with our art apps.

Our transition from Macintosh network experts to Art Authority was just getting started. The Art Authority app’s widespread acclaim was noticed by a number of real art authorities, including the Getty Museum’s Stanley Smith and digital printing guru R. Mac Holbert. In early 2016 we got together with Stanley, Mac and other art authorities to form Art Authority LLC. The company had become the app.

Our trip didn’t stop there. E-commerce company Project A had long been associated with Open Door’s efforts, and with their e-commerce know-how, Stanley and Mac’s printing expertise and the app’s access to 100,000+ works of art, we had everything we needed to move Art Authority beyond the app world into selling museum-quality reproductions. Many companies had gone from physical goods to electronic; we went from electronic to physical goods.

The final piece of the puzzle (so far) fell into place when we acquired the assets of art e-commerce pioneer 1000Museums. 1000Museums.com remains the principal site for selling our (physical) wares, and the museum relationships that the site has helped nurture look to be the next big step in what has certainly been a very long, strange 10-year trip. All started by Steve Jobs, the iPhone, and the App Store.

Happy Anniversary!

5 Comments

  1. […] and developers alike, and the article includes numerous testimonials. There are also stories like this one from Alan Oppenheimer, who went from helping to create AppleTalk and running an Internet service […]

  2. Pondering the Impact of the App Store at 10 on July 10, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    […] and developers alike, and the article includes numerous testimonials. There are also stories like this one from Alan Oppenheimer, who went from helping to create AppleTalk and running an Internet service […]

  3. Michael Tsai - Blog - The App Store Turns 10 on July 11, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    […] also: Art Authority, Edovia, The Icon Factory, The Omni […]

  4. Watch this space // Art Authority on July 17, 2018 at 7:07 am

    […] Art Authority News and views from the #1 classic art app « Our long, strange, 10-year trip […]

  5. […] giving back to the art community. Starting with an app in the App Store the day that store opened ten years ago, we’ve provided art lovers worldwide with access to over 100,000 classic works of art, […]

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