Mobile applications usually come to mind when someone says ‘app’. They’re made for mobile devices, are downloaded on ‘app stores’ like iTunes and Google Play and are accessed through an icon on your phone’s desktop. Creating these can be challenging for a developer as different mobile apps need to be created for Apple, Android and Blackberry and for the most part the code can’t be shared between device platforms. Instagram, Facebook, many and social media sites all have mobile applications. Today, when most people think ‘apps’, they see smartphones, tablets, and icons.
Desktop applications run on a desktop and don’t need web access to function. They could be represented by icons and often come standard with new computers. Examples include Paint, Notepad, and iPhoto. They could also refer to a custom ‘application’ used for a specific purpose within a corporate environment.