4

This is the official Apple logo for apps:

Available on the App Store!

What's the logic behind using on instead of in? It doesn't sound grammatically correct.

2
  • Can't you just imagine Apple spending weeks agonizing over this choice of words, with Jobs using the word "shit" a lot? Like "Think different"?
    – MetaEd
    Nov 22, 2011 at 15:56
  • They had to pick one. Neither is meaningful, so it didn't matter. Jul 21, 2023 at 20:17

2 Answers 2

18

The Apple App store is not a physical store but an online one, so we use on in the same way we say on the internet.

6
  • 1
    Or on Facebook.
    – Frantisek
    Nov 22, 2011 at 15:13
  • Ok, it would make sense if it was web page, but it's mostly used as a phone app. And you have stuff in app, not on app.
    – vartec
    Nov 22, 2011 at 15:45
  • 1
    That may be true of stuff that you keep in the app, but in the circumstance before us you are using the app to access stuff on the Apple store site.
    – MetaEd
    Nov 22, 2011 at 15:54
  • 1
    Yep. It applies to anything related to the Internet, like, on the website, on the network, on the Twitter post, etc...
    – woodykiddy
    Nov 22, 2011 at 15:56
  • 1
    The same usage occurs with "I got it on eBay". To me it suggests that such places are bigger, yet more accessible, than if the preposition were "in" or "at" (where you might have to look around to find something, or go to some trouble to get there in the first place). Nov 22, 2011 at 18:09
1

It seems to me that this question is not about English grammar or usage, but about commercial product presentation and audience psychology.

The accepted answer suggests that the use of ‘on’ reflects established usage in a particular context, but I find the comparison with reference to general media (on the Internet) rather strained. I find ‘in’ more natural in these circumstances:

You can by this in Walmart

You can by this in the store

So I think it justified to consider the psychology behind what I believe is Apple’s deliberate use of on?

One possibility was to avoid the implication that one had to get up off the couch and drive to a physical location, and go into a physical store to purchase this “magical experience”.

A second, mundane, possibility is that Apple did not wish confusion with its bricks-and-mortar stores: you might try or buy a device in the Apple Store, but not on it. Using ‘on’ with the App Store when it was first launched, emphasized that it was something different.

Consistent with this suggested concern for distinguishing the App Store from the Apple Store, the official badge has now been changed, replacing “Available” by ”Download”:

App Store badge 2020

(And the choice of on was not so outlandish, in the sense that a shop assistant might say ”You can find it over there, sir, on the shelf by the…”.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.