Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Linux has a long history of software development, and a flourishing range of applications that meet even the most bizarre of needs.
A quick poke around freshmeat.net is testament to this, with its rich tapestry of useful, wild, and often wacky apps. Distros such as Debian, Fedora and Ubuntu bring these applications to their users with a quick apt-get or a yum install.
As this work was going on, Apple released the iPhone and made a major breakthrough in computing; it made the application developer platform attractive, consistent and accessible to consumers. Anyone with an iPhone could download a range of apps, many simple and silly, but all consistent in their presentation, and often new and innovative in how they used features of the phone such as the GPS, accelerometer and other facilities.
While we have had the tools for a long time, what we have done less of a good job at is pulling these tools together into a consistent experience aimed at application authors. This is something that the Ubuntu community is working on.