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Apps (or mobile applications) have become a ubiquitous feature of computing since the arrival of modern touch screen devices in the early 2000s. At the most basic level, an app is a self-contained piece of software that is downloaded onto a touch screen device, such as a smartphone or tablet. The key design difference between apps and software found on other computing devices (such as laptops or personal computers) is their ability to be finger operated via touch screen controls—such as by pressing, swiping, or pinching. On a tablet, for example, apps appear on menus as icons that need to be pressed to launch the software.

Once opened, an app is controlled using the touch screen interface. In book and magazine applications, for example, pages ...

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