Dear Sir Tim Berners-Lee...
... your total contribution to the world is the creation of an irritating user interface to data stored on the internet. The key technology here is the *internet*; the World Wide Web is merely a user interface layer.
Apps are just another user interface layer. They're a logical step given the shoddy management and tiresome politics surrounding the various Web technologies. HTML never had a monopoly on Internet-stored content. And that content has been getting more and more complex and interlinked. HTML—invented in the days when most of the content it had to cope with was simple, flat, file structures, simply doesn't cut it any more. The Internet has moved on: it's no longer a bunch of servers, but a bunch of interconnected *databases*. That they run on servers connected via TCP/IP is no longer relevant.
If users cannot find the information they need from mechanical Turks like Google, we need to move onto the alternatives.
Wikipedia and its ilk can provide a form of curated catalogue of the Web—"Yahoo 2.0"—that works well for most fields, but its content is, by design, shallow. It's a springboard at best.
Diving into the details involves more work. And that's where newer interfaces, such as Apple's curated App Store model, come in. An App can be anything from a basic, custom web-based front-end to an existing website, all the way up to a complex social game. It can provide a user experience as simple, or as rich, as the developer desires. No matter how great HTML5 is, when it's eventually ratified, it's not going to hold a candle to a UI built in a technology like Unity (www.unity3d.com).
There are only three things users care about: datasets, models and interfaces. A website is a pretty face on a bunch of data. An iPhone or Android App is... a pretty face on a bunch of data. The user *does not care* how the magic works.
Where once it was the *only* choice, HTML (and its bastard siblings) is now just one of many technologies for interfacing with those online datasets.
Deal with it.