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Most people have no clue why they're buying a laptop or PC. To them it's just another appliance like a microwave oven. They press the right buttons and out comes heated up leftovers of last night's dinner or popcorn. They have no idea what the other buttons do nor do they care. These people buy smartphones because when it's time to renew their contract a fast-talking salesman shows them a phone shinier than their current phone and it has facebook. Sold!!
Smartphones are really nothing more than the merger of a PDA (and GPS unit in some cases) and cell phone. I agree that the most important part of any cell phone is phone calls and anything additional is just fluff....Since you do carry this thing with you all the time however it is nice to have additional functionality like being able to view the entire NYC subway map in PDF to plot my destination, viewing Word files received in email and replying with comments from any location, browsing news sites such as El Reg when waiting in line at Motor Vehicle Services, checking sports scores when I can't watch the game, playing games or watching Xvids during those long nights waiting for updates during network changes.
In summary most users don't give a flip about apps because they don't know why they're buying a smartphone in the first place other than it's new and shiny.