Apps is not just a hip word, they are defacto standard on all other devices and once they get unified thru all windows devices and same ones work on all of them, they will come handy. Apps work in their own space, only problem is that there's not enough of good ones yet. They could be removed from start if you don't want them.
Coming from W8/8.1 I'm quite used to them, specially Live tiles that are replacement (and even better) for Gadgets, that many are so fond of. Never liked them as you had to drop all the way to desktop to see them. Live tiles are much easier to get to, only a click on Start button, no closing all the open windows. I made a combination of tiles to go with All programs, most used programs are set to start from tiles, much easier to find than to dig thru menu in W7.