Apple App Store downloads hit 1 billion/month -- and rising

By Jonny Evans

Apple [AAPL] this morning announced over 15 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store so far. The store now offers over 425,000 apps, 100,000 of these for the iPad tablet.

Screen_shot_2011-07-07_at_14_17_03_0.png

[ABOVE: Accelerating App Store downloads. At one billion downloads in 30 days, Apple currently distributes approximately 386 apps each second of each day.]

One billion downloads 

The App Store opened for business on July 10, 2008. The ten billionth app was downloaded from the store in January. It took two and a half years to distribute the first 10 billion apps; it took six months to distribute the next 5 billion apps.

The new figure underline accelerating app sales. In early June, Apple confirmed the App Store had seen 14 billion app downloads. Since then it has achieved over a billion downloads in just one month, the approximate equivalent of 23,148 apps per minute.

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At the present trajectory, Apple should easily achieve 20 billion app downloads by Christmas. And could even exceed that target...

Apple is the gorilla

Apple's move to announce the landmark figure as the dust settles on its ongoing dispute with Amazon over use of the App Store name is telling: the company may not have won right to call the phrase its own, but when it comes to App Stores, Apple's is the big news.

"In just three years, the revolutionary App Store has grown to become the most exciting and successful software marketplace the world has ever seen," said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, in a statement.

The increasing velocity of downloads is easily illustrated by these six figures:

  • July 14, 2008: 10 million downloads
  • October 22, 2008: 200 million downloads
  • July 14, 2009: 1.5 billion downloads
  • November 4, 2009: 2 billion downloads
  • June 7, 2010: 5 billion downloads
  • July 7, 2011: 15 billion downloads
marathon.gif

[ABOVE: A frame from well-loved game, Marathon for iPad.]

Business sense

Developers are delivering a pantheon of apps for Apple devices. Only this morning, veteran game developer, Bungie, introduced cult classic shoot-em-up, Marathon, for iPad. There's even apps on their way to the Space Station.

The company has paid over $2.5 billion to iOS developers. No surprise that Apple’s new download record is supported by a range of statements from iOS developers, extracts from which include:

"We sparked musical magic when iPhone users experienced Ocarina three years ago," said Dr. Ge Wang, a Smule co-founder and assistant professor at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics.

"iPad provides us with an unparalleled mobile device for creating gorgeous, immersive games," said Mark Rein, vice president and co-founder of Epic Games.

"We knew the iPad was going to be a revolutionary storytelling device, but never could have anticipated it would become so popular, so quickly,"  said Nicholas Callaway, CEO of Callaway Digital Arts.

Game on

Recent Nielsen research claims Apple users spend nearly twice as much time playing games as those using Android devices.

"The average mobile gamer plays an average of 7.8 hours a month," Nielsen said. "Those with iPhones tend to play around 14.7 hours each month while those with Android smartphones play around 9.3 hours per month."

Of those who've downloaded apps to a smartphone in the last 30 days, 9 per cent of downloaders are willing to pay for gaming apps, Nielsen said in a blog post detailing its new findings.

Things look good for September's iPhone 5 introduction. Not only do iOS users tend to stick with Apple's platform because they become fond of the apps they download, but the new smartphone is set to be much faster than before, making apps even better.

There’s also an increasing number of reports (including from the WSJ) which speculate a smaller, lower cost model will debut; and Apple appears set to introduce complete wireless solutions within iPhone 6, which may yet offer completely cable-free power recharging.

There are 200 million iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users globally. Apple is expected to ship at least 40 million iPhones this year, along with a huge quantity of iPads, developers have a great chance to build new business from the App Store.

Android remains hampered by poor app discovery features, lousy app security and limited interest in what’s in store. AndroLib claims just 5.2 billion Android apps have been downloaded so far.

Is Apple's lead big enough? Let us know in comments below. Follow me on Twitter and I'll let you know when new reports get published here first on Computerworld.  

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