Apple will reward the customer who downloads the 10 billionth app from the iOS App Store with a $10,000 iTunes gift card, the company said today.
The company's e-mart for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch applications is nearing the 10 billion download mark, according to a live counter that Apple has posted on its site.
"As of today, nearly 10 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store worldwide," Apple said on the site hosting the flickering counter. "So we want to say thanks."
Apple has touted App Store download numbers numerous times since the marketplace went live in July 2008 alongside the debut of the iPhone 3G. Currently, the App Store offers software for the iPhone and iPod Touch, as well as Apple's iPad tablet.
Shortly after the store opened its doors, Apple issued a statement boasting that customers had downloaded more than 10 million applications in the first weekend.
The App Store passed the one billionth milestone in April 2009, just nine months after its launch. A similar contest at the time awarded a 13-year-old Connecticut boy a $10,000 iTunes gift card, as well as an iPod Touch, a Time Capsule backup device and a MacBook Pro notebook.
At the counter's current pace, the 10 billionth app should be downloaded sometime on Sunday Jan. 23.
The Mac App Store, a companion market to the iOS App Store that deals free and for-a-fee software for the Mac, launched Jan. 6. According to Apple, customers downloaded one million Mac applications from the store in the first day.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.