App Store tops 40B downloads, 20B in 2012

App Store Icon

Apple just announced that its application store for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch software, the App Store, has topped a whopping forty billion downloads so far, with almost twenty billion downloads added in the calendar 2012 alone. These are unique downloads that exclude re-downloads and updates. The iPhone maker has also confirmed that as of today the App Store is home to a total of 775,000 active apps for the iOS gadgets (though a million apps passed through the store so far), with 300,000 tailored specifically for iPads…

The company paid developers so far over seven billion dollars after its customary 30 percent cut on sales. The App Store now serves software to users in 155 countries around the world, Apple said.

By comparison, Apple in June 2012 said the App Store had 30 billion downloads, with more than 400 million active user accounts.

According to a media release, the company now claims an astounding half a billion user accounts on the App Store. Senior VP of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, said:

It has been an incredible year for the iOS developer community. Developers have made over seven billion dollars on the App Store, and we continue to invest in providing them with the best ecosystem so they can create the most innovative apps in the world.

Apple also set another record, raking in over two billion downloads during the month of December.

Asymco chart (iTunes downloads totals by medium)
Chart via Asymco.

The App Store has been open for business for a little more than four and a half years. As noted by our friend, MacStories editor Federico Viticci, the store opened 1,642 days ago on July 10, 2008.


Another interesting tidbit: the average iOS app download rate is now well over fifty million per day (via Asymco).

Asymco chart (Average iOS app download rate)

Some of the success story Apple highlighted include Temple Run, created by the husband and wife team at Imangi Studios which saw more than 75 million downloads on the Apple platform last year.

Two emerging game development studios, Backflip Studios and Supercell, brought in over $100 million combined for their freemium titles DragonVale and Clash of Clans.

iPhone 5 (App Store teaser, hunderds of thousands of endless possibilities)

Emerging services including Uber, Flipboard, HotelTonight, and AirBnB “attracted millions of users on iOS”, Apple writes. Companies including Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Autodesk, Marvel and Major League Baseball “continued to expand their iOS offerings”, while developers like JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot Interactive and Bottle Rocket Apps “continued to push the boundaries of what iOS apps can do”.

According to Apple’s own Best of iTunes 2012 charts, games remain the most lucrative category.

But it ain’t all roses as for each success story there comes dozens upon dozens programmers who find it increasingly hard to meet ends because their software never makes it into the App Store charts and thereby is less likely to gain the kind of recognition necessary to move the needle.

Distimo app stores (in-app)

According to Distimo, Google’s Play Store for third-party Android software is growing more quickly than the App Store. During the last four months of 2011, Google store’s combined daily revenue grew at 43 percent compared to the App Store’s 21 percent, although the App Store’s revenue rose by 51 percent over the course of entire year.

Appsfire has a nice infographic highlighting how Apple’s store fared in 2012. I also like this video with developer Steve Demeter, the brains behind the Trism puzzler, who explained how the game netted him $300,000 within a few months of the App Store’s 2008 launch.

Also of note, a court recently ruled that Amazon’s use of the term ‘App Store’ to describe its app portal does not constitute ‘false advertising’ as Apple alleged.

Despite Google’s growth, the App Store remains the cash king so it’s no surprise Microsoft is attempting to woo App Store developers to write apps for its Windows Phone platform, which has been lingering out there with a single-digit market share, by all relevant market analysis.


Apple recently re-launched app gifting on the store and with iOS 6 introduced APIs that allow developers like Facebook to create software that let users install App Store apps from a pop-up inside their own app. Facebook has implemented that feature in its iOS client.


iOS 6 has also brought us in-line iTunes previews in Apple’s own stock Mail app. Furthermore, apps like Flipboard can now list curated iBookstore content from iTunes.

Despite all the advancements, critics point out Apple should tap its Chomp acquisition and try harder to improve app discoverability on the App Store.