It's taken barely more than a year for 2bn apps to be downloaded. But how much money do they put in Apple's bank account?
Two billion applications have been downloaded from Apple's iTunes App Store in just over a year since its launch, the company announced today.
With roughly 85,000 different apps now available, and around 50m iPhones and iPod Touches (capable of running the apps) in use around the world, the statistic confirms the importance of the store to the success of the iPhone - which in the UK will get an added sales boost once it goes on sale through Orange in competition with O2, which has previously had the exlclusive franchise here.
And hey, here's an official quote: "The rate of App Store downloads continues to accelerate with users downloading a staggering two billion apps in just over a year, including more than half a billion apps this quarter alone," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "The App Store has reinvented what you can do with a mobile handheld device, and our users are clearly loving it."
Of course, you could ask whether they'd be loving it slightly less if they had to pay for the overwhelming majority of those apps, rather than getting them for free; Mark Mulligan of Forrester noted that "lt took Apple over 3 yrs to hit 2bn song downloads. It took less than 1.5 years to hit 2bn app downloads".
But of course, those 2bn song downloads will have brought in around $2bn in revenue (of which record labels get about $1.4bn and Apple gets the remaining $600m or so - which it's earned, don't forget, over three years, accelerating as it goes.
For apps, the income is rather smaller because the average price is likely to be lower because so many of those downloads are freebies.
That means that claims that the App Store is bringing in $2.4bn per year look vastly inflated (as that blog post points out). The proper number might be closer to $250m to $500m per year, of which Apple gets 30%, or $75m-$150m.
Even so, that implies that the App Store is doing pretty well for something that's only a year old. If multiple phone carriers gooses that, the indications are that it will keep being a tidy money-earner - though nothing much compared to the actual hardware sales, which keep the coffers full.
Update: Mulligan adds: "Lots of you [on Twitter] commented [that] many Apple apps are free. Very true. But also remember Apps only work on a quarter of all 212m [iPod] devices sold to date." Which suddenly makes it look like a much more promising market, doesn't it?
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