Apple Counts Down to 50 Billion App Downloads

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When Apple’s App Store launched on July 11, 2008 — a year after the iPhone made its debut — it only had around 500 apps. Three days after it launched, more than 10 million apps had been downloaded, and it reached its first billion downloads less than a year later on April 23, 2009.

Now five years later, the App Store is about to reach a significant milestone. The Apple website has added a counter to its main page that is counting down to 50 billion apps downloads. The App Store is expected to reach that milestone later today or Wednesday.

The message on the site reads: “Thanks to you, we’re about to hit 50 billion app downloads. Counting to 50 billion would take 1,600 years. With 50 billion steps, you could walk around the Earth more than 800 times. With 50 billion bricks, you could build 12 Great Walls of China.”

Apple is celebrating this milestone by giving the customer who downloads the 50 billionth app a $10,000 iTunes gift card.

As of April, the App Store boasts more than 800,000 apps, including 300,000 apps optimized for the iPad. Despite the huge amount of free apps on the App Store, paid apps like “Angry Birds,” “Fruit Ninja” and WhatsApp have earned much revenue. The company has paid more than $7 billion in royalties to developers for their apps and, according to App Annie, the App Store is earning more than twice as much revenue as the Google Play store.

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