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Apple's App Store Hits One Billion Downloads

Mike Musgrove

Less than a year after opening, Apple's App Store, where owners of the iPhone and iPod Touch can download software for the devices, is hitting the billion download mark this afternoon.

The store has been such a success for the company that every rival consumer electronics manufacturer from Nintendo to Nokia has rolled out, or will soon launch, their own versions of the enormously successful store, allowing users to download games and productivity software.

And it's hard to put a number on how many folks have taken part in the latest tech gold rush, quitting their day jobs in the hopes of devising the next big App that makes a million bucks for its creator.

With about 37 million iPhones and iPhone Touch devices in use, according to Apple, that means the average iPhone or iPod Touch owner has downloaded nearly 30 applications on average. Free applications are much, much more popular than their retail-priced counterparts: Some tracking firms say that free Apps are downloaded as much as 100 times more than pay applications.

So, what are people downloading? More than any other category, people are downloading games. All but one or two of the top 20 paid Apps at the store are classified as games or entertainment. On the corresponding list for free Apps, there's a little more diversity, with popular non-game applications that let users log into Facebook (that's the number one free App), check the weather, find restaurants and listen to Internet radio stations.

There's also the rare piece of awfulness slipping through at the App Store. Earlier this week, Apple got a bit of egg on its face after allowing the sale of a game called "Baby Shaker" at the site. In it, players quiet a virtual crying infant by vigorously shaking the device. The company took the application down and apologized after parent groups started to complain.

Many tech pundits and Apple watchers think that the company has a new iPhone on the way, perhaps due in June. And it might be around that time when Apple rolls out iPhone 3.0, the second major revision of the software that runs the popular device.

Rana Sobhany, vice president of marketing at Medialets, an analytics firm that tracks App usage, said she believes an even more interesting wave of iPhone applications are on the way, as software programmers are now able to access a lot of iPhones they didn't have. Some new applications will have voice control features, to pick one example.

"Developers are going to have all these extra tools that they haven't had for the past year," she said. "I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't another billion downloaded in the next year."

Apple has been promoting the milestone this week as it approached by giving away goodies such as a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card, an iPod touch and a MacBook Pro.

All-Time Top Free Apps:
1. Facebook
2. Google Earth
3. Pandora Radio
4. Tap Tap Revenge
5. Shazam
6. Pac-Man Lite
7. Backgrounds
8. Touch Hockey: FS5
9. Labyrinth Lite Edition
10. Flashlight

All-TimeTop Ten Pay Apps:
1. Crash Bandicoot
2. Koi Pond
3. Enigmo
4. Bejeweled 2
5. iBeer Special
6. Moto Chaser
7. PocketGuitar
8. Flick Fishing
9. Tetris
10. Texas Hold'em

By Mike Musgrove  |  April 23, 2009; 4:45 PM ET  | Category:  Mike Musgrove
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Pandora radio is an excellent application for iPhone users, great to basically have your own iPhone jukebox on the go. But for individual radio stations, whether land based or an internet radio station, you really need your own standalone iPhone app. The Toy Lounge creates iPhone apps for radio stations of any kind and in any location. All the station needs is a compatible MP3 stream and about 1200 bucks to get started.

Posted by: cjstolee | April 28, 2009 11:07 PM

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