A look back at the iTunes App Store – Part I: Explosive Growth

Wed, Jul 8, 2009

Analysis, Featured, News

Part 2: Successful iPhone Developers

Part 3: The iTunes App Store Bannings and Rejections

On July 10, 2008, Apple launched the iTunes App Store and helped transform the way people look at and use their phones. Over the past 12 months, the iTunes App Store has seen its share of controversy and milestones.  It’s been the center of many a public bashing, and has made many developers impressively wealthy.  While Apple’s approval process regarding which apps it allows into the app store has been the cause for a lot of criticism, there’s no denying that the iTunes App Store is a force that seemingly can’t be stopped.  It currently boasts well over 60,000 applications, and has seen over 1 Billion downloads.  Impressively, downloads from the iTunes App Store aren’t just growing, they’re accelerating.  As an example, it took Apple about 6 months to reach 500 Million downloaded apps while the next 500 Million downloads took only 3 months.

With the iTunes App Store about to turn 1 this Friday, we’ve created a rough timeline of significant and noteworthy events that highlight the iTunes App Store’s brief, yet influential existence.  We’ve broken down the past 12 months into 3 categories that best encapsulate all that made the App Store so revolutionary, impressive, and controversial.  Specifically, we look at how fast the iTunes App Store grew in just a short amount of time, the developers who were able to cash in on it, and of course, Apple’s never ending problems revolving around its approval process.  In Part I, we take a look at the iTunes App Store’s explosive and unprecedented growth.

Part I: Explosive Growth

The iTunes App Store opened up for business about 1 year ago and boasted a somewhat modest figure of 500 applications.  Since then, the number of downloads and available applications has skyrocketed.

Just two months into the app store, Apple issued a press release announcing that iPhone and iPod Touch users had downloaded over 100 million applications from what was then a 3,000 strong library of available titles.  A little over 2 months later, on October 21, 2008, Apple announced that 200 million applications had been downloaded from the iTunes App Store.  On December 5, 2008, Apple took out ads in a number of newspapers touting that the App Store library had surpassed 10,000 applications and that there had been over 300 million downloads.

By mid-January 2009, Apple placed a banner on its homepage announcing that the number of available apps now came in at more than 15,000, and that over 500 million apps had been downloaded.  By way of comparison, it took iTunes Music over 2 years to reach 500 million downloaded songs.  The iTunes App Store reached that figure in less than 200 days, and showed no signs of slowing down.

On March 5th, the number of available titles in the App Store grew to 25,000, and the iPhone platform finally surpassed Windows Mobile as the platform with the largest selection of mobile apps.  And on March 17th, Apple announced at a special iPhone OS 3.0 preview event that there had been over 800 million apps downloaded from iTunes.

The race to a billion was on.

After only 9 months, the iTunes App Store officially hit 1 Billion downloads on April 23, 2009.  By way of comparison, it took nearly 3 years before the Billionth song was downloaded from iTunes.  Granted, many of the app store downloads are free, but the sheer volume is still undoubtedly impressive.

And finally, on June 8, Apple announced at its WWDC that there were now over 50,000 apps in the app store, and recent figures show that that figure now exceeds 60,000.

For Part II, which details the success of small-time iPhone developers, click on over here.

For Part III, which details all of the iPhone app bannings and rejections, mosey on over here.


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