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iTunes App Store Turns 3, Home to Over 400,000 Available Apps and 15 Billion Downloads

Today, exactly three years ago, Apple launched the App Store together with the iPhone 3G and the online service MobileMe. After three years, the iPhone 3G had already retired and the MobileMe service is soon going to be replaced by Apple's new cloud storage service, iCloud. On the other hand, the App Store still remains standing, going impressively strong. Even after three years, Apple's highly successful App Store remains a very strong, if not the strongest contender for the top mobile application marketplace.

Apple Apps Store Turns 3
Three years ago, the App Store was launched as an update to iTunes. It initially had XXX number of apps during its debut. After a year later, the number of apps grew to an impressive 56,000 with about more than a billion downloads. On its second year, the number of available apps about four times with more than 225,000, with 8,500 iPad only apps and amounting to about 5 billion download. And today, according to AppShopper, the current available apps stands at 424,402 with 537,273 approved and over 15 billion downloads. Around the end of January this year, the number of downloads were clocked in at 10 billion and now, not even 6 months later, it had already passed the 15 billion mark.

Now this is a testament to the iOS App Store's incredible growth rate and phenomenal success and it doesn't look like it will be slowing down anytime soon. Although they don't exactly hold the trademart for it, there is no doubt that it was Apple who made word "app" to be recognized as a pop-culture terminology. Well here's a graphical representation of the App Store in terms of downloads from MacRumors:
App Store 15 Billion Downloads
After Apple introduced the App Store and its initial success, as expected, other mobile manufacturers followed suit and came up with their answer to Apple's mobile distribution platform. Google launched the Android Market, Microsoft came up with Windows Phone Marketplace, RIM with App World and lastly Nokia with Ovi which met its demise just last May this year. Although both the Android Marketplace and Windows Phone Marketplace is growing at a steadily impressive rate, they have yet to achieve the level of success of the iOS App Store.

Over the years, the App Store's operation has become a lot of more efficient. Now, the approvals of the apps became much speedy and smoother and we rarely hear of news regarding ridiculous cases of app rejections. The requirements now are a lot less stricter than it was back then and they also added a subscription system.
App Store Icons
We believe that the success of the App Store is not merely on a commercial level. The folks at the iPhoneDownloadBlog has a rather nice insight into the success of the App Store:

It’s a groundbreaking commercial distribution system, but I think there’s more to the App Store. It was able to inspire thousands of people, and to instill in each and every developer that went through the trouble of learning the SDK a passion for one, simple thing: That everyone, regardless of age, gender or nationality, could create something unique. And that the whole world would be able to purchase that app at any given moment.

The App Store helped globalization. It helped create a community that transcends barriers of language and culture. And such a success is way more important than the money developers and the folks in Cupertino have made – and continue to make – from it.

It has been indeed a great three years for the App Store, although it was off to a rather shaky start, it skyrocketed itself into success and it shows no signs of slowing down. Happy Birthday App Store!!

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