Apple’s App Store is continuing its rapid success, marking 40 billion downloads by customers since the store was created in July 2008, with some 20 billion downloads of that total coming in 2012 alone.
Those are the latest figures, announced Jan. 7 by Apple, and also include a record-breaking month of December 2012, in which the App Store provided more than 2 billion downloads in a single month.
“It has been an incredible year for the iOS developer community,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services, said in a statement. “Developers have made over 7 billion dollars on the App Store, and we continue to invest in providing them with the best ecosystem so they can create the most innovative apps in the world.”
There are more than 775,000 apps that are available in the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users worldwide. The App Store offers apps to users in 155 countries around the world, with more than 300,000 native iPad apps available in some 23 categories, including newspapers and magazines offered in Newsstand, games, business, news, sports, health and fitness, and travel.
In September 2012, Google’s competing Play Store attained an impressive milestone of its own when it reached the 25 billion download mark for content purchased through the store—after only six months of sales.
Recently, Apple’s App Store won the top rankings for the best and easiest app store for consumers to use in a new study announced by ABI Research. Google’s Android Play Store came in second, while Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store ranked third, according to ABI’s report, which looked at how app stores implement their offerings to consumers and at their innovation in presentation and approach.
“In terms of implementation, Apple came first, ahead of Google and RIM,” the report said. Apple’s “superior performance in this dimension is mainly down to its effective approach to monetization, large market share over the app industry, and the ability to achieve a large inventory of titles while maintaining a reasonably strict quality control.”
But when it comes to innovation, Microsoft narrowly beat Apple, and Google claimed the third spot, according to the report.
Apple has been leading the mobile app store wars for some time. In November 2012, research firm App Annie reported that Apple’s App Store revenues for October totaled four times the revenue brought in by Google’s Android Play Store for the same period.
At the same time, Google’s Play Store was making great progress, according to App Annie, with a 311 percent growth rate since January, setting the stage for interesting competition between the two vendors.
Apple’s App Store Hits Record 2 Billion Downloads in December
App Annie, which has been following the app store marketplace for the past 18 months, reported that it sees Apple and Google ultimately reaching equilibrium at some point in the future.
In its 16-page App Annie Index Report for November, the firm stated that the Play Store catch-up to the Apple App Store is under way. While Google Play paid revenue grew by 311 percent since January, Apple’s paid revenue grew by only 12.9 percent, according to the study.
In free downloads, Apple’s store led slightly, but Google Play grew by 48 percent for the year to date, compared with just 3.3 percent growth for iOS, according to the report.
The Google Play Store was only officially created in March 2012 to combine what until then were separate sites where Android lovers could buy their favorite apps, music and ebooks. Before Google Play, users had to shop through the individual Android Market, Google Music and the Google e-Bookstore sites.
One reason for Apple’s revenue lead in the stores race is that it is easier for consumers to make purchases through the Apple Store than through Google Play, according to App Annie. Also, although more than 500 million Android devices have been activated around the world so far, many of those devices are cheap ones that don’t allow users to download and use apps effectively, which reduces the potential sales for Google Play.
Earlier in November 2012, Google bolstered its Play Store by securing a licensing deal to add 5.5 million musical works from 35 countries around the world to its music download service. The accord with Armonia, the alliance of French, Italian and Spanish licensing groups, means that Google and Android can offer more content to its customers.
According to Google, it reached the 1 billion Android app download mark in mid-2010, while it hit the 2 billion app download mark in mid-2011. That number soared to 10 billion by the end of 2011, then to 15 billion in early 2012, before soaring again to 25 million in September.
Apple’s App Store just celebrated its fourth birthday in July and now includes more than 567,000 applications for the iPhone and 236,000 for the iPad, as of June. The App Store started with 500 apps in July 2008 when it was launched.
Google Play has been Google’s answer to the App Store, as both companies are locked in a fierce battle for the lion’s share of the mobile-device market. Google also faces a rising threat from Microsoft, which launched its Surface tablets in October.