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Apple iPhone police approve 500,000th app

Farts, birds, and billions of bucks

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Love it or loathe it, Apple's iOS App Store is a roaring success – so much so that its App Store Police have just approved their 500,000th app.

This startling stat comes from the app-watchers at 148Apps, who are quick to point out that there are not a half-million apps in the App Store, rather that there have been that many apps approved for the store since it appeared in July 2008.

500,000th iOS app infographic detail

This is just a small iOS-stat sampling – click for the entire 800-by-5,800 pixel infogasm (credit: 148Apps)

The actual number of available apps hovers at around 400,000 or so – a number that we're almost certain to be told two weeks from now when Steve Jobs either does or doesn't take the stage for a keynote presentation at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference kick-off on June 7.

The difference between available apps and total apps approved is, of course, due to the fact that some apps were never upgraded for new versions of iOS, some were subsequently yanked by the App Police when they had second thoughts, and some were simply orphaned by their devs.

Working with the app-trackers at Chomp and the game publishers at Electronic Arts' Chillingo division, 148Apps amassed a prodigious passle of intriguing stats about Apple's über-sucessful – if also über-controversial – app-distribution juggernaut:

  • As might be expected, Games is currently largest category in the App Store, garnering 15 per cent of all apps. Perhaps surprising, though, is that the Books category is close behind at 14 per cent, and that Books led Games from March to December 2010.
  • The app that has spent the most days as number one in the App Store is – what else? – Angry Birds, with a 225-day run. Its closest competitor, The Moron Test, held the top spot for a comparatively meager 38 days.
  • Speaking of morons, the top fart app of all time is iFart Mobile, which hung on as the top App Store seller for a respectable 21 days. (By the way, as of today, a search for "fart" turns up 856 titles, including such worthies as Farthoven, Fart Xylophone, and Fart Studio - Revolutionary New Farting Surface!)
  • When the App Store launched in July 2008, it offered a mere 500 apps – one one-thousandth of those eventually approved. Despite that small offering, 10 million apps were downloaded during the App Store's first weekend.
  • App Store–milestone announcements: 10K apps, November 4, 2008; 100K apps, November 29, 2009; 200K apps, April 29, 2010; 300K apps, October 10, 2010; 350K apps, January 22, 2011.
  • The average iOS developer produces 4.6 apps, and the average price for a paid app is $3.64. This January, Apple announced that it had paid over $2bn to developers in its 70/30 revenue split.
  • Of the 392,686 apps now said to be in the App Store, 147,966 (37.7 per cent) are free and 244,720 (62.3 per cent) are paid.
  • If, for reasons unfathomable, you'd like to download all the apps currently on the store, it would cost you $891,982.24 to install them on your 7.5 terabyte iPhone.

Despite all these bewildering stats, the App Store is not the only game in town – not by a long shot. One analyst predicts that Google's Android Marketplace will overtake the App Store in total available apps as soon as August of this year.

But whether an App Store or a Marketplace has 400K, 500K or eleventy-squillion apps is not really the point. What matters is the when Apple unleashed the App Store on the world on Friday, July 11, 2008, it succeeded in juicing a revolution in the distribution of developers' wares – megalomaniacal control or no megalomaniacal control, fart apps or no fart apps. ®

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