July 7, 2011 at 9:28 am

Apple Reaches 15 Billion App Downloads 3X Faster Than Songs, Touts iPad

smule ipad magic piano catIt took Apple 10 and a half years to sell 15 billion songs, we learned last month at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. ITunes users downloaded the same number of apps from iTunes in just three years, the company announced on Thursday.

Granted, many of those were free — but in a sense, so were many of the songs, because a sizable percentage (Apple doesn’t reveal how much) of those downloads happened after someone redeemed a gift card. So this is a more “apples to apples” comparison, as it were, than it might appear at first blush.

Apple busted out some other numbers as part of its usual McDonalds-style account of so-many-billions served:

  • 15 billion app downloads
  • 200 million worldwide iOS users
  • Over $2.5 billion paid to iOS app developers
  • Over 425,000 iOS apps
  • Over 100,000 native iPad apps

That last number should scare any company betting on Android as a tablet platform. At the end of March, there were only 50 native Android tablet apps. This morning, we counted only 108 of them in Android.com’s “featured tablet apps” section.

“In just three years, the revolutionary [iTunes] App Store has grown to become the most exciting and successful software marketplace the world has ever seen,” said Apple senior vice president of worldwide product Philip Schiller in a statement.

Apple’s announcement emphasizes the iPad, quoting three developers talking about the success of the device, which might be considered all the more impressive given Android tablets’ lack of traction:

Smule co-founder Dr. Ge Wang: “We sparked musical magic when iPhone users experienced Ocarina three years ago. And now with iPad, we’ve created the Magic Piano and Magic Fiddle apps. Who could’ve dreamt an iPad would make its way into the San Francisco Symphony?”

Mark Rein, co-founder of Epic Games: “iPad provides us with an unparalleled mobile device for creating gorgeous, immersive games. Infinity Blade has been a runaway hit with customers around the world and we couldn’t be more excited about our success on iOS devices.”

Nicholas Callaway, CEO of Callaway Digital Arts: “We’re bringing Martha Stewart, Angelina Ballerina, Sesame Street and many more of the world’s most popular books and magazines to iPad. We knew the iPad was going to be a revolutionary storytelling device, but never could have anticipated it would become so popular, so quickly.”

IPhone users buy more apps than Android users, so developers make better apps for them. Still, Android smartphones gained significantly against the iPhone in terms of device market share.

Can Android do the same when it comes to tablets? Not at this rate.

(Photo courtesy of Smule)

  • Anonymous

    The gift cards are still purchased, the songs weren’t “free” like the apps.

    I have downloaded over 300 apps to my iPhone but I’ve only paid for 1, maybe 2.  I have purchased 1 song from iTMS.

  • Anonymous

    The gift cards are still purchased, the songs weren’t “free” like the apps.

    I have downloaded over 300 apps to my iPhone but I’ve only paid for 1, maybe 2.  I have purchased 1 song from iTMS.