January 7, 2013 at 10:16 am

Apple Cheekily Announces 40 Billion App Downloads as CES Begins

itunes 40 billion apps apple ces

Every year, Apple boycotts the Consumer Electronics Show in favor of its own MacWorld, opting instead to hold its own, Apple-only event shortly thereafter — where this year, some of the smart money anticipates an iPad 3 (which would almost certainly be a more exciting announcement than any tablet launched at CES this week).

As if to distract people’s attention further from CES, Apple announced — on Monday morning, just as the hardware hordes are descending into Vegas — that the iTunes app store has now distributed 40 billion apps. Impressively, nearly half of these were downloaded in 2012 alone. It’s a perfect distraction from CES, precisely because apps are a big reason people don’t care as much about hardware anymore.

Apple is known for the slickness with which its PR machine operates, and this was no exception. Apps and the web (a.k.a. “why smartphones and tablets exist”)  have been more exciting than hardware for a while now. That’s why I wasn’t at CES last year, and I won’t be there this year either, although I won’t rule it out in the future.

Apps are replacing hardware. With today’s announcement, Apple boldly proclaimed itself to be the once and still king of app stores. Android devices have caught up to iOS devices in terms of units sold, but when it comes to apps, iOS reigns — and that’s what makes the timing of Apple’s announcement so cheeky.

Here’s what else it says, followed by the release itself:

  • People in 155 countries have downloaded over 40 billion apps in 23 categories from iTunes — nearly 20 billion in 2012. Both of these numbers exclude updates; in other words, it only counts when a new user installs an app.
  • Apple has 500 million “active” iTunes accounts (whoever has a billing relationship with app consumers rules).
  • A married couple earned over $100 million selling just two apps.
  • iTunes has over 775,000 apps, 300,000 of which are available in native iPad versions.
  • Apple has paid third-party iOS developers over $7 billion in app revenue to date.

App Store Tops 40 Billion Downloads with Almost Half in 2012

Record-Breaking December with Over Two Billion Downloads

CUPERTINO, California―January 7, 2013―Apple® today announced that customers have downloaded over 40 billion apps*, with nearly 20 billion in 2012 alone. The App Store℠ has over 500 million active accounts and had a record-breaking December with over two billion downloads during the month. Apple’s incredible developer community has created over 775,000 apps for iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch® users worldwide, and developers have been paid over seven billion dollars by Apple.

“It has been an incredible year for the iOS developer community,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “Developers have made over seven 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.”

In 2012, the husband and wife team at Imangi Studios saw their game Temple Run downloaded more than 75 million times; Backflip Studios and Supercell, two emerging game development studios, brought in over $100 million combined for their leading freemium titles DragonVale and Clash of Clans; and emerging services including Uber, Flipboard, HotelTonight, and AirBnB attracted millions of users on iOS. Companies including Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Autodesk, Marvel and Major League Baseball continued to expand their iOS offerings, while developers like JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot Interactive and Bottle Rocket Apps continued to push the boundaries of what iOS apps can do.

“The success of our game Temple Run in 2012 was nothing short of astonishing,” said Keith Shepherd, co-founder of Imangi Studios. “We were simply looking to create a game that was fun and easy to play, but once it hit the App Store, the game took off. This past year, we saw more than 75 million downloads of Temple Run on iOS.”

“Our success on iOS has been incredible,” said Samir Hanna, vice president of Consumer Products for Autodesk. “We set off with the modest goal of bringing SketchBook to iPhone users as a way of introducing them to Autodesk. Fast forward three years, we now offer 20 apps to iOS users that have achieved more than 50 million downloads, and we continue to roll out new creativity and design tools that appeal to both professionals and consumers.”

“The App Store provided us with opportunities beyond our wildest dreams,” said Bad Robot Interactive’s JJ Abrams. “Our app Action Movie FX was designed to bring Hollywood special effects to anyone’s self-made video, whether that be on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, and we’re just thrilled that millions of fans around the world were as excited as we were about the possibilities that this app brings.”

“Bottle Rocket Apps now employs over 100 full-time employees, dedicated to nothing but building great apps,” said Calvin Carter, president of Bottle Rocket Apps. “In my 20 plus years in technology, I have never seen such a vibrant marketplace for software like the App Store.”

Apple offers developers a wealth of resources and tools to help them make great apps, plus a robust ecosystem and marketplace which provide customers a safe and easy way to discover them. Apple also provides developers great ways to monetize apps including in-app purchase, subscriptions and advertising, and helps market and support developer efforts in the App Store and beyond.

The revolutionary App Store offers more than 775,000 apps to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users in 155 countries around the world, with more than 300,000 native iPad apps available. App Store customers can choose from an incredible range of apps in 23 categories, including newspapers and magazines offered in Newsstand, games, business, news, sports, health & fitness and travel.

*40 billion unique downloads excluding re-downloads and updates.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.