May 24, 2011
After less than three years of existence, Apple’s App Store has accumulated half-a-million mobile apps.
The iTunes App Store, which launched in the summer of 2008, surpassed the 500,000 milestone Tuesday morning, according to 148Apps, an iPhone app reviews blog that has been tracking the store closely.
To be clear, that’s 500,000 apps that Apple has approved — they’re not necessarily live yet. In the United States, the App Store is just reaching 400,000 apps available for download.
“The fact that it has taken less than three years to reach this number is remarkable,” said Jeff Scott, editor of 148Apps.
Since its birth, Apple’s App Store has expanded rapidly, from 500 apps on day one to 100,000 about one year later. On the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, the App Store is the only official channel for customers to download and purchase third-party software with the tap of a button.
The App Store’s purchasing process provided an efficient business model for the software industry. Prior to the App Store, independent software coders had a difficult time competing against larger software companies with big budgets. By tying the App Store to iTunes and including the store on every iPhone, Apple created a captive audience and an effective marketing platform for distributing software, where programmers both big and small had an equal chance to make serious money. A handful of lucky developers struck it rich with hot app sales. Angry Birds has held the number 1 paid spot more than any other app at 275 days total.
After the App Store exploded, other competitors launched their own app stores. Google’s Android app market, which launched eight months after the App Store, is the closest rival, with about 300,000 apps to date.
At one point does quantity no longer matter? Nobody needs 500,000 apps, but I’ve argued in the past that the more apps an app store holds, the more likely it can fill every need for various professions, hobbies and special interests.