Apple today announced that customers have downloaded one billion applications from its iPhone App Store. This on-device source for software has been a stunning success, especially considering Apple was originally opposed to the whole concept of putting third-party apps on its smartphone and handheld devices.
“The revolutionary App Store has been a phenomenal hit with iPhone and iPod touch users around the world, and we’d like to thank our customers and developers for helping us achieve the astonishing milestone of one billion apps downloaded,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.
A Brief History of the iPhone App Store
When the original iPhone was announced in early 2007, Apple said it would not allow other companies to release software for this smartphone. For the entire first year this device was on the market, native third-party applications were blocked. This lead to a significant percentage of devices being “jail-broken” — modified to remove this restriction.
It was only with the launch of the second-generation iPhone that Apple removed this limitation, and just 9 months later users had downloaded a billion apps.
Today, the App Store has more than 35,000 applications available to consumers in 77 countries, allowing developers to reach tens of millions of iPhone and iPod touch users around the world.
Lots of Competition
The idea of an on-device application store was hardly a new one; companies like Handango have offered them for years, but the early ones met with limited success. The popularity of the iPhone App Store has breathed new life into this concept, and virtually all of Apple’s competitors are seeking to imitate this accomplishment.
The Android OS debuted with a software store part of its basic feature set, RIM recently unveiled the BlackBerry App World, while Nokia has the Ovi Store. Palm’s new webOS will include an on-device store for the Palm Pre, while Microsoft will introduce an application store for Windows Mobile 6.5 devices this fall.