Apple CEO Tim Cook announces at an October iPad mini event that the 700,000 apps in the App Store have been downloaded 35 billion times. Photo: John Bradley/Wired
Mobile app development hit a major milestone today when Apple accepted its one-millionth — yes, one-millionth — app for sale in the App Store, further underscoring Cupertino’s lead in the apps space.
Yes, the number of apps accepted differs from the number of apps available in the App Store, since not every application can stick it out over the long haul. Still, it highlights the remarkable staying power of the majority of iOS apps and the overwhelming popularity of the iOS platform.
“It really shows how popular iOS has been with software developers,” Gartner analyst Brian Blau told Wired. “And [Apple] really has attracted quite a few more software developers. It’s relatively easy to start developing for iOS — you can get up and running pretty quickly.”
Appsfire, an app that lets you track, discover, and find deals on new apps, arrived at the number by following and disseminating Apple’s official feed of iTunes information. The one million figure reflects apps that have been approved and gone live in the App Store since it opened to developers in 2008.
“I think it’s pretty plausible, but it’s hard to tell,” Blau said of Appsfire’s calculations. “If it’s not a million apps, it’s probably pretty close.”
According to Apple’s latest publicly released numbers, the total number of apps currently available in the App Store tops 700,000. Some of those apps, like Chomp, eventually were purchased by other companies and integrated into the buyer’s products. Others, like event discovery app RAVN, eventually decide to close down and shut their doors for one reason or another.
The number of apps Apple has in its ecosystem has long been a bonus over competitors like Android and Windows Phone, but Android’s Google Play Store is catching up in terms of numbers. Officially, it houses over 600,000 apps and games, with 20 billion installs so far. But quantity is not necessarily an indicator of quality.
“In general, the Apple app ecosystem is far ahead of Google Play,” Appsfire co-founder Ouriel Ohayon told Wired via email. “There are more apps (not a lot more), more money that flows in that business too. Google still is behind in terms of billing experience, piracy, and quality of apps in general.”
Indeed, just this weekend a bundle of fake Apple apps like iMovie and GarageBand popped up in Play Store, only to be removed a few hours later. Google’s policy of openness plays against it in this respect, whereas Apple’s strict set of guidelines and conditions for apps to get accepted in the App Store are largely better at preventing scams like that from being approved. “Apple is also ahead in terms of apps specifically made for tablets — over 275,000,” Ohayon said.
The total number of apps accepted into the App Store is not a stat publicly announced from Apple thus far, so it’s unlikely we’ll see official confirmation of this number at any future earnings calls or media events.