At Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco this morning, the company announced that the iOS App Store has now reached 1.2 million applications – a staggering number that puts Apple neck-and-neck with competitor Google, which is currently estimated to have roughly 1.2 million.
For comparison’s sake, at last year’s WWDC, also in June, Apple announced there were then 900,000 apps available on its platform, which had been downloaded 50 billion times. At the time, the company also noted it had paid developers $10 billion. By October, the number of available apps topped 1 million, with 475,000 designed specifically for iPad, and $13 billion paid to developers.
In addition, Apple’s CEO said today, that to date, users had downloaded 75 billion applications, and users visit the App Store 300 million times per week.
Also remarkable is how quickly the iOS developer base is growing. As Apple CEO Tim Cook noted on stage this morning, there are now 9 million registered developers, which is up 47% from just last year. And, he added, two-third of the developers attending WWDC this year were there for the first time.
However, the increasing size of the App Store and its continued growth have made it more difficult for newcomers to get noticed. That has led a number of developers down darker paths, turning to tricks that game the App Store algorithm to help their app shoot up the charts and get ranked. In more recent months, it has also led to a pile-on in with one viral app after another being copied dozens upon dozens of times, as developers hope to ride the resulting wave as users search for hot keywords on the App Store, whether that’s “Flappy Bird” or “Threes” or whatever else is the trend du jour.
But more importantly, the crowding of the App Store has led many publishers to look outside of Apple’s ecosystem when it comes time to promote their creations to a wider audience. For Facebook, this trend has had a significant impact on the company’s bottom line, with the social network reporting its mobile ad business had jump from nothing only a few years ago, to 59% of its ad revenue.
But the App Store’s challenges are being addressed with a massive update to the App Store. More on that shortly, stay tuned.