Apple CEO Tim Cook announced today during the company’s FY Q4 2014 earnings call that Apple’s cumulative App Store downloads have now topped 85 billion up from 60 billion around a year ago. The number was announced alongside news of Apple’s massive quarter, and its record-breaking sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices.
For additional context, at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco this June, the company announced that the iOS App Store had then reached 1.2 million applications. By September, that number had reached 1.3 million – a figure that had put Apple just behind competitor Google, which is currently estimated to have roughly 1.4 million or 1.5 million, depending on which reports you go by. (The latter is App Annie’s data.) In other words, the app store races – at least in terms of filling out the stores’ virtual shelves – are neck and neck.
More importantly, perhaps – thanks to the launch of Apple Pay, also out this morning with the release of iOS 8.1 – App Store’s capability to grow developer revenue increases. Although many people only associate Apple Pay with the ability to pay at point-of-sale at a growing number of supported retailers, Apple Pay also enables in-app transactions to take place with just a touch of the finger. That means that more consumers will be able to purchase things in apps, and this will be easier than before because they’ll no longer have to remember their Apple ID and password. Instead, just by touching on the fingerprint reader on new iPhones and iPads running iOS 8, they’ll be able to pay using the credit or debit card information on file, already associated with their Apple account. (Apple already offers Touch ID for in-app purchases, but Apple Pay could enable even more types of transactions to occur easily – like ordering food or ordering an Uber, for example.)
App Store developers are a boon to the company’s bottom line. This summer, Apple CEO Tim Cook cited iTunes as one of the fastest-growing segments of Apple’s business. “iTunes billings grew 25% year-over-year in the June quarter and reached an all-time quarterly high, thanks to the very strong results from the App Store,” he said at the time.