Apple's extensive app ecosystem shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Indeed, Cupertino is confirming that users have downloaded a staggering 40 billion apps, with nearly 20 billion in 2012 alone.
According to Apple VP Eddy Cue, the App Store boasts over 500 million active accounts and had a record-breaking December with over two billion confirmed downloads. In addition, iOS devs have coded over 775,000 apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users.
Unsurprisingly, the App Store has won accolades from a number of industry heavyweights, as well as Bad Robot's JJ Abrams.
“The App Store provided us with opportunities beyond our wildest dreams,” said Abrams. “Our app Action Movie FX was designed to bring Hollywood special effects to anyone’s self-made video, whether that be on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, and we’re just thrilled that millions of fans around the world were as excited as we were about the possibilities that this app brings.”
Apple's App Store currently offers more than 775,000 apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users in 155 countries around the world. There are also more than 300,000 native iPad apps available.
AsTG Daily previously reported, Apple was recently ranked first by ABI Research in a competitive assessment of mobile application storefronts, with Google finishing second and Microsoft third.
According to ABI Research analyst Aapo Markkanen, the leading app distributors were ranked by two primary criteria: implementation and innovation.
"In terms of implementation, Apple came first, ahead of Google and RIM. The company’s superior performance in this dimension is mainly down to its effective approach to monetization, large market share over the app industry, and the ability to achieve a large inventory of titles while maintaining a reasonably strict quality control," Markkanen explained.
"However, in the innovation dimension Apple is narrowly beaten by Microsoft, with Google claiming the third spot. [We were] particularly impressed by Microsoft’s fresh approach to app discovery, as well as Windows Phone store’s overall solid usability."
Discovery, says the analyst, is an area that has been given significant importance, because when a customer arrives at an app storefront much of the following download activity is based on how the vendor presents and highlights its inventory, especially through various charts.
"Although Apple has done a great job capitalizing on App Store’s head start as an app distributor, it should really start re-thinking the way it charts the top apps. Microsoft should be lauded for its initiative to extend its ranking algorithm beyond raw download figures, by including factors that can actually measure the customer satisfaction and retention," Markkanen noted.
"Retention-based charts are less prone to manipulation, so as an additional plus Microsoft can also afford being more transparent about its approach. Moves like this can help break the developers free from the ‘tyranny of downloads’, decrease their reliance on costly marketing campaigns, and thus lower the barriers to entry."