Friday, July 8, 2011

Apple's App Store Passes 15 Billion Downloads

Apple is claiming its App Store has passed 15 billion downloads, and currently boasts 425,000 apps.

Apple's App Store has passed more than 15 billion downloads, according to the company. Currently, the online storefront holds some 425,000 applications, including 100,000 native iPad applications.

Apple also claims some 200 million devices are running iOS, its mobile operating system.

That represents a considerable bar for rivals such as Hewlett-Packard and Google, which also offer application storefronts. Of those competitors, Android Market perhaps comes closest to matching Apple's capacity, with hundreds of thousands of applications available for mobile devices running Google Android. However, the number of applications for Apple's iPad greatly exceeds those optimized specifically for Android tablets.

With its soon-to-be-released Mac OS X "Lion," Apple will include a baked-in Mac App Store with access to a variety of full-screen applications for the company's laptops and desktops. It is a spiritual descendent of the App Store for iOS devices, and perhaps one of the biggest examples of how Apple's advances in mobile-device software are beginning to influence its entire product line.

Apple's upcoming iOS 5 will offer a host of improvements, many of them seemingly designed as a response to competitors such as Google Android and Research In Motion's BlackBerry franchise. Certainly the "iMessenger" conversation platform is an answer to RIM's BlackBerry Messenger. Of greater importance to some users may be Apple's iCloud service, due to ship this fall, and which will sync content and push it to various devices via the cloud. It is integrated with applications, ensuring automatic updates.

During a June 6 presentation to unveil iOS 5, iCloud and Mac OS X Lion, Apple executives claimed the company had sold more than 200 million iOS devices and occupied some 44 percent of the mobile operating system market.

For the three-month period between the end of February and the end of May, comScore estimated Apple's share of the U.S. smartphone market rose from 25.2 percent to 26.6 percent. During the same period, adoption of Google's Android platform rose from 33 percent to 38.1 percent, Microsoft dipped from 7.7 percent to 5.8 percent, and Research In Motion slid from 28.9 percent to 24.7 percent. Those percentages do not include tablets, though, and thus don’t represent the totality of iOS' market effect.

Current rumors suggest the iPhone 5, Apple's next-generation smartphone, could launch sometime this fall. Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty recently stated in a note to investors that the next iPhone "will begin production in mid to late August and ramp aggressively." Her information apparently came from talks with unnamed sources in Taiwan. Bloomberg also reported June 21 that the next iPhone would debut in September and include the company's faster A5 processor, along with an 8-megapixel camera.

It goes almost without saying that the device, whenever it's finally released, will have a lot of applications available for downloading.

By Carl W. Brooks

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