March 3, 2012 at 3:14 PM ET
25 billion and counting: That's the new mark Apple's App Store reached Saturday, and the company let users know with a "thank you" on its home page, shown here.
Just last July, Apple said it hit 15 billion downloads; last January, it was at 10 billion.
The App Store opened for business in July 2008, about a year after the first iPhone was released. It now has more than 500,000 apps for the iPhone and 140,000 specifically for the iPad.
Apple's closest competitor in the app store arena is Google's Android Market, which opened in October 2008, and reached 10 billion app downloads last December.
The Mac App Store, started by Apple in January 2011 for computer software, topped 100 million downloads in December.
The lucky customer who made the 25 billionth download will win a $10,000 App Store gift card from Apple, which has yet to announce the winner.
The most popular app right now, in both the free and paid categories: "Draw Something" by OMGPOP, a social drawing and guessing game that can be played with friends.
Updated Monday, 10:15 a.m. Eastern: Apple has announced the details of the 25 billionth download:
"The 25 billionth app downloaded, 'Where's My Water? Free,' was downloaded by Chunli Fu of Qingdao, China. As the winner of the App Store Countdown to 25 Billion Apps, Chunli Fu will receive a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card."
Hopefully the winner will do the right thing, and use some of that $10K to buy the premium, 99-cent version of the free game that brought him iTunes riches.
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