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Apple's App Store hits 15 billion downloads

The App Store's top apps on Thursday, July 7, 2011.
The App Store's top apps on Thursday, July 7, 2011.

More than 15 billion apps have been downloaded from Apple's App Store the company said Thursday, and there are now more than 425,000 apps, from gas price trackers to gas sound makers.

Apple launched the much-imitated App Store three years ago in July 2008, and reached the "10 billion apps downloaded" mark last January. Reaching 15 billion in a little more than six months — a 50 percent increase since January — shows the continuing power and draw of the iPhone, as well as the iPod Touch and iPad, now in 90 countries.

The company also confirmed what had been reported a week ago, that there are now more than 100,000 apps, or programs, in the App Store that have been created expressly for the iPad.

"In just three years, the revolutionary App Store has grown to become the most exciting and successful software marketplace the world has ever seen,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, in a press release.

“Thank you to all of our amazing developers who have filled it with over 425,000 of the coolest apps and to our over 200 million iOS users for surpassing 15 billion downloads.”

Apple, which takes 30 percent of app revenue and gives app developers 70 percent, said it has paid app developers more than $2.5 billion since 2008.

And leading the top five paid downloads: Games, with everyone's favorite time-suck, "Angry Birds," at No. 1, followed by "Fruit Ninja," "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," "Tiny Wings" and "Tetris."

That list jibes with a finding this week from Nielsen that games are the most popular mobile app category, at least in the U.S., and that users of Apple's iOS mobile operating system spend almost twice as much time — 14.7 hours a month — playing games "as the average mobile gamer."

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