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Billionth iPhone App Downloader Scores Freebies; Developer Wins Too

Nine months after Apple began selling apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch, 13-year-old Connor Mulcahey of Weston, Connecticut downloaded the billionth application from the iTunes store.

Poetically, it was a free app.

Mulcahey, barely old enough to have qualified for the contest, will win tens of thousands of dollars in Apple hardware and software for his fateful download of Bump, a free app that lets people exchange contact info by holding iPhones and bumping fists.

He’s not the only winner. Bump Technology also stands to gain from having its app mentioned in the first paragraph of an Apple announcement.

The company’s free app (paid version soon) is simple but potentially useful. Enter your phone number, address, e-mail address, and photo, and you’ll be able to beam any or all of that information to another iPhone or iPod Touch user who also has the app installed with a simple fist-bump greeting gesture. Contact information gets swapped over an encrypted internet connection, not Bluetooth or an ad-hoc WiFi connection, but that could change this summer when Apple enables peer-to-peer connections on the devices.

Apple itself makes 30 cents on the dollar from the sale of paid apps — about the same rate it commands from recording artists and record labels. (If developers really are the new rock stars, it makes sense that iTunes pays them what it pays actual rock stars.)

Apple, predictably, is celebrating the latest in its long run of iPhone- and iPod-related successes.

“The revolutionary App Store has been a phenomenal hit with iPhone and iPod touch users around the world, and we’d like to thank our customers and developers for helping us achieve the astonishing milestone of one billion apps downloaded,” stated Apple senior vice president of worldwide product marketing Philip Schiller. “In nine months, the App Store has completely revolutionized the mobile industry and this is only the beginning.”

It’s true that the App Store revolutionized the mobile industry. Apple did this by letting developers hawk wares directly to consumers, rather than forcing them to deal with cellphone carriers, who forced them through lengthy approval processes, horded screen space, and generally formed a blockade between mobile developers and users. Now that Apple has broken that deadlock, other smartphone platforms are developing along similar lines.

And it’s impressive that iPhone and iPod Touch users have downloaded a billion apps from the store, since (as we confirmed today with Apple) its download tally does not include updates to previously-downloaded apps.

But the road to the billionth download hasn’t been entirely smooth.

In the early days of the App Store, developers seemed generally happy with the process of submitting apps (Pandora chief technology officer Tom Conrad, formerly of Apple, told us before the App Store launched that his team preferred developing for the iPhone to developing for the web).

But a flurry of headlines about youngsters making millions by selling apps ranging from the useful (HopStop, Credit Card Terminal) to the inane (flatulence simulators) has stimulated a gold rush that challenges Apple’s ability to keep up with the torrent of apps being submitted. The company has already approved over 35,000 apps for inclusion in the store, and as Schiller said, “this is only the beginning.”

Source: Blog.wired.com

This entry was posted on Saturday, April 25th, 2009 at 12:56 am and is filed under iPhone App Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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