Apple's App Store: 1.5 billion served

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Today, Apple said its customers have downloaded 1.5 billion apps from the company's iTunes App Store.

Folks must be downloading apps at a frantic pace on their iPhones and iPod Touches because it was just three months ago that Apple (AAPL) had its billionth download. The real excitement from this announcement? Steve Jobs is speaking again. Well, speaking for the company via press release.
"The App Store is like nothing the industry has ever seen before in both scale and quality," Apple chief executive officer Steve Jobs said in a release issued by the company. "With 1.5 billion apps downloaded, it is going to be very hard for others to catch up."

Indeed it will be difficult for companies like Research in Motion (RIMM) and Palm (PALM) to duplicate the success of Apple's App Store. Both competitors have created their own app stores after seeing what Apple has achieved. The biggest Apple app problem isn't competition, it's app overload. At what point are there so many apps that the App Store gets so crowded that no one goes there anymore? (To paraphrase Yogi Berra.)

Could Apple's apps become so successful that the App Store is looked upon as cumbersome and no longer cool or edgy? That's the danger of offering 65,000 apps with more than 100,000 developers developing them.

Apple says there are 40 million iPhones and iPod Touches out there gobbling up apps. If the company does begin selling a tablet version of a netbook computer, minus a keyboard, in October, as reported yesterday, it makes sense that such a tablet would be a natural extension for customers to buy apps for.

To be sure, Apple does a good job of listing the most popular apps by total downloads and in specific categories. They also mix in a variety of featured apps and staff picks, as bookstores do. But when there are a quarter-of-a-million apps, will this same strategy work?

In any case, it's a nice problem for a company to have.

Anthony Massucci is a senior writer for DailyFinance. You may follow him on Twitter at hianthony.
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