App Store surpasses 50 billion downloads

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Brandon Ashmore, who calls Mentor, Ohio, home, is having a very good day. Apple on Thursday announced that Ashmore downloaded the 50 billionth app from the App Store.

As part of Apple’s promotion for the historic download, this makes Ashmore the lucky winner of an iTunes gift card worth a cool $10,000. The app Ashmore downloaded to win the prize was Space Inch’s new Say the Same Thing, a fun (and free) game for the iPhone in which two players collaborate to find common words by free association—like the old “think of a word” game you used to play as a kid, but with smartphones.

Apple itself has much to celebrate, of course, as the App Store now counts some 850 thousand apps—almost half of which work natively on the iPad—and has paid out some $9 billion in royalties to developers.

And, if 50 billion downloads doesn’t sound impressive enough, consider this: That’s the number of first-time downloads only, which doesn’t include updates or re-downloads.

For context, Apple celebrated 40 billion App Store downloads in January of this year, noting that half of those had come in 2012. Adding another 10 billion in the next four or so months puts the company on target to exceed last year's download number by a significant margin.

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