October 22, 2008: During an Apple conference call, Steve Jobs reveals that a user downloaded the 200 millionth app from the App Store that very day.
The news comes less than five months after the launch of the App Store, and only one month after Apple surpassed 100 million app downloads.
The opening of the iOS App Store
Opening the App Store marked a turning point both for the iPhone and for Apple as a whole. The company proved the viability of paid downloads five years before the App Store launched, courtesy of iTunes. By 2008, iTunes was well on its way to becoming the world’s largest music vendor.
An iTunes-like store for iPhone software offered massive potential. Suddenly, everyone could peddle their own “killer app” for Apple’s revolutionary smartphone.
Still, Jobs initially refused to go along with the App Store concept. He thought it would result in the iPhone being overrun by lesser-quality third-party software. Fortunately, he changed his mind.
By the time the App Store opened on July 10, 2008, 500 third-party apps were available, with 25% of them free to download. The App Store became an immediate success for Apple, garnering 10 million downloads in its first 72 hours.
The App Store: Apple’s most important invention?
While 200 million app downloads might seem like a big deal, it’s nothing compared to the App Store’s size today. In October 2008, the App Store offered around 4,000 apps. Today, that number sits well over 2 million. The total number of downloads so far is in excess of 130 billion.
Along the way, Apple generated around $70 billion for developers (and more than $30 billion for itself) with the App Store. It also transformed the way software gets sold (and the way smartphones get used).