Apple Announces Winner of One Billion Apps Contest

| News

Apple on Friday announced that 13-year-old Connor Mulcahey of Connecticut was the grand prize winner in its one billion iPhone apps contest. The company said the billionth app was Bump Technologies' free contact information exchange app Bump.

Connor scored a US$10,000 iTunes gift card, an iPod touch, a Time Capsule, and a MacBook Pro as the grand prize winner.

Apple also noted that over 35,000 apps are now available on the App Store.



Congrats!  My only question is why bother to have a non-purchase entry option?  The manual entry page seldom worked as advertised.  I am not a sore loser but keep the field level

Way to go Connor!


I believe the field was quite level. The likelihood of each individual manual entry to win was equal to that of each one individual download. The degree of difficulty to submit entry was more-or-less the same (click to download, click to submit the form). This isn’t in any way different from any other sweepstakes entry (like cereal boxes, magazine subscriptions, etc).


They are legally required to offer a no purchase option for entering the contest. Otherwise it would be considered a lottery. That is why you always hear “No Purchase Necessary to Win…” disclaimers at the end of contest advertisements.


They are legally required to offer a no purchase option for entering the contest. Otherwise it would be considered a lottery. That is why you always hear ?No Purchase Necessary to Win?? disclaimers at the end of contest advertisements.

Yeah, but they could have just said that there are free apps to download in the App store and not bothered with the web form.

I imagine, the web form was cheaper in the long run to avoid a lot of free app downloads for contest entries.

Must be nice to be 13 and have enough free time to probably be downloading apps and entering the web form often enough to win.

I think a random drawing from all entrants during the promotion would have been better.


That still wouldn’t have met the legal requirements for an alternate “no purchase required” entry, since it would require the contestant to have an iPod/iPhone AND to actually acquire something from the store (even if it IS free). That would make it look like a free lottery.

Submitting a form online is equivalent of hand-printing name and address on an index card and mailing it in.

I wonder if the kid even knew there was a contest, or simply downloaded an app he wanted and suddenly, “Boom! You’re a winner!”.


Unless you live on Mac sites, the average Joe wasn’t aware of the contest.  When I brought the contest to the attention of several friends with iPhones, all were ignorant about it.  I sent a huge email distro to folks, many of whom don’t own any Apple products to manually register.

Again let me remind you that the site was rarely functioning.  Plus my read of the rules made my chances as good as a person who visited the Appstore.  This to me implied a drawing of sorts.  The whole thing to me appears badly planned.  Noticed I didn’t say rigged.

Some of you have quoted the law about how a contest like this has to be run but I still don’t get it.  What did they do with all of the electronic entries?  What function did the online entries really serve?  Again I am happy for Connor.  Accident or not the young man hit the jackpot!


A late thought just hit me.  If I entered the contest manually, did my entry act a purchase/download?  In effect did each time i hit submit, it was counted by Apple as a purchase or whatever?  In that case did Apple actually hit the Billion app target?  Just a thought.  LOL


I think this is the way the drawing happened. They had some application checking entries for the prize by collecting data on purchases on the app store, as well as data submitted via the web site. The entries from the two sources were inserted into some database, together with the exact time when they occurred (purchaser clicked ‘Buy’, online submitter clicked ‘Submit’). When their counter reached 1 billion apps, they look at the log on the app store server and check the time stamp on that transaction. If between the previous app store purchase (1 billion minus one) and the one billionth one there was an online submission, that would mean that the winner of the millionth download wouldn’t have been a download but instead an online submission.

Whenever you want to organise a contest in which you are giving prizes to contestants who are asked to purchase or obtain something from you (trial subscription, free sample bottle of something, time-share presentation), you are required by law to allow contestants to participate in the contest without obtaining anything from you. The participation used to be in the form of an index card with a hand-printed name and address (mechanical copies were disallowed, to prevent submissions in large volume). These days, online submissions are allowed by law as well.

The winner of the contest has to be determined reasonably randomly (i.e. cannot be as a result of skill, knowledge or something similar), so even though in our case, contestants were required to download an app at precisely the right moment (or submit an entry online), there was no skill that could have allowed them to time their entry precisely to their advantage, so the reasonably random requirement was met.


I’m not convinced it was random enough. Those who entered the contest early had no chance to win. To make it totally random - from the day the contest started the “countdown” should not have been available; nor should a senior Apple employee have stated that Thursday was the most likely day to produce a winner. That’s why most of these types of competitions are decided by a draw from all correctly submitted entries.


This is, in concept, very similar to radio contests where caller number 19 wins a pair of tickets to a concert. As a contestant, you need to time your call right, but have no way of guessing it exactly right, so it’s random enough for the purposes of the rules.


I don’t mean to start a discussion about the definition of randomness, chance and probability theory or we’ll soon be dragging in Aristotle, Fermat and von Neumann!
But - to be random each and every entry into the competition should have an equal chance of winning. This was clearly not the case.
As iVoid said earlier - A random draw from all entrants would have been better.
On the other hand Apple can devise any sort of (legal) competition it likes and nowhere, as far as I can see, did Apple say or imply this was a game of chance.
But I could be wrong.


Yes, I agree with you regarding the degree of randomness of this particular contest; it is fairly clear that it wasn’t truly random in the strict definition of the word.

My only point was that contest like these aren’t that uncommon, and if there are any laws or legal requirements, it seems that there are precedents in the radio call-in contests I mentioned earlier, which seem to work in fairly the same manner as did this one from Apple, and which apparently meet those requirements (otherwise, we would have long ago heard from someone, via the court systems).


Update.  I contacted two people in the App store PR department.  I included the link to this thread.  My request was simply an explanation of the winner was selected.

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account