One million iOS apps have been created since the platform’s introduction in July 2008, according to app discovery firm Appsfire. The company did not disclose how it calculated the one million app tally, but its estimate is close to that of another firm, 148Apps, which clocks the total number of approved iOS apps at 991,836 as of October.
It’s important to note that the numbers put forth by both Appsfire and 148Apps are for the total number of iOS apps created since the launch of the iOS App Store. This includes, as of October, roughly 728,000 active apps and 264,000 inactive apps that have been abandoned, taken down from the store, or were not updated as iOS system requirements increased.
Apple has not published official numbers on apps in the iOS App Store, but the company does occasionally highlight approximate statistics to note milestones. During the company’s media event in late October to introduce the iPad mini, Apple CEO Tim Cook told the audience that there were over 700,000 apps then available in the App Store, with customers downloading those apps a total of 35 billion times.
Considering the current rate of app approval worldwide — about 30,000 per month — and factoring in the inactive apps that Mr. Cook did not include in his tally, it is indeed possible that the iOS App Store has crossed the one million total app mark.
While such a milestone is a great success for Apple, it is interesting to see how the company’s controlled app platform compares to that of the far more open Android ecosystem. Shortly after Mr. Cook announced the current availability of 700,000 iOS apps, Google quickly pointed out that it, too, has 700,000 apps available for Android devices.
There are no details dividing Google's total between “active” and “inactive” Android apps, and with such an open system that allows for the procurement of apps from almost anywhere it may be impossible to accurately calculate such a difference. But the 700,000 figure provided by Google for its official Android store shows how much the open mobile platform has caught up with iOS.
For most users, however, the total app counts for each of the leading mobile platforms is irrelevant. Beyond a certain minimum threshold, it is app quality, and not quantity, that is the deciding factor for end users.
As the one million estimate for total iOS apps requires the inclusion of “inactive” apps, we are unsure if Apple will choose to highlight this statistic at its next media event. As the App Store approaches one million active apps, however, it is a safe bet that Mr. Cook will let us know.
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