Apple reaches 1 billion App Store downloads

Apple crossed the 1 billion App Store application download threshold last Thursday, flipping the switch on its countdown webpage to a screen reading “Thanks a billion. Over 1 billion downloads in just nine months.”

Apple began the countdown to the milestone on April 10, additionally announcing a promotion to award $10,000 in iTunes credit, a 17-inch MacBook Pro, a 32GB iPod touch, and a Time Capsule, together valued at close to $14,000. The winner of the prize package has not yet been announced.

Research firm mobileSQUARED correctly predicted April 23 as the date Apple would reach the 1 billion benchmark, based on calculations that iPhone and iPod touch users are downloading about 5.1 million applications per day on average.

In addition, during a conference call Tuesday to announce Apple's second quarter earnings, executives acknowledged they were "hours away" from the billionth download.

Recent data from research firm Compete suggests 17% of iPhone owners have downloaded more than 31 applications from the App Store - 10% have downloaded between 21 and 30 apps, 18% have downloaded between 16 and 20 apps, 15% have downloaded between 11 and 15 apps, and 22% have downloaded between six and 10 apps.

15% of iPhone owners have downloaded between one and five applications, and only 3% have not downloaded any apps at all.

By contrast, says Compete, 27% of all US smartphone owners have not yet downloaded any applications - that number includes 36% of Motorola smartphone users, 32% of BlackBerry smartphone users and 23% of Palm smartphone users.

But 54% of smartphone owners have downloaded between one and five apps (including 50% of Palm users, 46% of BlackBerry users and 37% of Motorola users).

For more on the App Store milestone:
- read this TechCrunch