A recent report by asymco illustrates the staggering growth of the Apple App Store.
It was inspired by the announcement from Apple that the app store that it's close to hitting the ten billion apps downloaded mark. That figure alone, while big, doesn't mean a lot without a bit of context, so asymco compared the rate of growth in downloads from the App Store with those if iTunes.
As you can see from the first table below, the App Store is going to hit the ten billion download mark in less than half the time it took iTunes to reach that point.
Now, one major caveat to attach to these figures it that the majority of downloads from the App Store will have been free, while that won't have been the case with iTunes.
But nonetheless, in this context we get a sense of just how huge the mobile app market is, especially when you look at the gradient of the App Store curve.
The reason downloads are growing so rapidly is: not only are sales of devices growing, but so it the number of apps downloaded per device. Bear in mind the chart below assumes all devices sold are still active, so the accurate attach rate will be even higher.
The author of the report draws three conclusions:
1. Apps overtaking digital music is a watershed event. Apps are a new medium: they will impact all other media.
2. As the number of apps attached to any single device continues to increase, apps create increasingly higher switching costs for users.
3. Apps consumption is increasing at a rate to overtake the PC software market.
Lastly from asymco (although we cover another report on the next page) the same author wrote a follow-up report with a look at what the people who sell their products via the respective marketplaces - publishers on iTunes and developers on the App Store - have made out of the deal.
In the final chart below you can see that payments to developers have probably hit the two billion dollar mark sooner than to publishers. That curve is surely set to go exponential too.