The Difference Between 18B and 50B is Not 32B, But 18

18 months, that is. For those readers who have been following the mobile and tablet industry news over the last 24 hours, you already know the significance of the number 50B. That’s the official tally of apps which have been downloaded from the Apple App Store since its opening five years ago. la-fi-tn-apple-50-billionth-app-download-googl-001 Just 18 months ago, that number stood at just 18B, impressive at the time, but only a modest 36% of the Wednesday’s record-setting total. In one of our first blog posts, “18 Billion Apps. That’s a Big Number” we shared our thoughts on this, marveling on the quick uptake of the app market in such a short time. (Don’t worry if you didn’t read this post — you can now. Go ahead. We’ll wait.) Great, thanks for coming back. That lucky App store customer, the downloader of the 50 billionth app, was one Brandon Ashmore of Mentor, OH. He’s now the proud owner of a $10,000 iTunes gift card, the leader of a tribe of 50 other winners of ‘additional prizes’ valued at $500. (Congratulations Mr. Ashmore. Use your power wisely.) We’re pleased that our app development team had a part to play in the amassing of this total. Between yoga practitioners, clean air advocates, indie film buffs, friends looking to meet friends and short film-o-philes, we’re proud to have added to this multi-billion tally. But like Apple and its millions of fans, we’re not going to stop there. We’ve got new projects in the pipeline and more ideas dropping in impromptu brainstorming sessions every week. Every one of them may not be officially published in the store, but we like to keep our app development minds focused and sharp. A couple impressive facts which bear noting: The first 18B apps too over 3 years to download. The next 32B apps, however, only took 18 months. At this rate, we’re likely to see 100B by 2016. And at the rate that iPhones and iPads continue to sell, that day may be here even sooner. Yet for all the good press heaped upon Apple this week, we shouldn’t ignore that the fact that there are other, competing platforms in the marketplace…and they’re doing pretty well at catching up to Apple. According to the LA Times, the number of app downloads from the Google Play store have also nearly approached this same number.

But Apple’s celebration may be short-lived. The search giant on Wednesday announced that its own digital store, Google Play, was only about 1 billion downloads behind Apple and was close to hitting the 50 billion app downloads mark.

So actually, if you count ALL the apps in play in the mobile and tablet marketplace, we’re already well beyond 100B apps downloaded, used, updated and improved. With apologies to Everett Dirksen, “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you’re talking…a real app revolution.” The future sure is great to live in.