Senior VP Phil Schiller, meanwhile, sounds slightly more thrilled, saying in its three-year life span the App Store has "grown to become the most exciting and successful software marketplace the world has ever seen."
But Apple is largely understated in announcing the achievement. Let's look at the numbers revealed in the press release:
- 15 billion apps downloaded
- More than 200 million iOS users (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)
- Over 100,000 native iPad apps
- 425,000 overall apps
- Consumers in 90 countries
- Over $2.5 billion in revenue share to developers thus far
This means an average app download rate of about 415 million per month--huge. But at the WWDC developer conference just a few weeks ago Apple noted  it had sold 14 billion apps, which means over a billion sold in just a single month (and it added 10,000 apps to the iPad catalog in the same period). This means the pace of App Store sales is accelerating at a rather rapid rate. That's quite definitely changing the mobile marketplace, and having a ripple effect on the entire software market.
Over 200 million iOS users is another huge figure, and since we can assume a significant majority of these users have their credit cards on file with Apple so they can buy apps and music, Apple may have one of the very biggest customer databases in the world--with a proven reliability as a vendor, and billions of dollars in sales. This sets it up perfectly to become an innovator in the mobile payments space--even PayPal has a database of only 90 million . And because Apple covers 90 countries, it could potentially try to change the world's spending habits, rather than the regional attempts that other companies like Google are trying.
A $2.5 billion payout to developers means Apple itself has made over $1 billion in revenues from the sale of apps thanks to the 70/30 sales split the App Store works on.
All of this, combined with the imminence of the iPhone 5 , which Apple expects to sell more units than any previous model, and the increasingly loud rumors  of an iPad update coming before the end of 2011, means this should be a very good year indeed for Steve Jobs and the gang. It also means other players in the tablet and smartphone space will likely have an even tougher time catching Apple.
[Image: Flickr user brandnewbrain ]