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Apple App Store To Hit 50 Billion Downloads Within Days

50 billion downloads is the grand total that the App Store is approaching. That's 7 apps for every person alive on the planet, or if you prefer to think inside local borders that's 160 apps for every person living in the U.S.

On Apple's special promo page for its big App Store milestone, the company spins the usual platitudes of saying it "couldn't have done it without you"—the paying public—and notes that the person who actually downloads the 50 billionth app will get a $10,000 App Store gift card. With which they can, obviously, download more apps. Interestingly, Apple's also giving the next 50 downloaders a $500 card.

It's a promotional vehicle for Apple, and it's unashamed because the figure is quite so astonishingly large. Apple's app store didn't exist when the iPhone was launched in 2007, and yet it has grown to astonishing proportions—and value to the company's bottom line. Recent data suggested that while Google's Play store for Android devices is finally catching up to the number of apps available on Apple's (with 700,000 officially counted apps versus iTunes' 800,000+) the elder App Store still commands the lead in terms of revenue: It earned Apple 2.6 times as much cash last quarter than Google earned from its effort.

iTunes celebrated 40 billion app downloads only as recently as January, which tells you how swiftly the App Store is growing. Apple also counted one billion iTunes U downloads in February and 25 billion song downloads through iTunes the same month.

[Image: By Flickr user philaaronson]