Apple Throws Birthday Party for App Store, Highlights its Favorites

The year-old App Store delivers cool apps and cash.

This week Apple celebrates the App Store's first anniversary. That's right, only a year old.

In a mere 12 months, the App Store has been able to serve up some 55,000 apps and rack up more than a billion downloads. It's become a nice revenue stream for the folks in Cupertino. Apple doesn't break out App Store profits, but Shaw Wu, an analyst for Kaufman Brothers, told the Wall Street Journal that the App Store probably delivers a few hundred million dollars per quarter for Apple.

Here's another metric: If you bought every app in the App Store, you'd fork out $144,326.06, according to Busted Loop, a metrics company. Busted Loop has unearthed some trends in App Store pricing: medical apps are pricey, best selling apps have relatively stable prices, and navigation apps are gaining pricing power. Moreover, the total price of all apps is rising like the slopes of Mt. Everest.

So what's next? With the iPhone OS 3.0 SDK, which Apple says brings "the ability to leverage the incredible purchase model of the App Store within apps," the iPhone will become a virtual cash register. It's possible that companies like publishers and SaaS providers will offer a free (or cheap) iPhone app over the App Store but micro charge for content and services. Call it the next-generation App Store.

Nevertheless, Apple is planning to throw a party for its year-old App Store and put a special section on the App Store showcasing its 30 favorite apps (not including games).

Here's a list of some of them: Instapaper Pro, New York Times, Facebook, and AP Mobile (which are also some of my favs), Stanza, Midomi Music Identifier and Search, MLB.com, BeejiveIM (I prefer AIM), Dictionary.com (I prefer Wordbook), Brushes (which was used to create a New Yorker cover), FlightTrack Pro, Fandango, Tweetie (I prefer TweetDeck), Google Earth, Loopt (a kind of social compass), Things (to-do list manager), and Yelp.

Got a different take? Send me an email at tkaneshige@cio.com. Or follow me on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline.

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