App Store Beats iTunes to 10 Billion Downloads by 6 Years

Apple (s aapl) has posted a downloads countdown page on its site as it approaches 10 billion apps downloaded. This year marks the App Store’s third birthday, so that’s an average of over 3 billion app downloads per year. iTunes took eight years to reach the same milestone.

What makes that figure even more interesting is the fact that just last year, Apple celebrated the 10 billionth download from the iTunes Music Store in similar fashion. That milestone came a full eight years after the debut of the iTunes store, which makes for an average of just over 1 billion downloads a year.

That’s six years difference in how long it took each store to reach the 10 billion download mark. However, it’s easy to see why the difference exists; there are millions of iOS devices out there, and since there are a whole load of free apps available, that’s got to account for a large percentage of those downloads. Whereas a large proportion of the App Store is free, only a very small minority of the iTunes Music Store offerings can make the same claim.

There’s also the fact that a lot of people get their music from sources outside of Apple, something which isn’t possible to do with apps without jailbreaking. People new to Apple devices likely already have an established music collection, but someone who’s never had an iOS device before won’t have any apps at all, making them more likely to download apps than music.

While Apple celebrates 10 billion downloads, HP-owned Palm (s hpq) is getting excited about having surpassed 100 million downloads from the webOS store. Palm may not be an iOS competitor on the level of, say, Google(s goog), but the discrepancy still says a lot about the app gap between Apple and the rest of the market.

Whoever downloads the 10 billionth app on the App Store is up for a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card, so hit up that Top Free apps list and get to it. If you’re interested in finding out how much you’ve contributed to those download numbers, you can use Geoffrey’s method for determining your yearly app spend to track and tabulate your total iOS app downloads.

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