iPhone and iPad users downloaded almost 20 billion apps in 2012

The latest figures from Apple show that the App Store passed the 40 billion download mark in 2012 and that it has, to date, paid developers over $7 billion.

Apple announced Monday that its App Store has hit the 40 billion download mark with its 500 million users registering over 2 billion downloads in December 2012 alone, a total the company claims is a new record.

It has been an incredible year for the iOS developer community," said Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. "Developers have made over seven billion dollars on the App Store, and we continue to invest in providing them with the best ecosystem so they can create the most innovative apps in the world."

Apple was quick to stress that the totals represent unique users and unique downloads and do not include apps that have been re-downloaded or downloaded app updates. The company also claims that almost 20 billion of the downloads to date took place since January 2012.

The report is also in stark contrast to the recent App Annie Index, published on November 30, 2012, which claimed that Apple's app revenues had only grown by 12.9 percent over the past 12 months and that Google's Play Store was beginning to catch up.

App Annie claimed that while Apple's revenues are still four times higher than Google Play's, Google's revenue has ballooned by 310 percent over the last 12 months, growing another 17.9 percent in the last month alone, while the App Store, having grown revenues by just 12.9 percent over the year, actually experienced a 0.7 percent contraction over November.

As articles were published based on these figures, Apple started contacting publications to set the record straight, and stating that the App Store had actually experienced 200 percent growth over the year. However, until now it hadn't provided any figures of its own other than point journalists to the numbers in its quarterly earning statements and those announced at its product launches in September and October.

Apple's App Store was launched in 2008 and currently has over 775,000 apps for the iPhone and iPad.

In September, Google announced that its Google Play app store had passed the 25 billion download mark and the latest reports suggest that the site could beat Apple's to become the first to offer 1 million different apps, which most industry experts believe will happen by June 2013.

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