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Tuesday, January 05, 2010, 05:40 am PT (08:40 am ET)

Apple announces App Store downloads top 3 billion

Apple on Tuesday revealed that more than 3 billion applications have been downloaded worldwide from its App Store for the iPhone and iPod touch.

"Three billion applications downloaded in less than 18 months — this is like nothing we've ever seen before," said Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs. "The revolutionary App Store offers iPhone and iPod touch users an experience unlike anything else available on other mobile devices, and we see no signs of the competition catching up anytime soon."

The iPhone and iPod touch are currently available to customers in 77 countries. Apps are available in 20 different categories, including games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel.

The 3 billion milestone represents a billion since the end of September, or a span of just over three months. It was in late September that Apple revealed that over 2 billion apps were downloaded from the App Store.

That means in the last 99 days, software from the App Store has been downloaded at a rate of more than 10.1 million per day. That's well up from the rate of 6.9 million downloads per day Apple achieved from April to July.

Tuesday's announcement shows that the rapid pace of growth of the App Store continues to accelerate. In July, just as the App Store turned one year old, Apple announced that more than 1.5 billion downloads were offered through its online application download destination.

The staggering totals are thanks in part to the sheer number of applications available. In early November, Apple revealed that more than 100,000 applications were available on the App Store.