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Apple begins countdown to 1 billion App Store downloads

Apple said Friday that App Store shoppers have downloaded nearly 1 billion applications since the service launched less than one year ago and is running a promotion that will award one lucky customer with over $13,000 in Apple goodies.

"As of today, nearly one billion apps have been downloaded around the globe. So we just want to say thanks — a billion," the Cupertino-based company wrote in a new posting to its website that was accompanied by a digital counter that's racing towards the 1 billion mark.

App Store shoppers who download an app between now and the time the counter hits 1 billion will automatically get the chance to win a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card, an iPod touch, a Time Capsule, and a MacBook Pro. The total retail cost of the prize package is valued at $13,746.

In order to participate, all you need to do is go to the iTunes Store, browse the App Store, and download a new app via your computer, iPhone or iPod touch. If you don't own an iPhone or iPod touch, you can still participate in the promotion by completely filling out an alternative entry form.

Regardless of which submission method you use, entries will be limited to 25 per person and/or iTunes account and/or email address, per day, according to the promotion's official rules.

As of press time, the counter was at approximately 927,808,000, which when compared to the half a billion milestone reached on January 16th, means shoppers are now downloading over 5 million applications every single day. This is up from a rate of 4.76 million apps per day in January and 2.2 million in December.

Also on Friday, Apple posted a list of the top 20 applications of all-time on the App Store. Topping the list of paid applications was Vivendi Games' Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D while Facebook took top honors amongst a list of free aplications.