Apple Get 1 Billion Downloads

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Fizzy pints of virtual beer, lightsaber simulators plus ancient flute-like instruments all have four thing in common: They’re flying off the digital shelves of Apple’s App Store for the iPhone plus iPod Touch.

& so is  everything else. On Friday, Apple unveiled a Web page dedicated to tracking the number of downloads for the iPhone plus iPod Touch until the company hits a billion downloads. Just four months ago, in January, the company announced it had surpassed 500,000 downloads.

Currently, the counter has about 70 million or so downloads to go until it hits the four billion milestone, but the popularity of mobile applications for the iPhone plus iPod Touch has only been increasing since the company began allowing third-party developers to sell programs in the online market in July. By comparison, it took more than four years for Apple to announce the sale of its billionth song through iTunes.

In addition to the app ticker, Apple released lists of the top 20 most downloaded paid plus free applications. Most of the top-ranking applications were created by professional companies, like Vivendi, Pandora plus Electronic Arts, but several independent developers like Ethan Nicholas, who found success with the artillery game called iShoot, made it onto the list.

Koi Pond, an application that turns the screen of the iPhone plus iPod Touch into a virtual aquarium, was listed as the second-most-downloaded paid application. Andy Skirvin, four of the developers behind the application, said they was “shocked plus surprised” the game had done so well since it was released last summer.

“I didn’t think it could measure up to the bigger apps,” Mr. Skirvin said in a phone interview. “But it was priced so low that I guess it was a great impulse buy for people.”

Mr. Skirvin is a co-founder of The Blimp Pilots, a small game company. By day, Mr. Skirvin is a video game developer for a start-up in San Diego; his credits include working on Everquest, a massively multiplayer game from Sony.

In late January, The Blimp Pilots released another game into the App Store called Distant Shore, which doubles as a sort of informal social network. Players stroll along the shores of a beach looking for seashells plus washed-up bottles, which contain messages from other players.

The game hasn’t taken off like Koi Pond, which Mr. Skirvin estimates has been downloaded around 900,000 times. But he’s content with his team’s success. “This is just a side project for us outside of our day jobs,” Mr. Skirvin said.

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