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April 22, 2009

iPhone apps near 1 billion mark

Posted: 03:55 PM ET

It seems counting  is all the rage on the Internet these days - particularly when it involves nice, even numbers.

iPhone app counter

Take a look at the recent news:

  • First it was Facebook that made it to 200 million users (and probably has way more than that by now).
  • Then there was the CNN/Ashton Kutcher race to be the first Twitter user with 1 million followers.
  • Now Apple is upping the ante with its quest for 1 billion downloads of applications for the iPhone. Check out's rolling counter. It looks like iPhone apps may hit the 1 billion mark by Thursday morning.

What's more interesting, however, is that each event gives observers a chance to weigh in on the state of the Internet, and what this tells us about our culture.

In the case of iPhone apps, there are several angles blogs and news organizations are taking:

NYTimes writes about people who - despite the sunken economy - are making money by selling iPhone apps. (more on that from Flurry)

There's plenty of talk about the most popular iPhone apps. According to ReadWriteWeb, the majority are used for entertainment. News is the next-hottest category. Apple says the Facebook app is the most popular of the free applications, and Crash Bandicoot tops the paid list (at about $6).

TechCruch writes that Apple seems to be estimating its billionth app download off of your computer's clock. At one point, Apple's counter was set to switch to 1 billion at 3:24 a.m. ET, the site says. Now the clock has been set back a bit, according to TechCrunch.

For those of you new to the app world, here's a guide.

In the comments sections, feel free to tell CNN what apps you find interesting, and how you use them. Has the iPhone changed the way you live and interact with other people? What about other phones? Are the apps as good?

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Scott   April 22nd, 2009 5:13 pm ET

From gaming news: Bungie announced last week that the 10 billionth kill in the campaign happened...

John   April 22nd, 2009 5:16 pm ET

I'm really getting tired of this iphone apps biz. The majority of the apps go unused if you really look at the statistics. This article/publicity stunt really reminds me of how the Guinness book of world records works. A billion downloads. Wow. Put that in the tech section of the book. It will sit on a shelf. Remember the slinky? Rubics cube? Simon says? no...wait, the Commodore 64?

Ric Wilmot   April 22nd, 2009 7:42 pm ET

Imagine that one billion downloads and to a phone that can't even send or receive pictures or handle MMS. Don't get me wrong I have one and like it however it lacks simple capability you find standard on $50. free phones offered by service providers.Maybe someone could create a standard app to bring Iphone up to standard.

Gayle Starr   April 22nd, 2009 10:04 pm ET

I really don't know how I ever got along without my iPhone. Here's a short list of what I use it for: shopping lists, calendars, contacts, emailing, web browsing, texting, locating businesses, taking photos, getting driving directions, recipes, weather, games, pedometer, Facebook, stock quotes, and phoning. We travel frequently and use the iPhone for finding and contacting campgrounds, grocery stores, attractions, and watching for weather warnings as well as using it as an alarm clock. Our 4 YO granddaughter plays games on it when we take her riding in the car.

The iPhone has actually allowed me to interact more with people and with more people. We've been able to answer a lost driver's question on directions, settle an argument concerning a certain fact, and be available to anyone with access to a phone or email . . . anytime.
Without it I feel naked!

I haven't felt the need to try another smart phone or other apps. My iPhone has it all.

Jason   April 23rd, 2009 12:46 am ET

Apple Products suck

EPolstein   April 23rd, 2009 10:38 am ET

I find the race to the one billionth download fascinating, and I'm happy that so many useful and interesting iPhone apps have been created so far. Kudos to Apple for a great product - hopefully the third generation will be even better.

I just found an app called 'Clinical Trials' and it has proven very time-saving for me - I have to look up clinical trials frequently for my research.

I also am addicted to the 'Scrabble' app.

Bravdo in Boston   April 23rd, 2009 10:43 am ET

I guess it's all in what you do. I got my first iPhone about 2 months ago and ask: how could I have lived without it?! My wife got one right after I did.....we text while in the same room...sick, but hey! it's life!

I have been able to take a picture, send a picture, and even see the photos from real estate agents when they send me my listing. I have all my email services forwaded to my iPhone. I go to my laptop once a week just to syn-up! The iPhone opens Word Documents and PDF's like a dream. I connect to wireless networks and scream faster than my Dell Laptop.

My only complaint is I cannot create GMail Lables while in my iPhone.

My favorite App is Pandora! I check my gmail three or ten times a day. Next to that is the "Nav Clock" and Weather Channel....then there's the "Word a day" and the Thesaurus, oh and, the Handy Level is a must when hanging pictures around the house, and the Metric converter and measure converter, that has been really useful. I find that I also use the Maps Function – it saved my butt when my Magellen GPS battery died and the car adaptor was in the other vehicle. I also use the CNN app several times a day and the Daily Horoscope is crucial (Astrology Zone) when planning my high powered meeting, and then the ..........

how could I have lived without it?...

Oh, and then the other app I use often is.........

Nick Fiacco   April 23rd, 2009 10:48 am ET

LOVE THE APPS, Especially the North Face Snow Report so i can get the LIVE scoop on which mountain to attack for the day. And when i get stuck in traffic on the way back, i can always watch a movie.

Jeff   April 23rd, 2009 10:58 am ET

Best phone EVER anyone who really thinks they suck is just because they envy owners and wish they had it them selves. I personally use a lot of apps and the GPS system works great the only problem is the non MMS support which really blows but there's ways around it. Truly a great buy and worth the money!! It has changed my life and has made it way easier to balance out all my responsibilities.

Frank Lowney   April 23rd, 2009 11:13 am ET

@Ric Wilmot

From watching the iPhone 3.0 presentation from March 16, 2009 it would seem that your concerns will be addressed.

This is to an audience of iPhone application developers.

Conservative Independent   April 23rd, 2009 11:28 am ET

iPhone delivers what it has promised. If you have complaints wait till the next update and more than likely Apple will address the outages. Think about it I have a 1st generation phone, but have been able to keep it up to date with every update! Tell me another phone with that flexibility. If I was using a different phone I would have had to buy 3 new ones to get the updates Apple has added over the last two years. Every update makes my phone brand spank'n new. And the app store rocks.

I get tired of people ripping on Apple products. Their products are smooth and sophisticated and made for that type of consumer. I sense a little jealousy as Apple moves up and grabs a bigger part of the market share.

jona   April 23rd, 2009 11:29 am ET

THese apps are the perfect example of BIG BROTHER. Apple has final say over all of this. Remember the "1984" commercial with the woman throwing the sledge hammer through the screen.. while minions sat at their desks with their computers.. Apple was supposed to be breaking the mold but they are one of the WORST examples of big brither market control ever. If it weren't for the Apple KoolAid drinkers the company woudl have disappeared a long time ago.

Frankie   April 23rd, 2009 11:32 am ET

If only I knew how to program, I would definitely be cranking out iphone apps like nobody's business... at least one of them will have to be a hit...

Rupret   April 23rd, 2009 11:42 am ET

iPhones rock. period. Good job Mr. Jobs (as usual).
– user since 85.

cq   April 23rd, 2009 12:01 pm ET

I bought an iphone and returned it because:

1. Lack of seemingly BASIC features. No MMS and no VIDEO recording. Why the iphone doesn't already have these is beyond me. My KRZR has 2MP video AND voice dialing, and it's 2 years old !!
2. 3G coverage is still very sparse if you look at the AT&T coverage map. Why buy, or keep, an iphone if you can't access 3G speeds ?
3. And WHY can't I replace the darned battery without either sending it in or visiting an Apple Store. It costs about $90 to have it done.

Don't get me wrong. It's a nice, very attractive unit, and it has the best GUI of any phone I've seen anywhere. But I'm not paying $919 + tax over two years ($199 for the phone and $720 for the data plan) when I can't even access 3G in my town ?

Becky   April 23rd, 2009 12:44 pm ET

I have had iPhone for one month now, and overall it makes my life more efficient. I can call and make a doctor's appointment, and at the same time enter the appointment into my Calendar app; or, if I'm out with a friend and she asks if I'm free in three weeks for an event, I can check instead of telling her later if I'm available (which I may forget). Instead of being irritated that someone is late meeting up with me somewhere, I can play one of the games like the Sudoku app for five minutes until they arrive. While I do the dishes, I can play my iPod on the phone and the speaker is surprisingly good quality without speaker accessories.

# 1 favorite is the "task" app. I can easily add to do/buy items and delete when they're done. No more beaten up notes at the bottom of my purse!!!

Di   April 23rd, 2009 12:48 pm ET

My favorite app is Lose It!, a diet, exercise and nutrition tracking device. This app has helped me to stay motivated on my diet. It lets you create a personal weight loss goal and tally daily progress. Since March, I have improved my health (lost weight, increased my exercise, and corrected my high calorie intake) because it is so easy to track my progress day-by-day.

BTW, my iPhone is first generation – I've used it for a couple of years. But since aps came out, my phone use is surpassing my laptop use. Your story on aps is important – I think apps are going to change the consumer tech world...

Chill   April 23rd, 2009 12:56 pm ET

Wow, the hatred of Apple computers on these comments are beyond me. Did an Apple computer hurt you in some way? I don't see the point in ruining the fun that others (millions) are obviously having with the iPhones. If you don't like it, there are other phones to choose from. It's not like iPhone is the ONLY phone you can buy. I'm not going to websites on non-Apple hand devices and putting up a fit. Sometimes I think people just like to make a fuss.

Blake   April 23rd, 2009 12:58 pm ET

My iphone is responsible for me losing 20 pounds so far thanks to the Lose It calorie counting app. Has your phone done that?

Mallory   April 23rd, 2009 1:00 pm ET

I'm a law student and I just recently discovered apps that help me study for law school courses. Flashcards, etc. They are a huge help when I am stuck somewhere without my books, I can whip out my iPhone and study tax law while I'm waiting. It's great. The level at which I utilize all my time now because of things like this is unbelievable.

Bravdo in Boston   April 23rd, 2009 1:04 pm ET

for "cq", I have used ATT Voice Dail (blows) and now I am sold on Vlingo...Yes, an APP! I even turned Google Voice off because Vlingo was so good.

And, I was paying almost the same amount with one land line and two cell phones (my wife's and mine). We dropped the land line, have Family Plan, and are only paying $15 more a month for the two iPhones. OK, so that's $180 a year, but whatever you do, don't work out how much you are paying for Cable TV a year! YIKES!

Hunter Richards   April 23rd, 2009 1:19 pm ET

1 Billion? That's a misleading number for sure. I'll bet money these are not unique downloads. Many of the apps are so buggy that they crash a lot. The only way I could have used many of them was to uninstall it and reinstall it. Actually, that's happened with almost every app, except Shazam, Urbanspoon, and The Weather Channel. (and yes, I have the 3G phone with the latest firmware). SO, my guess is 200 Million unique app installs (impressive, but far from the claim).

There are several features about the iphone that are revolutionary in their implementation but a lot of the iphone is hype, just like well, most of Apple products (iPods are simply terrible sound quality – POS IMO). Plus AT&T is awful (can't wait till the iphone is on Verizon).

Google Maps and the awesome email support are really the only things keeping me a customer.

JR   April 23rd, 2009 1:26 pm ET

Yea, I know it's not tech...but look at McDonald's.

Marcus Satellite   April 23rd, 2009 2:37 pm ET

I'm the developer of SmackTalk! an entertainment app which has been very successful for me.

I am grateful to Apple for creating a standardized ecosystem where software can be monetized.

I am not interested in developing for other platforms because there are too many different kinds of devices, operating systems, and it's too easy to pirate apps on other platforms. It's simply too difficult to program for every type of device and every type of operating system, especially when there is little promise of financial returns.

Yes most of the apps are low-quality, but there are many special apps that make me think that this is more than a fad. Some of my favorite apps are Google Maps, The Weather Channel, Facebook, Photos, Sportacular, GoSkyWatch, and Mail. I use these every single day.

Al   April 23rd, 2009 3:17 pm ET

I haven't found any good apps yet, most are tacky and a waste of time. There maybe many for the younger crowd, (under 13), but not for me.
My iPhone isn't what it was cracked up to be. Most of my friends have the Blackberry Storm and I think I'm changing too.
Their apps are much better and you can see they are professional instead of kids just snapping links into apps.

btard   April 23rd, 2009 3:31 pm ET

1B get?

Hitting the Reset Button « Spreading the Word   April 23rd, 2009 3:46 pm ET

[...] ReyMac My children like to play Parking Lot. It’s a great game, both as a board game and as an app for my iPhone. For those who don’t know, it’s a puzzle game where you move cars, trucks and buses out of the [...]

Cesar   April 23rd, 2009 4:29 pm ET

I can do a lot of that stuff on my phone and I have a Samsung Instinct. I have cable TV on my phone, GPS, video recording (with no limit on time), I can shop online, I have free radio (with local stations and stations from around the U.S.), 2 batteries that comes with the phone, and I can play wma and mp3 music...unlimited text, video, and picture mail. Everything for $69.99 I love Sprint...

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