Apple is throwing a fifth birthday party for its App Store. As youngster birthday parties usually involve goodie bag takeaways, so Apple is giving away some of its most popular games and apps.
Information about the promotion can be found at the "5 Years of the App Store" banner at the App Store.
The free apps include Barefoot World Atlas, the journal app Day One, the pro DJ software Traktor DJ, the photo editing app Over, the uber-cookbook How to Cook Everything, and such games as the animal-guiding Badland, the graphical combat Infinity Blade II, the unique realm of the Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, the little birdie game Tiny Wings and the physics-puzzler Where's My Water.
50 Billion Downloads
The birthday party comes only a couple of months after another App Store milestone. In May, the retailer announced that it had served 50 billion downloads. The App Store currently has over 800,000 apps. When it launched in July of 2008, it had 500.
Meanwhile, the Apple app train keeps chugging along. iOS 7 beta 2 was delivered with iPad support to developers two weeks ago, and on Monday Apple released beta 3 of version 7. The new iOS was unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and developers received a beta version at the show. Apple-watchers are now expecting beta releases of the new iOS every two weeks or thereabouts, which would be a sped-up delivery schedule from previous versions of Apple's mobile operating system.
Apple's App Store has been among the main distinguishing features that has differentiated the company's mobile devices from others in that particular category. It will also play a vital, if not critical, role in the survival and success of the other emerging mobile platforms, including Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Firefox OS.
The position of Apple's App Store is of the highest tree in the forest, and developers remain eager to target its mobile platform. In the last five years, app developers have been paid more than $10 billion in royalties.
In a blog post Monday by Steven Sinofsky, the former Windows chief admitted that app developers today "generally write apps targeting several of the mobile platforms," but mostly iOS and Android. Google's Play app store for Android also has over 800,000 apps, while the Microsoft Windows Store has built a collection of about 100,000 apps since its October launch.
Microsoft is hoping it can boost its app store much further to boost its current annual sales of about 4.6 percent of U.S. smartphones. iOS has almost 42 percent, while Android scores approximately 52 percent. In the world market, Microsoft's share has been estimated to be 3.2 percent.
While Microsoft's share of sales is still small, it has been growing at the rate of one percent more of sales annually in the U.S. And if there's one thing the giant from Redmond is known for, it's persistence and deep pockets.