App Store Hits 100K in 481 Days

481 days. That’s how long it took the App Store to go from opening its virtual doors with 500 applications on July 11, 2008 to a catalog of more than 100,000 applications downloaded more than 2 billion times.

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Not surprisingly, the folks at Apple are pleased.

“The App Store, now with over 100,000 applications available, is clearly a major differentiator for millions of iPhone and iPod touch customers around the world,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “The iPhone SDK created the first great platform for mobile applications and our customers are loving all of the amazing apps our developers are creating.”

The amazing thing is that it’s likely not even Apple knew just how successful the App Store and SDK would be or how it would spawn so many competitors (GigaOM Pro, subscription required).

In June 2007, it was Apple CEO Steve Jobs talking up a different method application development for the iPhone:

“Our innovative approach, using Web 2.0-based standards, lets developers create amazing new applications while keeping the iPhone secure and reliable.”

Imagine for a moment if Apple had stuck to that ideal of a web-based platform. I believe it would be called the Palm Pre.

Of course, it’s possible that Apple knew all along that there would be a real SDK for the iPhone OS, almost assuredly so for major partners like game developers. Apple again pushed that gaming concept for iPhone OS with today’s announcement, too. EA Mobile VP Travis Boatman chimed in on the press release, saying that the App Store has “forever changed the mobile gaming industry and continues to improve.” You can bet Nintendo and Sony believe at least the first part of that statement, much to their chagrin.

What you didn’t find in the press release was what, exactly, is being done to improve the flawed approval process. While Apple talks about addressing issues, there is no evidence of real, systemic change. As the App Store moves inevitably towards 500,000, and then its millionth application, you have to wonder if the App Store can withstand the stress of its own incredible success.

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