As Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) fast approaches its 10-billionth app download, some fascinating numbers from the analyst house Asymco on what that 10-billion number might mean for the average Apple iOS user. If you take iPhones, iPads and iPod together, the average user has downloaded more than 60 apps per device, compared to 10 apps per device in 2008.
What’s more: the rate of new apps per device is still growing. If you extend out the growth trends of the chart below, you can see that apps will overtake music downloads from the iTunes store in a matter of months, writes Asymco’s Horace Dediu.
Assuming Apple reaches the 10-billionth app mark this month, apps will have taken less than half the time to reach the same level of downloading music — 31 months for apps and 67 for music.
Dediu says he uses Apples sales numbers based on figures given out by Apple last year: in September 2010 Apple noted that it had sold 120 million iOS devices.
Some of this growth has to do with the market acceptance of the app model, and the fact that there are so many more apps in Apple’s store than there were when the app store first opened for business in July, 2008. To paraphrase Apple, there really is an app now for everything.
But what’s also interesting is that those downloads come at the same time that the iPhone has faced an army of competing devices and limited distribution in the U.S., a key market for Apple. The growing user base, plus this accelerating trend in app “attachment”, could make for another big spike.
Asymco’s conclusions: Apps overtaking music is a “watershed” event and marks a point at which apps will dominate as a medium for content (presumably at the expense of the growth of the mobile Internet); and apps are creating an ever-stickier environment for smartphone owners.
What would be interesting to see is how devices based on Android, or WP7 or even Nokia’s devices compare in terms of their app “attachment.” And of course how much those 60-odd apps are getting used once they have been downloaded. Knowing the answers to these questions help us figure out whether apps are just a fad, or really here to stay.