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What makes Apple's 40 billion app downloads special?

Apple tossed out a big number yesterday, boasting about how many apps it has sold. But is that number really significant? No, not really. There was another number that was even more meaningful - the number of apps downloaded just last year.

But just to review the basics:

Apple says they've had more than 40 billion app downloads from the App Store.

The thing is, however, is that half of all those downloads – 20 billion – were in 2012 alone.

The App Store has been around for a few years already, so for Apple to say they've had half of all those downloads in the past 12 months alone is like saying Justin Bieber got half of all his fans in the last year. He's not quite an overnight success.

Apple also set records in December with 2 billion apps being downloaded that month – hinting at the success of Apple's holiday season.

Keep in mind these app numbers don't include re-downloads or updates – it's all new downloads and purchases.

Google's Android mobile operating system is hot on Apple's heels. While Apple says there are more than 775,000 apps available for iOS devices, reports suggest there are more than 700,000 apps available in the Play store, and 25 billion downloads so far. 

Not all Android apps will work the same on all Android devices. Fragmentation among different phones and tablets means some hardware can't run certain apps, which can be frustrating when you're locked into a cellphone contract and can't upgrade your change your device.

And in my exprience, the app selection for Apple's tablet is still much stronger than it is for Android tablets.

What's your favourite app?

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets



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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.