Apple's App Store has reached a new milestone in total app downloads.
The iPhone maker announced today that there have been 40 billion unique application downloads in its App Store since the marketplace launched in 2008. Apple's unique download tally excludes redownloads and updates. Of the 40 billion apps downloaded so far, nearly 20 billion were downloaded in 2012, the company said.
Apple's App Store now has over 500 million active accounts, and 2 billion apps were downloaded in December alone, making it the best month in the marketplace's history. The App Store has 775,000 apps available for iOS devices.
Developers, of course, have benefited from the App Store's growth. According to Apple senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue, over $7 billion has been paid out to iOS developers.
The App Store's growth over the last year has been nothing short of astounding. In June, Apple announced that its marketplace had hit 30 billion downloads and 400 million active accounts. At that time, the App Store had 650,000 apps available. In October, those figures grew to 35 billion application downloads and 700,000 apps.
Based on those figures, it appears Apple's App Store growth is accelerating. Whereas it took four months for Apple to tally 5 billion downloads between June and October, that jumped to three months between October and January.
An acceleration in app downloads is expected to continue over the next 12 months, according to research firm Flurry Analytics. That company said last week in a report detailing app downloads across iOS and Android, that over 1 billion mobile programs will be downloaded on those operating systems each week between now and the fourth quarter of 2013. After that, the research firm expects a combined 2 billion apps to be downloaded to Android- and iOS-based devices each week.
That Apple decided to announce the news today might not be a coincidence. The Consumer Electronics Show -- an event Apple has stayed away from for years -- is in full swing this week. In years past, Apple has often announced news on CES days to steal some headlines. This year has proven no different.
This story has been updated throughout the morning.