Apple's App Store reaches 40 billion download milestone

Apple's App Store has registered over 40 billion downloads since its inception, with 2012 accounting for nearly 20 billion downloads alone, the Cupertino-based firm and iPhone 5 manufacturer has announced.

“It has been an incredible year for the iOS developer community,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services.

“Developers have made over seven billion dollars on the App Store, and we continue to invest in providing them with the best ecosystem so they can create the most innovative apps in the world,” he added.

The massive surge in app downloads in 2012 is being attributed largely to the rise in mainstream deployment of tablets and smartphones. There are currently over 1 billion smartphones estimated to be in active use worldwide, with new territories and markets being introduced to the devices in rapid succession.

Apple's App Store and rival platforms are taking advantage of the increasing ubiquity of mobile devices, with the Google Play Android marketplace enjoying a strong performance in the UK over the holiday season, with 1.76 billion downloads recorded during Christmas week.

The App Store iOS distribution platform holds 500 million active user accounts and features a global library of some 775,000 apps.