Apple today announced that the first week of January set a new record for billings from the App Store with customers around the world spending nearly half a billion US dollars on apps and in-app purchases, and New Year’s Day 2015 marked the single biggest day ever in App Store sales history.
These milestones follow a record-breaking 2014, in which billings rose 50 percent and apps generated over US $10 billion in revenue for developers.
To date, App Store developers have earned a cumulative US$25 billion from the sale of apps and games. Apple says the introduction of iOS 8 gave developers the ability to create new apps and offers innovative features which proved popular with App Store customers.
“This year is off to a tremendous start after a record-breaking year for the App Store and our developer community,” says Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services.
“We're so proud of the creativity and innovation developers bring to the apps they create for iOS users and that the developer community has now earned over US $25 billion.”
During the holiday season App Store customers helped make history with their support of Apps for (RED), a special initiative on the store with exclusive content where all proceeds went to the Global Fund to fight AIDS. Apple donated a record-shattering US$20 million this quarter, and since partnering with (RED) has donated over $100 million.
“Developers of all sizes, across the App Store’s 24 categories, create incredible apps for iOS, and an especially inspired segment is the newest generation of independent game creators,” the company says in a statement. These creators include the UK’s ustwo, maker of the fantastic game Monument Valley; Australia’s Hipster Whale, creator of the clever and intuitive game Crossy Road; and US developer Sirvo, inventor of Threes!, a puzzle game that was named the App Store’s Game of the Year on iPhone.
“We could never have dreamed of this level of success, with Crossy Road only being available on the App Store for the last six weeks of the year,” says Matthew Hall, co-founder of Hipster Whale. “In a couple of months we were able to create a simple, fun game that was featured on the App Store and climbed to the top of the App Store charts around the world—it’s amazing.”
Developer innovation on the App Store in 2014 was fueled by iOS 8 featuring Swift, a new programming language that makes it even easier for developers to create apps, as well as the introduction of robust frameworks HealthKit and HomeKit.
HealthKit lets health and fitness developers share data with the health app while HomeKit is a framework allowing developers to create software that discovers, configures, communicates with and controls devices for home automation. iOS 8 also introduced developers to Metal, a graphics technology created to maximise the performance of the A7 and A8 chips, which is being embraced by major game developers around the world.
In 2014, the App Store unveiled new features for developers including app previews and app bundles, TestFlight for beta testing pre-release apps, an expanded Kids Category to showcase apps specifically made for children under 12, China UnionPay as a payment option for customers in China and Apple Pay, making secure purchases easier.
Apple ignited the app revolution with the launch of the App Store in 2008, and since then, an entire industry has been built around app design and development. In just six years, the iOS ecosystem has helped create 627,000 jobs in the US alone. The App Store offers more than 1.4 million apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users in 155 countries around the world, with more than 725,000 of these apps made for iPad.