iPhone App Store: 40,000 and counting

May 7, 2009, 7:21 PM UTC

Noah’s rain lasted 40 days and 40 nights, but the flood of submissions to the iPhone App Store — which hit the 40,000 mark in late April — continues unabated.

The current numbers, as of Thursday afternoon are as follows:

  • Total Active Apps (available for download): 38,075
  • Total Inactive Apps (no longer available): 2,921
  • Total Apps Seen in U.S. App Store: 40,996

These impressive statistics come from a new website — 148Apps.biz — designed to serve the 11,162 (another current stat) iPhone programmers who have flocked to the device since Apple (AAPL) opened it up for native application development a year ago last March.

The site, which went live on Thursday, is the handiwork of Jeff Scott, the creator of 148Apps.com and the 10,000 Apps celebration page that was, until now, the definitive source for up-to-date App Store counts.

148Apps.biz (named for the maximum number of applications that can be displayed on an iPhone or iPod touch) offers articles and news clippings of interest to commercial developers, but the heart of the site are the stats it gathers automatically from the App Store itself.

The bar graph displaying weekly submissions, for example, shows that with a few exceptions (Christmas week being the most obvious), the rate at which new apps are coming in has barely slowed:

Given how crowded the market for iPhone apps has become — and how many of the low-hanging fruit have already been picked — this is surprising.

It’s also surprising that developers don’t seem to be hugely distracted either by the new software developers kit that Apple released in March or by all the competing app stores that have opened or are about to open: Research in Motion’s (RIMM) App World, Google’s (GOOG) Android Market, Nokia’s (NOK) Ovi, Palm’s (PALM) App Catalog, and Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Market Place for Mobile.

“Developers seem lukewarm on those fronts,” says 148Apps’ Scott, a former Yahoo (YHOO) Web developer who was laid off last year and now spends much of his time tracking the iPhone app market. “For nostalgia sake, some of them are watching the Palm Pre, because a lot of iPhone developers got their start writing for the Palm Pilot.”

Meanwhile, Apple seems to be doing its part to move things along, as the next graph demonstrates. The average number of days between submission and approval — which had stretched, to developers’ dismay, to as many as 15 days in December — has shrunk to about 3 days. The speed-up may help explain how a few ringers — most famously the ill-conceived Baby Shaker app — managed to get approved.

To learn more about the new site — or to contribute an original article — click here.

See also:

Below the fold, two more sets of data from 148Apps.biz. One shows the steadily declining average application price, the other the distribution of iPhone apps by category.