Apple has announced that its App Store for the iPhone and iPod touch now offers more than 100,000 applications for the mobile devices, making it by far the largest mobile application store on the planet. All told, Apple says App Store users have downloaded more than 2 billion programs to enhance the functionality of their iPhones and iPod touch devices; many of those applications are free, but some notable developers (like game developers and navigation provider TomTom) are offering high-dollar applications and seeming to be making a good go of it.
“The App Store [..] is clearly a major differentiator for millions of iPhone and iPod touch customers around the world,” said Apple’s senior VP of worldwide product marketing Philip Schiller,in a statement. “The iPhone SDK created the first great platform for mobile applications and our customers are loving all of the amazing apps our developers are creating.”
Apple’s iTunes 9 software introduced a new “Genius for Apps” feature that suggests applications that users might find worthwhile; Apple also recommends particular applications as “App Store Essentials.”
Despite the obvious success of the App Store, many developers are still wary of Apple’s whimsical, arbitrary, and sometimes draconian policy of approving or rejecting iPhone applications. The company is currently the subject of an FCC inquiry over rejecting Google Voice for iPhone, which Apple claims replaces the device’s core dialing functionality. However, some other App Store rejections are just inscrutable: Macworld editor Jason Snell noted yesterday that Apple rejected the Macworld iPhone Superguide application simply because it contained the word “iPhone” in the title…never mind that the App Store had previously approved David Pogue’s iPhone: The Missing Manual. (Apple has since said it is resolving the “Superguide” rejection.)