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Innovation

1 billion of Apple's app downloads may be bogus

Apple today announced that "customers have downloaded more than 1.5 billion applications in just one year.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor on

Apple today announced that "customers have downloaded more than 1.5 billion applications in just one year." An impressive feat, or is it?

What does this number actually mean? If you ask me, it's a total joke.

Apple used this same PR crutch back in the day when they'd tout stupid things like "one million QuickTime downloads every three days" and "QuickTime 6 downloaded 250 million times." It's depressing to see that nothing's changed in 10 years. Apple's app download numbers are are analogous to counting "hits" on your Web site. Everyone knows that "hits" are irrelevant and that "unique visitors" and "page views" are what counts.

Apple is cooking the books (ala Enron and WorldCom) when they put out irrelevant and nonsense releases like this. For starters, I'm pretty sure that Apple counts every download in that 1.5 billion number. Updates and re-installs included. How many times have you updated your apps or restored your iPhone? What about handset upgrades? Time to download a few more apps. Again. If I'm wrong, Apple needs disclose its "download" accounting methodology.

When you take into account power users, developers and reviewers that sometimes install the same application dozens of times it completely skews the number through the roof - just like PR likes it.

I'm betting that 75 percent percent of the downloads are freebies which only cost Apple money. Further, I'd bet that two-thirds -- or a full billion -- are updates or re-downloads.

It's high time for Apple to abandon these artificial and phony "downloads" stats and tell us about active users, original downloads (no updates, no re-installs) or even paid versus free. I'd also like to know about "actively used" apps, perhaps launched at least once per month, or how about Apps that stayed on a person's iPhone for more than 30 or 60 days? How many apps have you installed and launched once? How many have you deleted immediately after its first launch? Be honest.

Apple's "download" numbers are a joke and are insulting to intelligent people.

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