Apple App Store turns five – what are your favourite apps?

Apple’s App Store celebrated its fifth birthday on Wednesday, we take a look at the numbers and some favourite apps

10 Jul 2013


I don't know about you but I can't imagine life without my iPhone and iPad.

They come everywhere with me - apart from the bath. They're as useful as my right arm and are used for everything from shopping to social to Scrabble. Of course, I occasionally make calls and write texts on them too.

I Phone5

Much of this usefulness is down to the apps which run on them. Whether shopping, playing games or catching up with mates, iPhone and iPad apps have become part of everyday life - in fact, it's difficult to remember a world without them.

But they've not been around forever.

Apple's App Store celebrated its fifth birthday on Wednesday, and to mark the occasion Apple is giving away 10 popular apps throughout this week.

App Store 'fundamentally changed the world'

Back in May, the 50 billionth app was downloaded from Apple's App Store. Because apps have become so ubiquitous, it can be easy to forget just how much they have changed our lives. As well as shopping and social networking, apps exist for banking, cooking, football, currency and much much more.

App Store

In the wake of the App Store we have seen similar ventures from Google, Microsoft and BlackBerry.

Cnet says the Apple App Store helped "fully realise the Swiss army-capabilities of the smartphone".

And it is right, of course.

The smartphone was capable of far more than making calls and surfing the web - and the App Store helped us properly realise this as it made apps available to the masses.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook said at the recent Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC): "Nothing like the App Store existed before and it has fundamentally changed the world."

So we thought we'd take a look at the numbers behind the app revolution, and the apps which have proved most popular in the App Store.

App Store revolution - the numbers

Apple's App Store first launched in 2008, selling games and tools for the iPhone. Initially there were just 500 apps available, however the launch of the first iPad changed all of that.

The iPad's arrival inspired a new generation of apps designed to take advantage of the larger screen. Overall, there are now more than 900,000 apps in the store for various devices, with 375,000 of them designed specifically for the iPad.

Whether for iPhone or iPad, Apple says we download in excess of 800 apps every second. And to celebrate the App Store's fifth birthday, Apple is giving away apps including Infinity Blade II, Tiny Wings and Traktor DJ.

But which apps are our favourites?

The most popular apps of all time

Apps are divided into those we pay for, and those we download for free, with some designed only for iPad and some for just the iPhone.  

Apple released lists showing its most popular apps of all time for iPad and iPhone - here's the rub.

Most popular iPhone apps

When it comes to paid-for apps on iPhone, Angry Birds is number one.

This may not be much of a surprise - Angry Birds has left many of us spellbound since it burst onto the scene back in 2009.

The game, which sees players use a slingshot to launch birds at pigs, has played its part in the redefining of smartphones from phones to multimedia entertainment devices.

Angry Birds is followed by action game Fruit Ninja, platform game Doodle Jump and puzzler Cut The Rope in the paid-for iPhone app category.

But what about those apps we download for free on our iPhones?

Facebook has more than one billion monthly users, so it's easy to see how its app is the number one free iPhone app.

With it we can see what our mates are up to from our smartphones and tablets, share updates, photos and videos and add icons to status updates.

The 10 most popular free iPhone apps of all time are a sociable bunch. Image-sharing and editing site Instagram and video-sharing site YouTube are third and fourth in the list respectively.

Social I Phone

Skype is another service to have revolutionised how we stay in touch with friends. Its app is the fifth most-popular free iPhone app, while Twitter also appears in the top 10 alongside the annoyingly addictive Words With Friends - a wordplay game which sees us compete with friends to form words horizontally or vertically across the board.

Most popular iPad apps

But what about when it comes to the iPad, are the same apps floating our boats?

In some places, yes - Angry Birds HD is the second most popular paid-for iPad app of all time, and Fruit Ninja HD and Cut The Rope HD also appear in the top 10.

However, the number one paid-for app for iPad is Pages, which makes use of the iPad's larger screen.

Pages is described as 'word processing that's way beyond words'. It allows you to create documents such as letters and reports on your iPad.

When it comes to free apps for iPad, Skype leads the way.

The video calling of Skype is perfectly suited to the larger screen of the iPad - I know as I used it regularly to chat with my better half while working in Las Vegas (it's a hard life, I know).  

Skype I Pad

App developers paid billions

Apple says it has paid software developers more than £6.7 billion in the past five years.

Speaking to app developers at WWDC, Tim Cook said: "Customers love the buying experience and they love your incredible apps. And they have now downloaded 50 billion apps. This is phenomenal. That's a lot of zeros and a truly staggering number, for less than five years."

Which apps are your favourites?

But which of these apps are your favourites? Do yours align with Apple's top 10s, or are completely different apps floating your boat?

Let us know which apps you love in the comments below...