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Apple says its App Store hit records in 2019

The tech giant says app sales between Christmas Eve and New Year's in 2019 grew 16% over the past year.

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Apple's App Store continues to grow.

Angela Lang/CNET

Last year, Apple began focusing more on the products that are sold alongside its iPhones, such as subscriptions for its $4.99 per month Apple TV Plus video service and $9.99 Apple Arcade video game program. The company's App Store has also continued its characteristically strong growth, particularly during the holidays. 

Apple said developers on its App Store earned $1.42 billion during the week between Christmas Eve (Dec. 24) and New Year's Eve, a 16% increase over the same period in 2018. Those sales included individual purchases of various programs, like the popular $3.99 Facetune selfie manipulation app, purchases of in-app items like tractors to help work your digital farm or subscriptions to music and video services. 

People's purchases on the App Store were so high, Apple said, that on New Year's Eve day, the company counted a single-day record of $386 million, up 20% from last year.

"We begin the new decade with incredible momentum and gratitude to our customers who have shown such enthusiasm for all of our services," Eddy Cue, Apple's head of internet software and services, said in a statement.

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The company's announcements coincide with the second day of CES, the tech industry's largest trade show, being held in Las Vegas. Apple's skipped the show for more than two decades, instead opting to make competing announcements, hold its own events or even troll competitors at the event. This year, though, it did send its senior director of global privacy, Jane Horvath, to participate in a roundtable discussion with representatives from Facebook, the Federal Trade Commission and Proctor & Gamble. 

Apple's announcement caps the past year it's spent launching and promoting its $4.99 per month Apple TV Plus video subscription service, $9.99 per month Apple News Plus program, video games through its $4.99 monthly Apple Arcade package and its branded credit card, backed by Goldman Sachs, to help pay for it all. The company hasn't announced any hard user data about those projects yet, but it sees momentum from the App Store as a sign it's able to convince people to open their wallets for something other than a new iPhone or AirPods headphones.

The company also announced the most popular apps of 2019. They included:

Top Free iPhone Apps

  1. YouTube: Watch, Listen, Stream
  2. Instagram
  3. Snapchat
  4. TikTok - Make Your Day
  5. Messenger
  6. Gmail - Email by Google
  7. Netflix
  8. Facebook
  9. Google Maps - Transit & Food
  10. Amazon - Shopping made easy

Top Paid iPhone Apps

  1. Facetune
  2. HotSchedules
  3. Dark Sky Weather
  4. The Wonder Weeks
  5. AutoSleep Tracker for Watch
  6. TouchRetouch
  7. Procreate Pocket
  8. Sky Guide
  9. Toca Hair Salon 3
  10. Scanner Pro: PDF Scanner App 

Top Free iPhone Games

  1. Mario Kart Tour
  2. Color Bump 3D
  3. Aquapark.io
  4. Call of Duty: Mobile
  5. BitLife - Life Simulator
  6. Polysphere - art of puzzle
  7. Wordscapes
  8. Fortnite
  9. Roller Splat!
  10. Amaze!!

Top Paid iPhone Games

  1. Minecraft
  2. Heads Up!
  3. Plague Inc.
  4. Bloons TD 6
  5. Geometry Dash
  6. Rebel Inc.
  7. The Game of Life
  8. Stardew Valley
  9. Bloons TD 5
  10. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas