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Apple says iOS app developers earned $20 billion last year

Downloads are also up at the App Store, growing 70 percent in the past 12 months, according to the iPhone maker.

Developers of apps for iOS earned $20 billion in the past 12 months.

The market for iOS apps is growing, and so are the rewards.

That's the word from Apple, which said Thursday that since the Apple App Store launched in 2008, app developers have been paid more than $70 billion, or $20 billion more than the total Apple announced last year. Downloads from the App Store have also increased, growing 70 percent in 12 months, the company said.

 "Seventy billion dollars earned by developers is simply mind-blowing," Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said in a statement." We are amazed at all of the great new apps our developers create and can't wait to see them again next week at our Worldwide Developers Conference."

The increased downloads and payouts come on the heels of changes Apple made a year ago to its App Store, including approving apps more quickly and letting all apps sell subscriptions. It also will lower the cut it gets for app subscriptions. If an app maker holds onto a subscriber for a year or longer, Apple's cut will shrink to 15 percent from its prior level of 30 percent.

Among the most sought-after apps were the phenomenally popular games Pokemon Go and Super Mario Run, Nintendo's first-ever smartphone game, which was launched on iOS in December. Other standouts included CancerAid, SPACE by THIX, and Zones for Training with Exercise Intensity.

With the expansion of the subscription business model to all 25 app categories, paid subscriptions are also growing in popularity, rising 58 percent year over year, Apple said.