Jobs on iPhone apps: $30 million in 30 days

Apple's new App Store is doing booming business, and CEO Steve Jobs indicates to <i>The Wall Street Journal</i> that his eyes set on the billion-dollar mark.

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Jon Skillings is an editorial director at CNET, where he's worked since 2000. A born browser of dictionaries, he honed his language skills as a US Army linguist (Polish and German) before diving into editing for tech publications -- including at PC Week and the IDG News Service -- back when the web was just getting under way, and even a little before. For CNET, he's written on topics from GPS, AI and 5G to James Bond, aircraft, astronauts, brass instruments and music streaming services.
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In a variation on the new math, 2.0 plus 3G equals $30 million now and about $360 million next summer.

Or in plain English: Apple has raked in about $30 million in sales of iPhone applications in the one month since the company opened its App Store and brought the iPhone 3G onto the market, CEO Steve Jobs told The Wall Street Journal. Jobs also sees big numbers ahead, if Apple continues its current pace of selling an average of $1 million worth of applications per day.

That rate would add up to $360 million by the first anniversary of the launch of the iPhone 3G and the App Store, Jobs told the Journal. "Who knows? Maybe it will be a $1 billion marketplace at some point in time."

Or maybe the frenzy will slow down after the novelty wears off. GigaOm's Om Malik reports that he has downloaded "nearly three dozen apps" but finds only four--Twinkle, Facebook, NetNewsWire, and Shozu--worth using day in and day out. He turned to Pinch Media for some statistical corroboration:

Using the caveat that only a few app makers were using Pinch Analytics' library, he pointed out that as per their data, the ratio of free downloads to paid downloads is at least 10 to 1. He also said that the pace of downloads is slowing, which is expected because the early rush is behind us.

According to data collected by Pinch Media, on average, less than 20 percent of an application's overall unique users return to an application each day. Yardley also pointed out that people are using the apps for just under five minutes at a time, on average. The majority only use the applications once per day--average number of uses per day is around 1.2.

But back to Apple: in the App Store's first month, Jobs said, iPhone users have downloaded upward of 60 million applications. Many iPhone applications are available for free.

While much of the glory for that accomplishment attends to Apple, a lot of the money does not. About 70 percent of the proceeds--or roughly $21 million so far, Jobs said--are going to the creators of the software applications for the Apple smartphone, leaving 30 percent for Apple itself--or about enough to cover expenses.

The top 10 developers have accounted for about $9 million, or just less than half of the total take for developers, Jobs told the Journal.

Also this morning, see Tom Krazit and Maggie Reardon's reporting on CNET News, "Apple, AT&T mum on iPhone 3G issues."