As Apple rumbles toward yet another App Store milestone, there's hard cash (well iTunes gift cards) in it for the lucky few who download an app at just the right time. 

One App Store to Rule Them All

With the rampant piracy troubling the developers of Android's 700,000 apps, the feeble app and download numbers announced by the likes of BlackBerry (100,000 apps, mostly Android ones) and Microsoft (150,000 apps), Apple really is the 500lb gorilla in the room of app stores with over 800,000 titles. And to rub a little more salt into its rivals wounds, its about to hit 50,000,000,000 downloads. 

Even so, Google's Play store isn't that far behind at only 40 billion downloads, but with 70% to 90% piracy rates, it could be doing so much better. Hopefully the recent encryption feature in Jelly Bean 4.1 will bring that rate down and sales up. 

For reference, the top downloaded free apps are Facebook, Pandora, Instagram, YouTube and Skype. The top paid-for apps are Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Doodle Jump, Cut the Rope and Angry Birds Seasons. Just behind those games the top two most popular proper apps are WhatsApp Messenger and Camera+.

UPDATE: The store passed the 50 million mark overnight on 16 May, contest winners will be announced soon. 

Learning Opportunities

Just Win Baby

Back in the world of Apple, one lucky winner will get a US$ 10,000 gift card for the app store and 50 others will get $500 cards in a new contest to celebrate this latest milestone. This news comes hot on the heels of Apple's tiny iOS update for iPhone 5 users which is the latest awkward shuffle in the company's recent downturn in fortunes. 


April saw much debate about what Apple will do to iOS 7 and how it can reinvigorate both iOS and the iPhone line, which while still hugely popular are starting to look old and rigid compared to the competition. We'll see at WWDC the company has to offer but for now, figure out what the download number really is, work out how fast it is counting down, factor in drift for store use across time zones, and if you're very lucky you could bag a whole boat load of free apps.