Apple's App Store has served up 25 billion downloads, the company announced today.
The iPhone and iPad maker's main Web site was festooned with a banner trumpeting the milestone, but the 25 billionth downloader--and consequent contest winner--has not yet been announced. That lucky individual will receive a gift card for the iTunes Store, worth $10,000. (That's a lot of Beatles ring tones.)
Last January Apple ran a similar promotion for the 10 billionth app downloaded, also awarding a $10,000 gift card. That was a follow-up to the company's 2009 award to the person who downloaded the 1 billionth app. That first time was a bit more generous, with 13-year-old Connor Mulcahey nabbing a $10,000 iTunes gift card along with an iPod Touch, MacBook Pro, and one of Apple's Time Capsule devices.
The acceleration in App Store downloads has been swift since the business launched in July of 2008. The store hit 1 billion downloads in its first nine months, reaching 5 billion downloads in June 2010. By January 2011, the company tallied 10 billion downloads, a number that topped 18 billion in October of the same year.
Apple has said that it pretty much breaks even running the App Store. But the point of the enterprise is not to profit from the sale of apps, but to make Apple's devices more useful and more attractive to gadget buyers.
Apple said it would unveil the winner of the 25 billion contest within 10 days, on this page.
CNET's Josh Lowensohn contributed to this report.