Infographic: App Store Growth Compared to McDonald's Burgers

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There was a time, not so long ago, when all of the large signs planted outside of McDonald's franchises proudly declared "Over 99 billion served." (Trust me, I'm from Illinois, home base for the world's largest fast food chain; I think we have one on just about every street corner.) That number was static for years. As a kid, I remember wondering just when the franchise would hit the 100 billion mark. I didn't realize until later that none of the signs had room for a three-digit number. It seems that McDonald's executives didn't have much confidence in their ability to hit a target that large.

But they did. In fact, McDonald's sold its 100 billionth hamburger in 1996, about 46 years after first opening its doors. (Or opening its first doors.) Sybase uses this statistic in a new infographic to highlight just how impressive it is that Apple is on track to sell its 100 billionth app through the App Store in just five and a half years. Today, only three years after launching, the Store has moved about 15 billion apps -- and consumers continue to download 31 million every day. And while Google's Android is currently trailing Apple (and launched months after), projections based on accelerating growth suggest that it could hit the 100 billion mark first.

Infographics are always a bit of a hodgepodge of statistics culled from a variety of sources. Here, we sort through the clutter and pull out some of our favorite facts and figures:

  • McDonald's sold 100 billion burgers in the 46 years between 1948 and 1996.
  • Apple is projected to hit 100 billion app downloads sometime in 2014, based on polynomial trendline extrapolations with a calculated accuracy of 0.996. 
  • Android is projected to hit 100 billion app downloads sometime in 2012, based on polynomial trendline extrapolations with a calculated accuracy of 0.996. That means it will have taken just about four years, or less than 1/12 as long as it took McDonald's to sell that many hamburgers.
  • Apple's App Store is the most popular app store today, with 15 billion downloads to date. Consumers are downloading about 31 million apps from the store every day.
  • Google's Android Market launched just months after Apple's App Store, but has only sold 1/3 as many apps (five billion). Still, it has picked up the pace in recent months and is now selling 16.67 million apps every day.
  • BlackBerry's App World, which launched in April 2009, has sold one billion apps.

Check out more Infographics on the Technology Channel.

hamburgers_vs_apps_v9_ol_blog_v2.jpg

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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