Apple's App Store nears 25 billion downloads. That's a lot of downloads.

Online store averaging more than 19,000 downloads a minute, 18 million a day

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Sometime soon (and I have a prediction below), Apple's App Store will hit its 25 billionth download.

It's an amazing number considering the store has been in business for slightly more than 3 1/2 years, opening on July 10, 2008.

Also remarkable is how much user downloading has accelerated over the past year (though perhaps not so remarkable when you consider the dual impact of the iPad and the iPhone 4S). From the App Store's debut through January 22, 2011, users downloaded 10 billion apps. That's over a period of 2 1/2 years.

But Apple users were just getting warmed up. In the more than 13 months since, another 15 billion apps have been downloaded. That's more than a billion a month.

The current App Store download total is 24.45 billion. If you take that figure and divide it by the number of days the store has been open (1,321), you get an average of 18.5 million apps downloaded from the App Store per day!

Or, if you visit Apple's website and check the live app download counter, then get out a stopwatch and count for 60 seconds, you'll see that downloads currently are averaging about 19,400 per minute.

Based on that estimate, it looks like the App Store will hit 25 billion downloads around 30,000 minutes from now, or 500 hours, or almost exactly 21 days. Which would put the date at March 12.

Keep this in mind because there may be something in it for you. The lucky user who downloads the 25 billionth app from Apple will receive a $10,000 App Store Gift Card. Or you can win by submitting a contest form "after the download of the 24,999,999,999th app," as Apple explains.

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