Apple has started the countdown to the billionth app to be downloaded from the App Store. The company has put up a live countdown counter on the web which is spinning so fast I am surprised it has not flown off the page. Mind you, when you consider that in December there were 300 million App Store downloads, 500 million by the middle of January and now, less than three months later, it has nearly doubled that I guess it is not too surprising. Indeed, in December there were a little over 2 million app downloads every day, a figure which jumped to 4.75 million in January and currently stands over the 5 million a day milestone.

To celebrate the big billion, Apple is organising something of a giveaway for Mac fans in the shape of a $10,000 value iTunes gift certificate, a 17" MacBook Pro, an iPod Touch 32GB and an Apple Time Capsule for good measure. The goodies will be given to the downloader of the billionth app, although we have discovered that you don't actually have to own an iPhone or iTouch to join in the fun. You don't even have to download an app at all, it seems. Instead you can complete an online entry form instead. Actually, up to 25 online entry forms per day, and stand exactly the same chance of being the billionth customer as proper app downloaders.