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Apple's App Store celebrates 5th birthday with free downloads

Store has had more than 50bn downloads as of May this year, generating $10bn in revenue.

In anticipation of its fifth birthday on July 10, Apple’s App Store and games developers are giving away titles for free.

Free app downloads include Traktor DJ  (which previously cost £13.99), and Infinity Blade II (an award-winning action adventure game with some of the best graphics seen on iOS). Other titles include Superbrothers: Sword and Sourcery EP, interactive child-friendly Barefoot World Atlas, and addictive one-button arcade game Tiny Wings.

These free titles are likely only the beginning of the App Store's birthday celebrations, as Apple have already begun preparing the ground, sending out posters to journalists mapping the store's milestones.

Headline figures include more than 50 billion apps downloaded as of May this year, and more than $10bn paid out to the developers of its 850,000 titles. Apple have highlighted individual apps such as Temple Run - which has been downloaded more than 100 million times - and Angry Birds, which arrived in 2009 and has now been downloaded 1.7 billion times.

Of course, its not all gone Apple's way, as Tech blog All Things D have been quick to point out. Some of the milestones that Apple have preferred to leave out include the launch of Google's Android Market in the same year (which got off to a slow start but now has 2 billion downloads a month versus Apple's 1.8 billion); or the Wall Street Journal's investigation of 101 smartphone apps that showed that 56 were transmitting users' personal data without their knowledge or consent; or, as highlighted by ITProPortal, Apple's constant rejection of Drone+, an app that aimed to increase awareness of drone strikes by notifying users whenever one was carried out.

But despite these less than illustrious achievements the App Store has undoubtedly been a massive success, essentially creating the consumer market for mobile phones almost single-handedly. As Tim Bradshaw has described it, the App Store "has become an economy all of its own." However, Apple's lead in the app economy is getting shorter each day, and whether the App Store's tenth anniversary will be celebrated with equal generosity remains to be seen.