Apple iPhone app downloads top two billion

NEW YORK - Apple said today that more than 2 billion applications have been downloaded from the App Store by the 50 million iPhone and iPod Touch owners around the world.

More than 85,000 applications have been made available by Apple. They can be developed by anyone and, after approval by Apple, put on sale or distributed for free via the App Store. More than 125,000 developers are in the iPhone Developer Programme.

Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive, said of the milestone: "The rate of App Store downloads continues to accelerate with users downloading a staggering 2 billiion apps in just over a year, including more than half a billion apps this quarter alone.

"The App Store has reinvented what you can do with a mobile handheld device, and our users are clearly loving it."

Orange revealed today that it would be selling the iPhone in the run up to Christmas. In the two years since it launched, it has only been officially available to O2 customers. With Orange set to merge with T-Mobile in the UK, iPhones will be available to around three quarters of the UK mobile market.