Tim CookAP

A few days before Apple hosts thousands of developers in San Jose, California, the company gave them a reason to make apps for iPhones and iPads.

Actually, 70 billion reasons. 

Apple said on Thursday that developer earnings from the App Store were over $70 billion since it launched in 2008.

Given that Apple takes about 30% of sales through its App Store, that suggests Apple’s App Store has sold about $100 billion worth of software in its history.

The message to iPhone developers is that Apple’s platform is healthy, thriving, and presents an opportunity to start and grow a business.

The announcement also gets out of the way several smaller, incremental announcements that Apple may have been planning to make at its annual developers conference — possibly making more time for product launches and other cool reveals. Rumors suggest that Apple may launch new laptops and iPads next week. 

Apple also said that over the past 12 months, downloads have grown over 70%. Certain categories of apps, such as photo and video ones, are growing even faster — nearly 90% during the same period.

Apple has recently tweaked the App Store to make it more friendly to developers, letting them respond to negative reviews directly, for example, and cutting Apple’s share of sales if the app is sold through a subscription, which the company said had increased 58% year over year.

One thing Apple hasn’t revealed: how many devices it currently has in use. The last stat, 1 billion Apple devices in active use, was given in early 2016. These growth numbers for Apple’s App Store platform are impressive, but they may simply be mirroring more iPhones in use, rather than additional apps or sales per user.