Why Apple’s ‘Billion Apps Downloaded’ countdown is a lie

TechCrunch, although being very pro-Apple, has spotted the fakeness behind the countdown timer for Apple’s App Store Billion Apps countdown. That’s not a countdown for a billion apps developed but for a billion apps downloaded from the App Store.

So, how is it fake? Very simple. As TC pointed out, Apple has ‘predicted’ ( assumed/lied would be a better words ), that the billionth app would be downloaded at 1:24:06 AM PST on April 23. This can be confirmed if you readjust your computer’s clock to any time after the one mentioned in bold, you’ll be greeted with this:


The counter will also jump ahead if you increase the time on your computer’s clock to a time near the the billionth app download time. While, there is also a mention of the time being tweaked in this file, it doesn’t change the fact that Apple is predetermining the time, and hence this is another example of the Reality Distortion Field being executed brilliantly to fool millions of users. Oh, and a somewhat ridiculous statement by MG Siegler in that blog post:

Not that it’s all that surprising. After all, with so many apps being sold every second, can you really expect Apple to do anything other than estimate?

I can simple assume that MG is unaware of Web Analytics. I wouldn’t expect such an immature assumption by an experienced blogger, unless he is a fan boy blinded by RDF. Oh wait..

So, there you go folks. Apple is doing it yet once again.


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  • http://tech.ratedsawj.com/ SAWJ

    And they hate Microsoft. Losers!

  • http://anumvighio.blogspot.com Anum

    Haha. This is hilarious. But I still love my iPod.

  • Ehsan

    hahahah busted, btw i just tried it and it didn’t work for me may be they hid it a bit more and changed it to check their server time instead of the time on the user’s PC :P apple sucks !

  • http://ckcpark.net/dehog Shahzad Khan

    haha WOW man.. Apple is being a b****h lately.. we need to get Mr. jobs back on board !

  • Sean

    Good grief. Splitting hairs now are we?

    You people need a life.

    • http://www.ithinkdiff.com Imran Hussain

      First of all, it’s hair not hairs.
      You need to get a life, since Apple folks were the ones ‘splitting hair’ when it came to Microsoft’s ads. Does it hurt to taste your own medicine?

  • Constable Odo

    Doesn’t mean a thing to me. I just submitted my entries and whenever it happens I might win something. This is just advertising, that’s all. Apple does what it needs to do to keep the hype in full swing. If Apple predetermined the counter, then why not have it reach a billion downloads before earnings are announced? Whether it’s faked or not, it’s not going to change the fact that the App Store is doing well and will continue to drive Apple hardware sales for the iPhone and iPod Touch. What difference does it really make whether the App Store reaches a billion downloads this week or next? None, whatsoever.

    • http://www.ithinkdiff.com/ Imran Hussain

      Definitely agree with that. I wont take credit away from Apple for the wonderful success of their great products like iPod Touch and the iPhone and Macbooks. But this is something I found, and I just wanted to share it with the world. :)

  • marc

    All you (or actually TechCrunch) really said is that the Countdown Timer is not accurate. If it was I imagine that the store would be slammed as the number approaches.

    What you are implying is that the contest is a fraud and the App Store has downloaded nowhere near 1 billion apps. That would be a big story if it is true. Seeking Alpha published a story yesterday in which they went through the earnings reports and other other public records and determined that Apple’s estimate of when 1 billion will be reached is approximately correct.

    I would be interested in data you used to arrive at your conclusion. Assuming, of course, that your research is based on more than scavenging bits from other people’s blogs.

    • http://www.ithinkdiff.com/ Imran Hussain

      yes, this post is based on TechCrunch’s findings to say that the timer isn’t accurate.
      Obviously, the billion downloads mark will be reached, no doubts about that. But the timer doesn’t reflect the real figures. That’s all.

  • AdamC

    Does it matter. at least there is one lucky person who got something out of it, in the mean while eat your heart out….lol

    • http://www.ithinkdiff.com/ Imran Hussain

      ‘Who will get something out of it’. Could be you, or anyone of us who gets “$10,000 iTunes Gift Card, an iPod touch, a Time Capsule, and a MacBook Pro.” :)

  • http://www.ithinkdiff.com Imran Hussain

    yes, this post is based on TechCrunch’s findings to say that the timer isn’t accurate.
    Obviously, the billion downloads mark will be reached, no doubts about that. But the timer doesn’t reflect the real figures. That’s all.

  • Pats

    Read the contest rules. The Billion app is based on Apple’s servers the countdown is an estimation and is updated hourly. The timer uses a linear rate between updates based on the last update from the server. http://www.apple.com/autopush/us/itunes/includes/countdown.txt. The most recent data
    22-APR-2009 08:00:00|993434946|203999. The key date/time |number of downloads |download rate per hour.
    Based on the current rate we have about 32.18179501 hours left in the contest. My guess is the rate will pick-up significantly when we get within the last couple hours so this time tomorrow start buying Apps to win limit 25

    • http://www.ithinkdiff.com Imran Hussain

      Thanks for the informative comment :) .

  • Evan

    It didn’t work at all. I readjusted my clock and reloaded the page. Did Apple adjust something?

    • http://www.ithinkdiff.com/ Imran Hussain

      Yes, they did

  • http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com/ Steve Ballmer

    Apple lies about everything! especially Vista!


    I expect Microsoft to catch up to that number day…


  • Corwinsr

    As of Dec 2010 there have been approximately 55 million Iphones sold. As of November 2010 there have been 6 million Ipads sold. That’s a combined total of 61 million devices that can download apps.

    Simple math says that every single one of those users has to have downloaded an average of 164 apps in order to reach the supposed 10 billion mark.

    I call this a lie.