The App Store, Apple’s software bazaar for mobile apps, has apparently crossed a cool 500,000 app approvals in two years and ten months since its inception. The actual number of store items available for download is closer to 400,000 due to withdrawals, replacements etc. This semi-official news came courtesy of Chomp.com, 148apps.biz and EA-owned games publisher Chillingo. They also posted a cool infographic on the 500K Apps Facebook page which details a bunch of headline-worthy factoids, seen below the fold.

According to Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt, “sometime after midnight Tuesday morning, the iTunes team pushed through a batch of app submissions that sent the total over a six-figure milestone”. In January, a customer downloaded ten billionth app on the store. Android Market has close to 300,000 apps and three billion downloads, per latest figures Google shared at the I/O 2011 conference earlier this month. Knowing Apple’s penchant for juicy stats, we can expect a formal announcement during a Steve Jobs keynote at WWDC on June 6. Here’s more food for thought…

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For now, Apple is winning the war of numbers – even with Android apps surging in spite of platform fragmentation issues. Speaking of which, iOS developers today have a simple choice. They can either write programs for the iPhone/iPod touch and support both the legacy 320-by-480 pixel resolution and/or the Retina Display’s 640-by-960 resolution or target the iPad’s 1024-by-768 pixel resolution display as well, which requires adding more logic and assets to their binaries. Granted, that’s a non-issue compared with device fragmentation in the Android world, but the discrepancy between the iPhone 4’s Retina Display resolution and iPad’s 1024-by-768 display nonetheless complicates software development.

Now, earlier this morning I received an email from our reader Kevin, a soon-to-be first time iOS developer, which I think highlights several valid arguments explaining one possible way of tackling this issue. Here’s from Kevin, for the debate’s sake.

I fully believe that the iPhone 5 screen resolution is going to be the same as the iPad – 1.024-by-768. To me that would make perfect sense as it reduces fragmentation even more with just a single resolution for both devices. They could even bump the physical size of the screen to 4 inches while keeping a 320 pixel-per-inch density for a 1024-by-768 Retina Display. It also ties in nicely with the supposed “Retina” iPad 3 of 2048-by-1536 as they can then use pixel doubling going from iPhone 5 to iPad 3. Just as they’re doing pixel doubling nowadays.

The iPad is a major source of income for Apple but there should still have been sold more iPhones in total. This creates a divergence between the bigger iPhone market compared to the smaller iPad userbase. But by giving the iPhone 5 the same resolution as the iPad this developer dilemma is non-exsistent. Apple can then in turn boast their app numbers with even more apps designed specifically for their magical iPad device. It’s just good business and my 2 cents.

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