Apple has released its official figures for a year of the iTunes App Store - and it reached the frankly amazing landmark of 1.5 billion downloads in its first 12 months.

The App Store - providing third party add-ons for iPhones and iPod Touches - has been a phenomenal success.

"The App Store is like nothing the industry has ever seen before in both scale and quality," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO.

Hard for others to catch up

"With 1.5 billion apps downloaded, it is going to be very hard for others to catch up," he added.

In fact, the concept of opening up a platform to third-party developers has become so popular that the BBC's Erik Huggers recently described Apple's effort as the 'democratisation of the phone'.

And Apple's figures suggest that the App Store is still on a huge upward curve, with more than 65,000 apps available and more than 100,000 developers in the iPhone developer program.