iOS Developers Rock the Register on In-App Purchases

A report published Monday by Dow Jones Newswires culls data from the latest Distimo report showing that in-app purchases now account for half of all iOS developer revenues.

The number of downloadable applications on offer for mobile smartphones grew rapidly in 2010 from a year earlier, with iPhone-maker Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) App Store showing the fastest growth rate in absolute numbers, Dutch research firm Distimo said in a report Monday.

In 2010, the total number of applications available for the Apple iPhone doubled to a pool of approximately 300,000. The Apple App Store’s rivals “generated faster growth” in terms of percentage, although from a much lower level.

The observed explosion in application development and consumption coincided with a similar boom in overall smartphone sales. According to research firm Gartner, smartphone sales swelled 96% in the third quarter of 2010 from just one year earlier.

According to Distimo’s findings, the top three-hundred free applications in the US were responsible for some three million daily downloads in December 2010. Only a fraction of premium apps (350,000 in all) were downloaded daily in comparison.

Between June and December 2010, the first six months of Apple’s iAd program, revenues resulting from in-app purchases (in free applications) doubled for both the iPhone and iPad. All told, revenues from in-app purchases (in both free and premium apps) now constitute 49% of all iPhone developer earnings and nearly 30% of all iPad developer earnings.