GROWING MARKET: Apple is reaping the benefits of the rise in app purchases.
GROWING MARKET: Apple is reaping the benefits of the rise in app purchases.

iDevice users spent $607 million on apps in week one of 2015

APPLE and thousands of mobile software developers are feasting on people's ravenous app-etite for apps.

Users of iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches spent nearly $607 million on applications and in-app services during the first week of the year.

That's the highest weekly volume recorded by Apple since the Cupertino, California, company opened its App Store seven years ago and revolutionised the way people connect with online services and play games.

If sales continue at the same opening-week pace, Apple and the makers of the apps would split up about $25 billion in revenue. Apple's revenue-sharing formula calls for 70% of app sales to be paid to the developers, with the rest kept by the company.

This year's fast start came after Apple's app billings surged by 50% in 2014, according to the latest breakdown.

The increase produced more than $10 billion for app developers. That implies Apple reaped somewhere from $4 billion to $5 billion in revenue from its App Store last year, based on the company's 30% commission.

Apple didn't disclose how much it made from the App Store last year.

Most analysts expect the App Store will contribute a bigger piece of Apple's future profits as people become more dependent on their mobile devices, encouraging developers to create even more services tailored for the gadgets.

The latest version of Apple's mobile software, iOS 8, already is fuelling demand with new categories for home and health management, as well as the opportunity to install alternatives to Apple's built-in keyboard for the first time.

What's more, Apple plans to release a line of smartwatches this year that's likely to unleash another wave of app purchases.

As popular as it is, Apple's App Store lags behind Google's Play Store for Android devices in terms of total downloads, according to analytical firm AppAnnie.

That's largely because about two billion devices running on Google's free Android software have been shipped so far.

Apple has sold more than 828 million mobile devices since the 2007 release of the iPhone.

But the smaller number of people using Apple's devices spend more money on apps than Android's larger audience, according to AppAnnie and other analysts. That's because Apple's products tend to attract more affluent buyers.

With less income to spend, Android users are more apt to focus on the wide range of free apps available.

Google hasn't released last year's billing statistics for its Play Store. In late June, the company said the Play Store had distributed about $5 billion to developers since opening its own app market in June.

A Google spokeswoman said the company had no further updates to disclose on Thursday.

Apple said its app developers have made $US25 billion since 2008. The company's store offers more than 1.4 million mobile apps in 155 countries.