January 6, 2016 Last Updated 6:57 am

Holiday App Store sales hit $1.1B, Apple says, countering bad publicity about iPhone sales

The WSJ had previously reported that iPhone sales may be lagging, evidence for this being an early dismissal of workers at Foxconn for the Chinese Lunar New Year break

The rumor is that a cutback in work hours at Foxconn in China means Apple is cutting back its production of the iPhone due to slower sales. The rumor got started when The Wall Street Journal reported that the manufacturer had begun letting workers off early for the Chinese Lunar New Year break, something that supposedly wouldn’t happen if sales were booming.

app-store-icon-300It is, to repeat, merely a rumor (though the WSJ seems sure that A + B must equal C).

But, true to form, Apple has released an announcement about great holiday sales, this time in the App Store, Whether the timing of the release is meant to bring a little cheer to investors who are driving down the stock 2 percent today is not known. (US stocks are down today pretty much across the board.)

According to Apple, customers spent over $1.1 billion on apps and in-app purchases over the two week holiday period. Apple also said that since the App Store launched in 2008, it has paid out nearly $40 billion to developers – though most developers will tell you this is an irrelevant number since Apple promotes only a limited number of apps – and, in fact, intentionally makes it hard for most developers to sell app by limiting the number of apps seen on its App Store home pages and has a broken down search mechanism. Developer discontent has never been higher.

Nonetheless, record-breaking App Store sales are probably a good sign that Apple had a good fourth quarter (Apple’s fiscal 2016 Q1). But we’ll know more when Apple reports earnings on January 26.

Here is Apple’s announcement about holiday App Store sales:

CUPERTINO, California — January 6, 2016 — Apple today announced that customers around the world made this holiday season the biggest ever for the App Store, setting new records during the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s.

In the two weeks ending January 3, customers spent over $1.1 billion on apps and in-app purchases, setting back-to-back weekly records for traffic and purchases. January 1, 2016 marked the biggest day in App Store history with customers spending over $144 million. It broke the previous single-day record set just a week earlier on Christmas Day.

“The App Store had a holiday season for the record books. We are excited that our customers downloaded and enjoyed so many incredible apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV, spending over $20 billion on the App Store last year alone,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “We’re grateful to all the developers who have created the most innovative and exciting apps in the world for our customers. We can’t wait for what’s to come in 2016.”

Worldwide, the App Store has brought in nearly $40 billion for developers since 2008, with over one-third generated in the last year alone.

Largely as a result of the App Store’s success, Apple is now responsible for creating and supporting 1.9 million jobs in the U.S. alone. Nearly three-quarters of those jobs — over 1.4 million — are attributable to the community of app creators, software engineers and entrepreneurs building apps for iOS, as well as non-IT jobs supported directly and indirectly through the app economy.*

Apple has previously reported that the iOS app economy has created 1.2 million jobs in Europe and 1.4 million jobs in China.

Gaming, Social Networking and Entertainment were among the year’s most popular App Store categories across Apple products, with customers challenging themselves to Minecraft: Pocket Edition, Trivia Crack and Heads Up!, and staying in touch with friends and family using Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Snapchat. Games and subscription apps dominated this year’s top grossing titles including Clash of Clans, Monster Strike, Game of War – Fire Age and Fantasy Westward Journey, as well as Netflix, Hulu and Match.

The launch of the all-new Apple TV® and Apple Watch® have paved the way for entirely new app experiences, changing how people consume content through their television and providing useful information at a glance on Apple’s most personal device yet. Since its launch in October, the new Apple TV’s most popular apps include Rayman Adventures, Beat Sports and HBO NOW. Chart-topping apps for Apple Watch owners include fitness apps Nike+ Running and Lifesum, and iTranslate and Citymapper in the Travel category.

*Job creation estimate based on research by Dr. Michael Mandel, Progressive Policy Institute. “App Economy Jobs in the United States,” January 6, 2016

Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple’s four software platforms — iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.

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