Eighteen months ago, while the consumer electronics industry was abuzz with the release of the 3G iPhone, Apple also introduced new iTunes featuring something called the App store.

Today Apple announced that iPod and iPhone users have now downloaded more than three billion apps from the store worldwide.

When it was first introduced, users could purchase and download over 500 third-party applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Today the app store has more than 100,000 apps available for download.

The three billion download milestone comes fourteen weeks after Apple reported that downloads at the app store had topped 2 billion. That translates into over 70 million apps per week, 10 million per day, 416,000 per hour, or about 115 apps per second.

In case you don't yet know, the App Store is a section of Apple's iTunes online store where more than 50 million iPhone and iPod Touch users can browse and download applications for their digital device.

Applications are available to purchase or free of charge. Paid apps typically range in price from 99 cents to $9.99 although some specialized apps may sell for more. The applications can be downloaded directly to an iPhone or iPod Touch or indirectly to personal computer via iTunes.

Apple says 70% of revenues from application sales go to the developer with the remaining 30% going to Apple.