3 years ago today Apple launched the App Store. It was alongside iPhone 3G and MobileMe and while the former has been retired and the latter is soon to be replaced by iCloud, the App Store is still going strong. Phenomenally strong.

The App Store had XXX apps on day one. A year later it had over 56,000 that had been downloaded over 1 billion times. Last year it had over 225,000 apps -- 8500 iPad native -- and over 5 billion downloads As of last week we're over 425,000 apps -- 100,000 iPad native -- and over 15 billion downloads.

And it shows no signs of slowing down. The app approval process has gotten smoother for the most part, and we seldom hear outrageous rejection stories any more. They've added subscriptions and even removed some of the more contentious requirements for using them. And with iOS 5 scheduled for this fall, and perhaps a whole new set of devices to use it, we should have even better apps and games ahead of us. Who knows, maybe we'll even get Apple TV apps one day?

On the negative side, patent troll Lodsys has begun targeting some App Store developers, and while Apple has filed to intervene in the lawsuits, they've provided little reassurance for developers.

Still, the last year has been a bright one for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users. And apparently, Apple is just getting started.