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Apple already hits new records in 2015

2014 was a record-breaking year for Apple's app store.

The tech behemoth announced Thursday that billings rose 50 percent and apps generated over $10 billion in revenue for developers last year.

And what's more, that strength is continuing in 2015. Apple said billings from the app store set a weekly record for the first week of January, with customers spending nearly half a billion dollars on apps and in-apps purchases.

New Year's Day 2015 marked the single biggest day ever in app store sales history, according to the company.

"This year is off to a tremendous start after a record-breaking year for the app store and our developer community," said Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet software and services.

"We're so proud of the creativity and innovation developers bring to the apps they create for iOS users and that the developer community has now earned over $25 billion," he said in a statement.

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Apple's app store launched in 2008, and now an entire industry exists dedicated to designing and developing apps. So much so now that Apple says in the last six years, the iOS ecosystem has helped created nearly 600,000 jobs in the U.S. (Separately, Apple also launched a website Thursday detailing its impact on job creation.)

The app store is a big battleground between Apple and Google. According to App Annie, which provides market data for the app economy, Google Play's worldwide downloads were about 60 percent higher than iOS app store downloads in the third quarter, which is the latest data available.

But iOS retained its strong lead in app store revenue over Google Play. In the third quarter, iOS app store revenue was about 60 percent higher than Google Play's. App Annie says that at least part of that difference can be explained by Apple's premium products. Consumers who can afford an iPhone can afford to spend more on apps, the research firm said.

The app store now offers more than 1.4 million apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users in 24 categories including games, social networking and health and fitness.

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