The Apple App Store yesterday announced its one-billionth application download and its 35,000 available applications in nine months of business.

For the past two weeks, the App Store has been running a ticker on its Web site tracking the number of downloads.

In January, Apple announced 500 million downloads and 15,000 available applications.

The one-billionth download was achieved only hours after Apple announced strong second-quarter earnings (story here). Apple’s senior vice president and CFO, Peter Oppenheimer, stressed the uniqueness of the iPhone and iPod Touch devices when combined with the App Store.  

“We believe the App Store is a key strategic differentiator of the iPhone and iPod Touch experience and is more evidence of what we have always said, that software is a key ingredient for a great mobile experience,” he said.

Almost 3.8 million iPhones were sold worldwide in the March quarter, a 123 percent increase compared with the 1.7 million handsets sold in the same quarter of 2008.

Companies such as Research In Motion RIM, Nokia and Microsoft have all either rolled out or announced intentions to launch mobile application stores. It remains to be seen whether they’ll be able to offer the kind of easily accessible experience that led to the App Store’s first billion downloads.

In March, Apple showed developers the specs for its upcoming iPhone operating system (OS). Analysts believe the new OS, which will include 1,000 new developer APIs, will lead to more powerful iPhone apps and a renewed explosion of downloads at the App Store.

“I think it just unleashes a whole new level of innovation that keeps Apple years ahead of everyone else,” said acting CEO Tim Cook during the company’s earnings call, with regard to the recent SDK changes.

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