Ina Fried

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Connected iPads Offer a Bit of iCandy at WWDC

Onstage on Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook talked about all of the momentum behind the App Store, including the fact that 30 billion apps have now been downloaded.

Cook also noted that Apple has paid out more than $5 billion to developers and that there are more than 400 million iTunes store accounts.

One floor down at San Francisco’s Moscone West convention center, Apple offered a more visual representation of that booming business. The company connected 120 iPads into a giant “hyper table” showing the icons of the top 20,000 apps in the app marketplace and a near-real-time look at how they are doing.

Each time one of the apps is downloaded somewhere in the world, its icon pulses briefly. For each 100 downloads the icon starts a ripple effect.

To create the table, Apple connected the 10 dozen iPads and their 377 million pixels through a Mac Pro that was processing all that app sales data and coordinating its display (on about a five minute delay).

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work