Why all the hoopla over mobile apps? How about because of numbers like this: Apple announced today that more than 15 billion apps have been downloaded from its App Store by more than 200 million iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users worldwide. More than 425,000 apps and developers have created more than 100,000 native iPad apps. Now that’s a ‘community.’

“In just three years, the revolutionary App Store has grown to become the most exciting and successful software marketplace the world has ever seen,” Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, was quoted as saying in an Apple press release. “Thank you to all of our amazing developers who have filled it with over 425,000 of the coolest apps and to our over 200 million iOS users for surpassing 15 billion downloads.”

Carrying some 425,000 apps, more than 100,000 of them ‘native,’ the App Store is available to more than 200 million iOS device owners in 90 countries.

Apple has paid out more than $2.5 billion to app developers to date. Contributors including Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Epic Games and Callaway Digital Arts lauded the innovation and opportunities the App Store has opened up. “We sparked musical magic when iPhone users experienced Ocarina three years ago,” said Dr. Ge Wang, a Smule co-founder and assistant professor at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. “And now with iPad, we’ve created the Magic Piano and Magic Fiddle apps. Who could’ve dreamt an iPad would make its way into the San Francisco Symphony?”