In the days leading up to the company’s highly anticipated first quarter earnings, Apple announced on Monday that customers have downloaded more than 40 billion apps from its iOS and Mac App Stores, with almost 20 billion of those downloads coming in 2012 alone.

“It has been an incredible year for the iOS developer community,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “Developers have made over seven billion dollars on the App Store, and we continue to invest in providing them with the best ecosystem so they can create the most innovative apps in the world.”

December was a record-breaking month for Apple, which saw roughly 2 billion downloads from its App Store during that period. In its press release, Apple celebrated some of the companies that boasted the best-selling apps of the year, including the husband and wife team at Imangi Studios for its wildly popular Temple Run game, which amassed more than 75 million downloads in 2012 alone.

“The success of our game Temple Run in 2012 was nothing short of astonishing,” said Keith Shepherd, co-founder of Imangi Studios. “We were simply looking to create a game that was fun and easy to play, but once it hit the App Store, the game took off. This past year, we saw more than 75 million downloads of Temple Run on iOS.”

Bad Robot Interactive, the company behind the 2012 App Of The Year for iPhone “Action Movie FX,” simultaneously attracted millions of downloads while pushing the limits of what iOS apps can do with its popular video effects and sound design.

“The App Store provided us with opportunities beyond our wildest dreams,” said JJ Abrams, Bad Robot Interactive’s famous writer/producer. “Our app Action Movie FX was designed to bring Hollywood special effects to anyone’s self-made video, whether that be on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, and we’re just thrilled that millions of fans around the world were as excited as we were about the possibilities that this app brings.”

Since launching in 2008 – one year after the original iPhone – Apple’s App Store has revolutionized the way users discover and enjoy mobile content with its vast ecosystem of countless cheap, downloadable applications, allowing customers to build their own massive libraries of useful apps.

The App Store offers more than 775,000 apps in 155 countries for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users, as well as 300,000 apps built specifically for iPad. Apps are categorized in 23 separate sections, including games, news, sports, travel, productivity, news apps within Newsstand, and more.

Bottle Rocket Apps, which builds and maintains countless apps for the App Store including the apps for NPR, WWE, ESPN and The Food Network, now employs more than 100 full-time employees dedicated to “nothing but building great apps.”

“In my 20-plus years in technology, I have never seen such a vibrant marketplace for software like the App Store,” said Calvin Carter, president of Bottle Rocket Apps.

Less than a year ago, Apple celebrated its 25 billionth app download, rewarding a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card to Chunli Fu of Qingdao, China.