Just three months after iTunes hit the 1 billion milestone, and after Saturday's one-year anniversary of the popular mobile app store - iTunes has now reached a record number of 1.5 billion downloads.

The App Store is like nothing the industry has ever seen before in both scale and quality, Apple chief executive officer Steve Jobs said in a statement.

With 1.5 billion apps downloaded, it is going to be very hard for others to catch up.

At present, the App Store offers more than 65,000 apps in 77 countries.

Apple says there are 65,000 apps available in the store, and 40 million iPhones and iPod Touch devices sold thus far.

The biggest group of apps for the iPhone are games (about 10,600), entertainment (8,100) and books (around  7,700).

The success of the store has led a number of prominent tech companies to launch their own mobile stores, including Research in Motion, Microsoft, Google, and Nokia. LG and Verizon also have stores in the works.

Google has said its Android Market will be more open than Apple's store, which has faced some criticism over its evaluation process. Microsoft is set to launch its Windows Marketplace for Mobile by the fourth quarter.