Apple logo at Tysons Corner mall in Tysons Corner, Va., in November 2010. (Karen Bleier / AFP/Getty
Although the answer to life, the universe and everything might be "42," the answer to how many apps is enough -- or, God forbid, too many -- is a little harder to come by. Opinions may vary.
Apple's iOS 6, it seems, has an answer though: 500.
That's what a developer says about the current developers' version of the operating system.
"When a user has over 500 apps on their iDevice, they will start having slow booting, auto-rebooting, and other issues due to the OS rejecting the number of apps," according to "macjeff" on the Mid Atlantic Consulting blog. "Get up to 1,000 and your device will not even boot, forcing you to restore."
Seriously, 500 apps? A thousand? Sure, you might think those numbers ridiculous and excessive. And for the casual user, they may be.
(I must admit, though, that I personally stopped counting at 498 downloads a few years ago. I was too afraid to have a real number in my head.)
But the app developer made its case that if Apple is truly expecting the iPhone to replace everything from your phone and day planner to your wallet and entertainment systems, then the app capacity would have to be "almost unlimited."
The writer says they even conjured the words of Apple's late iconic leader.
"If you go back a ways in Keynotes, you will see that Steve Jobs said your only limit was the number of apps per folder and the number of folders you could fit in the 11 screens of apps," macjeff wrote.
Apparently, he says, in the first three betas of iOS 6, this is not so, though it was in predecessors iOS 4 and iOS 5.
Currently, on a single screen, you can have four apps across and four down. You can create folders that hold up to 12 apps, and you can fill up 11 pages. And don't forget the four ubiquitous spots across the bottom, where you can also park four more folders. That comes to 2,160.
Apple may be relenting and fixing the issue, according to the blog post, though it may not be in the next iteration of the beta.
Hey, if the limit that breaks the phone is 500 or even 1,000, remember, it's still more than the earliest days of apps on the iPhone, when the limit was 148.
[For the record, 3:06 p.m. July 20: Forgetting that tray can accommodate folders, I initially posted that the current top app count was 2,116. Thanks to reader Jon Dorfman for pointing out in the comments that, with four folders in the tray holding 12 apps each, the total could actually reach 2,160.]