Today is the day you can win enough money on iTunes to last the rest of your life. Or, if you’re one of those people, a few weeks. But then you won’t feel guilty about spending so much, because Apple is giving away $10,000 for spending on iTunes to the person who downloads the 10 billionth app. The company announced the prize last week, but today is the fateful day.

By my calculations (at about 5,000 downloads per 10 seconds), someone will win between 9-10 hours from now, around 7pm pacific time. Of course, it’s still early and I haven’t factored in higher or lower download rates based on times of the day, and added weekend downloads since many around the world are already getting off of work and checking out their phones for new apps. I’d fathom Apple hits their mark closer to 4 or 5pm, and we’ll be watching to see just when it happens.

So get your iPhones, iPod Touchs, iPads and iTunes accounts ready. Just remember that there are only 25 entries per day, so even if you download the 10,000,000,000th app, it has to be one of those first 25 or you won’t win. Or, if you’re not interested in downloading apps, you can register via entry form, but good luck winning that way.

I have my strategy to win. Do you? Watch the countdown clock go on Apple’s website.

Update: The countdown clock may be skewed…the screenshot above was taken at 9:37am PST, and the screenshot below was taken at 9:45am. We’ve reached out to Apple to see why this has happened, but likely won’t hear back before the contest ends.

Update 2: Now it’s at 9,979,000,000. We’re apparently losing downloads…if this keeps up, today will not be the day, though the number does have to stay above 9,975,000,000 this hour to reach 10 billion today. By my calculations, it’s earning around 1,800,000 app downloads hourly, though additional deductions are making it impossible to be sure anymore.

James Pikover

Spawned in the horrendous heat of a Los Angeles winter, James was born with an incessant need to press buttons. Whether it was the car radio, doorbells on Halloween or lights, James pushed, pressed and prodded every button. No elevator was left unscathed, no building intercom was left un-rung, and no person he’s known has been left un-annoyed.