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The headline says it all. Good golly, that’s a lot of commerce cranking through the App Store pipes. We haven’t even reached the cultural milestone of the next iPhone handset yet.

The projection comes from mobileSQUARED, a mobile research and analysis house in the UK. The firm pegs the tipping point with near-pinpoint accuracy: At the current download of 5.1 million apps daily, the 1 billion mark should be achieved in the afternoon of April 23rd. If you’re a research nut, you can check out the full report here.

The iPhone may not be a smash hit everywhere in the world, but the fans among us seem to be making up for it. Also likely is the fact that more people are getting used to the concept of app stores, so much so that others like BlackBerry, Android and the upcoming Palm are following suit with their own. With the economy spiraling so far down, it's nice to know that at least app development looks like a pretty healthy industry.

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