In a nutshell: It's no secret that the App Store ecosystem generates a lot of money, buy the exact figure is pretty jaw-dropping. Last year alone, Apple's marketplace supported an incredible $519 billion in billing and sales around the world.

The half-a-trillion figure comes from a study by independent economists at Analysis Group. It found that the majority of the money came from the sale of physical goods and services ($413 billion), followed by digital goods and services ($61 billion), then in-app advertising ($45 billion).

Despite Android taking a larger share of the smartphone market, Apple's App Store has long been a bigger earner than Google's Play Store. iPhone owners do tend to spend more than those on Android, and the way Apple locks users into its ecosystem boosts sales. The store's strong performance helped Cupertino become the first US company to reach a $1.5 trillion valuation recently.

With Apple taking a 15 to 30 percent cut of all digital goods and services purchased through the App Store, most of the $519 billion went to third-party developers and businesses.

"The App Store is a place where innovators and dreamers can bring their ideas to life, and users can find safe and trusted tools to make their lives better," said CEO Tim Cook. "In a challenging and unsettled time, the App Store provides enduring opportunities for entrepreneurship, health and well-being, education, and job creation, helping people adapt quickly to a changing world."

Apple writes that the App Store, launched in 2008, is the world's safest app marketplace. It boasts 2 million apps and is visited by half a billion people each week across 175 countries.