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7/10/2008
03:25 PM
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Apple Launches iPhone App Store

The App Store opened its virtual doors with about 500 applications for Apple's iPhone, ranging from games to business tools.

Apple on Thursday launched the App Store for the soon-to-be-released 3G iPhone, making a major push at becoming a key player in what's expected to be the next generation in computing.




The App Store is available through iTunes 7.7. iPhone apps can be found by searching for "iPhone" or clicking here.
(click for image gallery)

The online store coupled with the media player-smart phone hybrid completes the company's platform for a ubiquitous connection between an ultra-portable computer and the Internet. "The iPhone is not a phone. It's a connected touch-screen computer that goes into your pocket and just happens to make phone calls," Michael Gartenberg, analyst for Jupiter Research, told InformationWeek

Analysts say mobile Internet devices will someday surpass personal computers as the way people connect to Web services, and Apple entered the market in a big way by introducing through the App Store about 500 applications for the new iPhone, which goes on sale Friday at 8 a.m. local time. For people with the slower original iPhone, Apple on Thursday released firmware version 2.0, which is the same operating system as in the new device. For $9.99, people can load the OS in the iPod Touch, which is the iPhone without the phone.

People can also access the App Store by downloading version 7.7 of the iTunes software, which also was released on Thursday. The latter makes it possible for iPhone buyers to deploy software from their Macs or PCs.

In being able to offer hundreds of applications on the first day the 3G iPhone is available, Apple has shown that developers are onboard, not an easy feat considering that hardware vendors typically face a Catch-22 when releasing non-Windows devices. Without must-have applications to run on the devices, people are unwilling to buy the hardware. But without lots of hardware in the hands of consumers, developers are unlikely to invest the time in building software.

With 6 million-plus iPhones sold since the device was introduced in January 2007, Apple has managed to build a developer-enticing market. "They've really responded to Apple's call in a big way," Gartenberg said of developers.

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