Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Apple opens iPhone App Store


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 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,” said Michael Gartenberg, analyst for Jupiter Research. 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. About a quarter of the App Store software is free, with 90% of the paid software available for $9.99 or less. Apple, which must first approve applications before they go on sale, takes 30% of the revenue generated from paid software, but does not charge developers offering free applications. Available software includes games, educational program, mobile commerce, and business productivity tools. A third of the applications are games.

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