A Day Early, Apple Opens iPhone App Store

Tomorrow, Apple will begin selling its eagerly awaited second generation iPhone handheld, the iPhone 3G, along with associated products like the iPhone Software 2.0 Update, iTunes 7.7, and MobileMe. Today, however, Apple made available what will likely prove to be the iPhone's biggest advantage against its entrenched Windows Mobile and Blackberry rivals, the iPhone Application Store.

Even in prerelease form, the iPhone App Store, as it's called on the device, is an impressive accomplishment, offering hundreds of free and paid software applications for the iPhone and iPod touch. Apple says over 500 applications will be available at the official launch tomorrow, one-third of them games. Applications are available in a number of product categories including such things as business, education, entertainment, finance, and music, among others.

"The quality and the sophistication of the applications you can write for the iPhone is in a different class \[from other smart phones\]," Apple CEO Steve Jobs told "The New York Times" this week. "The reaction we have gotten \[from developers\] so far has been really strong."

I've been testing the iPhone 2.0 Software for over a week and began downloading applications from the App Store this morning. The selection is already impressive, and many of the applications--free or paid--are excellent. The Sega game "Super Monkey Ball," for example, appears to rival the Nintendo Wii version of the game graphically. (Other titles aren't as impressive, however.) While many applications are indeed free, most commercial applications cost $9.99 to $19.99.

I will be reviewing Apple's new iPhone related products in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, I've posted a slew of iPhone Application Store screenshots to the SuperSite for Windows.

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