Apple opens iTunes App Store

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Apple opened the App Store on Thursday, providing access to 552 iPhone and iPod touch applications to users of iTunes.

To run and install the software, users will need a device using the iPhone 2.0 software, currently only available to purchasers of new iPhone 3G models. (The iPhone 3G is on sale now, as it’s after midnight on Friday in New Zealand.)

However, those without the 2.0 software can still browse and buy software on the App Store. Though there’s no direct link to the App Store on the iTunes Store’s top page, a search for a particular app or topic—”Twitter,” for example—will bring up App Store search results. From there, you can click on the App Store button in the iTunes navigation bar to bring you to the App Store home page. You can also navigate to the App Store if you have purchased games from the iTunes Store, as they’ll be put in a new “Applications” icon in the iTunes Library pane.

At launch the App Store included 552 apps, including 135 free programs. Among them is Apple’s own Remote, which controls iTunes 7.7 remotely. Other free apps include an AIM instant-messaging client from AOL, Google Mobile, TypePad, and an iPhone version of the Twitterrific Twitter client.

iPhone tool developer Pinch Media reported that the most common prices on the iTunes store are 99 cents (85 applications) and $9.99 (82 applications).

For more details about the App Store, please visit Macworld’s First Look.

Stay tuned to Macworld for more information on the App Store throughout the day.

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