When Apple puts the iPhone 3G on sale tomorrow it will simultaneously open its online App Store, which is akin to Apples iTunes Store for music. The App Store will sell mobile applications such as games, reference guides and other software. For Apple, the move represents an ambitious effort to turn the iPhone into more of a personal computer.
"There's been nothing on a mobile phone a fraction as good as what's on PCs," Apple CEO Steve Jobs told The Wall Street Journal. He also said that the iPhone represents a rare launch of a new computing platform.
Of course, rivals such as Microsoft take umbrage to a remark like that. Microsoft says it has developers who have created more than 18,000 applications for handsets using Windows Mobile operating systems. Still, the level of interest in making software for the iPhone is what Gartner Group's Ken Dulaney characterizes as "white hot." A handful of startups have entered the mobile market with the purpose of making applications for the iPhone, and we could see more.
In an interview with The New York Times, Jobs said the App Store will initially feature more than 500 applications including educational programs, mobile commerce and business productivity tools, with games representing about a third of the first-wave apps. According to Jobs, 25 percent of the first 500 applications at the store will be free, with roughly 90 percent of the premium applications priced at $9.99 or less. Jobs insists Apple will not rely on the App Store as a source of significant revenue, in much the same way iTunes music sales have contributed little to the firm's bottom line: "We are not trying to be business partners," he said. The goal is to "sell more iPhones."
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