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Apple pulls back the curtain on the iPhone App Store

Early this morning the emails started rolling in from my more ingenious friends who had downloaded iTunes 7.7 and found that by searching for certain terms like ‘AOL’ you could get iPhone apps in the search results. Click on one of those apps and then you could then use the breadcrumb trail to back into the App Store. By this afternoon the App Store appeared in the side nav and it is now open to the public and I think it is safe to guess that we will see the 2.0 software update tomorrow to coincide with the 3G launch. This limbo right now is strange because right you can buy games and applications you can’t use. So a quick review of the app’s listed in the store did reveal some really interest apps that I think could have a lot of potential:

Loopt – Your social compass
The idea behind Loopt is that it turns your phone into what they are calling a ‘social compass’. The most interesting features are that iit has maps that show where your friends are right now in relationship to you and you can see where they have been and places that they recommend. I love this because it takes social networking into the real world and gives it a context and usefulness it hadn’t seen before.

Apple Remote
You knew that Apple had to have an application in the mix for the launch and their contribution was Remote. it is an application that will let you control your MacTV which is nice for anyone who has ever had to use their little white remote stick. For me it isn’t that the application is that incredible as much as it is seeing that the phone can used in this way to control other devices because I think they could lead to some very cool interactive and outdoor installations.

Checkout SmartShop
This is the start of a very cool idea. The application lets you type in a UPC code for any product and it will return reviews, pricing, online store pricing and store in the area that carry the product. If they can get camera integration so can just photography the UPC it could be a really amazing tool.

Obviously without having the benefit of being able to run these apps and the 20 others I have in iTunes application folder you can’t get a real sense for them but there is a lot of potential for this just being the first step. Right now my only gripe is how uneven the pricing is as there are some amazing applications that are free and thenI come across one that is an interactive guide to the NYC subways system I could really use that is $15. It is just $15 but it seems steep for a map. I am sure time and demand will help pull this into line but we will see.


  1. Sol

    July 21, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    You may be interested in our free “Save Benjis” price comparison application for iPhone which allows you to not only find items by UPC code, but also by ISBN book numbers, by EAN codes, by product part numbers, by product name and a whole lot more. We have over 15 million products in our database. Our store features prices from over 1000 vendors.

    Author of Save Benjis

  2. Stephen Gates

    July 22, 2008 at 10:15 am

    I have test it out and I omitted it form the list because I think it is a great start but the fact that you have to stand in the middle of the store, wrestle the packaging to the right and angle and manually enter the bar code kept it from being a real standout. As many of the comments in the App Store have said – if this can integrate the camerca feature so you can just take a photo of the bar code then it will be something amazing.

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