Getting an Early Look at the App Store

The iTunes App Store isn’t quite officially open for business, but you can get an advanced look with a small bit of effort. Here’s how to do it:

—Open iTunes and search for any keyword that will bring up an app, say “aol” or “twitterific.” —At the top of the search results page, you’ll be invited to download iTunes 7.7. Do it. —After installing the new iTunes, click on the word “Applications” at the top of the Application panel that appears as part of your search results. —The first series of screens showing all available apps and their prices will appear.

Apple says there are about 500 apps available at launch, although there are nowhere near that many up yet. About a quarter of the apps will be free, Apple says.

The apps available now are a very mixed bag from an AIM instant messaging client to software that gives access to analytics on Oracle databases to games such as SEGA’s super Monkey Ball. A fair number of free “apps” appear to be the text of books in the public domain. It’s all a bit confusing because the apps don;t seem to be presented in any particular order and some appear in the list more than once.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.