IPhone App Store and Web apps a hit with users

iPhone 2.0 make waves with thousands of downloadable applications

Despite complaints from some users about iPhone 3G wireless connections, Apple continues to earn praise for its novel and expanding App Store, where consumers and business users alike can download applications for free or a small fee.

Nearly every day, Apple adds new applications to its App Store that can be downloaded for iPhone 2.0. Many are business-related products such as Linked In, a free program that connects the iPhone to an online social network for professionals. It was made available this week for download in the AppStore.

There are about 2,500 applications in the App Store directory, which can be reached by users with an iTunes account. Apple started with more than 550 applications at the launch of iPhone 3G and 2.0 on July 11. Recent additions include finance and productivity tools, but also more games, as well as two programs devoted to how to tie a tie, including diagrams, and two versions of the Bible.

Ken Dulaney, a Gartner analyst who has raised concerns about insufficient security in iPhone 2.0 for wide usage in large businesses, praised the App Store concept even though he has experienced dropped and weak signals with his iPhone 3G.

"App Store is proving to be a huge success," he said in an e-mail. Searching through all those apps, however, is too confusing, he said.

Glenn Edens, an independent smart phone consultant, said developer interest is high for building App Store applications and the rate of new submissions has not slowed, despite some concerns about wireless connections. "The 3G issues are isolated," he said in an e-mail. "I don't think any developer is worried about the 3G issues and everyone just assumes it will be fixed."

The App Store is "certainly a hit" with consumers, Edens added, noting that it took a long time for Microsoft Windows Mobile and Nokia Symbian to reach 2,500 applications. "I would characterize this as the most successful mobile applications launch in the history of mankind," he said.

Part of the confusion Dulaney saw with finding apps in App Store relates to the various ways third parties have linked their software to iPhone. In addition to App Store, Apple includes a section on its Web site about Web apps , with a listing of more than 600 applications that users can reach over the Web from one click of an icon on the iPhone home screen.

Most of the functioning software for Web apps does not reside on the iPhone, and in some cases is quite complex. HyperOffice , which is online collaboration software for businesses, allows users to manage and share documents with online storage, version control and more features, according to a statement from HyperOffice which announced the iPhone capability this week.

A spokesman said HyperOffice starts at US$7.95 per user per month for five users, but the costs vary depending on the functions that are used.

In addition to Apple's App Store and Web apps, some third parties are linking to iPhone as they would with other handheld devices.

This week, Yahoo announced it had provided an optimized Web site for iPhone users seeking Yahoo search functions .

Called Yahoo Search for iPhone, a Yahoo developer said it includes search assisr functions to shortcut searches, but also includes links for weather, movie showtimes and breaking news. A Yahoo spokesman said that Yahoo tries to optimize its site for all types of handhelds and devices.

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Matt Hamblen

Computerworld
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