iPhone App Store's opening day
Even though the new iPhone doesn't go on sale until Friday, Apple's new store that sells programs for the device opened its doors this morning (screen shot above). The online store features more than 500 games, educational programs and productivity tools. Some say the App Store could be the bigger draw to the iPhone than its other major selling points, namely prices that are $200 lower than the previous iPhone and the ability to run on a faster cellphone network.
Steve Jobs told the New York Times that one-fourth of the programs are free, with many of the commercial ones going for $9.95. One-third of the applications are games.
For now, there are 25 music-related programs, such as AOL Radio and Drummer, which for $4.99 turns the iPhone into a drum set.
In the hour after the App Store's doors opened, Pandora, the Internet radio service, saw more than 7,000 downloads of its free software for the iPhone. It quickly became the ninth-most downloaded free application at the App Store, which put it, for now at least, in front of MySpace Mobile.
More music services for the iPhone are just a matter of time, predicted Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora, who spoke to us over lunch today. Tonight, he and his staff plan to fan out to Apple and AT&T stores in the San Francisco area to spread the word about Pandora with those waiting in line.
For a company like Pandora, with 14 million registered U.S. users (half of which are regular listeners), tapping into the iPhone's 6 million users is an opportunity to show the power of Internet radio, Westergren said. Pandora tailors the music it plays based on a person's interests.
Will people listen to regular commercial radio if they could listen to a station devoted to their favorite bands? Westergren thinks the answer is no.
"People will begin to think of Internet radio as something I can get in my car or jogging," he said. (See photo to the right.)
Pandora, which many people listen to on their computers, had already stepped into the mobile world. It is available via Sprint as a subscription at a monthly charge of $2.99, and through other AT&T phones at $8.99. But for iPhone users it is free via the App Store.
-- Michelle Quinn
Top image: A screenshot of Apple's App Store. Photo courtesy of Pandora