A day before the launch of its iPhone 3G and iPhone 2.0 software Apple has opened its iPhone AppStore, selling 500 applications for the touchscreen smartphone. Applications range from games to astronomy packages, British Airways flight plans, social-networking tools and language guides.

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You can get into the AppStore via this back-door entry point.

When you upgrade to iTunes 7.7 you gain entry to the AppStore. There are some subtle differences to the software. The Games menu in the left-hand bar has been removed to be replaced with the word, 'Applications'.

Click on applications, and you'll be led to a page containing any games you may already have, with a link at the lower right which leads you to an area promising 'more applications'. Click there and you are led to the store.

We haven't yet had the opportunity to get deeply into the applications available, but here's some names: Facebook, Bejeweled 2, AIM, Salesforce Mobile, TypePad, Remote, MySpace Mobile, MotoRacer, the utterly fabulous Moo Cow Music's Band application, Twitterific, Shazam, Starmap planetarium, Texas Hold'em and many, many more.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs told USA Today: "The reaction has been so strong. So many developers responded." App Store launches with 500 applications now - though Jobs had originally targeted just 200, prompting the Apple co-founder to state: "This is the biggest launch of my career."

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