A first peek inside the iPhone App Store

July 10, 2008, 3:29 PM UTC

Apple’s App Store is open for business, and there’s a lot to see.

I count nearly 27 pages of programs, with 21 applications per page, for a grand total of 551 apps designed for the iPhone or the iPod touch.

Browsing this rich library of diversions, the first thing that strikes you is how many of them are games.

In Apple’s taxonomy, 10 pages of apps — 210 programs in all — are categorized as “Entertainment.” Not all of these are games, however. There are a lot of books in there. Charles Dickens and Edgar Rice Burroughs are heavily represented, as are Austen, Bronte, Conan Doyle, Conrad, Defoe, Dostoevsky, Hardy, Kipling, Maugham, Swift, Verne, Wharton, Wolfe, and “Leo” (sic) Tolstoy. There’s even a copy of Descartes’ A Discourse on Reason. That’s Entertainment?

The Bible, we’re happy to report, is not classified as Entertainment, although we’re not sure Reference is quite the right place for it.

There are 18 categories of programs in all, from Business to Weather. None is as heavily populated as Games or Entertainment. There are two and a half pages of Productivity tools (from Abacus to ZIPcodes), a page and a half of Business programs, a little over a page of Finance tools, and nearly five pages of Utilities.

There’s only a page and a half of Social Networking programs, but they look pretty interesting — especially the ones like Whrrl that take advantage of GPS to show your current location and that of your friends.

Travel is dominated by language programs, Sports by fitness and Golf tools.

Apple (AAPL) also sorts programs by What’s New, What’s Hot and Staff Favorites. The latter features Critter Crunch, iZen Garden and Chimps Ahoy.

Have you got a favorite or spotted a dog? Let us know in the comment stream.