Just a few months after introducing its browser-based iTunes Preview pages for music, Apple has expanded the feature to include items from the App Store.
Now, when a user clicks an iTunes link for an iPhone or iPod Touch app, they're taken to a page with a similar layout to what they'd see when browsing the iTunes Store in Apple's iTunes software. But instead, it's in their browser. This allows users who don't have iTunes installed to see more information about an app without having the software installed. That said, preview pages attempt to launch iTunes each time you load them.
As mentioned in previous coverage, there are a few shortcomings to these preview pages compared to the sales pages in iTunes proper. These include only being able to see a handful of user reviews and other purchases by customers. Users are also unable to make a purchase, add the app to a wish list, and share it on Twitter or Facebook.
Despite these limitations, the iTunes Preview program is a strong hint that Apple is on its way towards taking its iTunes Store business outside of conventional software and onto the Web. Though Apple has not yet extended the preview program out to all its content, including movies, TV shows, podcasts, and audiobooks.