A faux iTunes App Store has appeared Internet--and it's a fairly good facsimile of the original. The fake store was created by an ingenious developer, who has made the content of the real iTunes App Store available via any platform's web browser.
The site, app-store.appspot.com, is up and running at press time, but w're wondering how long that might last.
According to a post on ReadWriteWeb: "you can quickly browse for applications, read reviews, and see screenshots from any computer that has access to the Internet without ever having to open iTunes." The site is useful, but isn't "sanctioned by Apple, and runs on Google's App Engine".
Another site, AppBeacon, offers similar functionality. A comment left on the post above by Justin Noel of AppBeacon.com states: "There are many sites, including ours, that scrape content from the App Store and present it to our users. I don't believe Apple minds, as they actually approve us for the affiliate program manually. If they had a problem with us, then they would just refuse to let us get paid." Justin then points out that AppSpot is not using the iTunes affiliate program.
Regardless of the status of AppSpot.com in the iTunes affiliate program, the site is useful in lieu of the iTunes application. However, you will still need iTunes at some point to install any applications that you purchase, etc. Both AppSpot.com and AppBeacon.com are worth a look, especially if you are on an OS that doesn't run iTunes or want something less time consuming and faster than the iTunes application for browsing through the content of the iTunes App Store. AppBeacon has one advantage: an integrated search feature, which AppSpot lacks.
It remains to be seen what if any action Apple legal might take once they are aware of this duplication of the iTunes App Store