Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

Apple's iTunes Preview now offers browser-based App Store access

Apple this week expanded its browser-based iTunes Preview, now allowing users to view information on software within the App Store without ever launching iTunes.

Web site links to the iTunes Preview page can be obtained by choosing the "Copy Link" option within the iTunes application. The URL then takes users to an Apple-hosted site that provides a description, price and screenshots of any application on the App Store for the iPhone and iPod touch.

While the iTunes Preview pages do offer a great deal of information about specific applications on the App Store, browsing for new software is not as robust as it is in the standalone iTunes application, or even through iTunes Preview for the music store. For example, clicking on "View More by this Developer" attempts to open iTunes, rather than redirecting to another iTunes Preview Web page.

While links to other applications are available through the "Customers Also Bought" section, there is currently no way to search for specific applications within the browser-based preview.

Users can, however, view system requirements, customer reviews, software update details for specific applications, and are provided direct links to the developer's official Web site and support pages.

Last fall, Apple quietly introduced iTunes Preview, which gave customers the option to view content from the iTunes Music Store without ever launching the media player. Shortly after, Apple added the ability to preview songs with 30-second samples playing from within the browser.

Speculation that Apple could introduce a Web-based iTunes service became rampant in December after Apple purchased streaming music service Lala for $85 million. Apple is rumored to be working on a new usage model that would allow consumers to access and manage their iTunes purchases directly through the Internet, on any device, without downloading the content locally, or even running the iTunes software.