Steve Jobs told USA Today that the Apple App Store will launch with "more than 500" applications Thursday night for the iPhone and iPod touch. Of these, 25% will be free and 90% (of those for sale) will cost $9.99 or less. "This is the biggest launch of my career," said Jobs. Analyst Tim Bajarin at Creative Strategies said, "When IBM introduced the PC, it was good, but it didn't take off until people started discovering the software." It's these apps then, he adds, that will "dramatically differentiates the iPhone" from Treos and BlackBerrys. Indeed, while consumers are focused on the launch of the iPhone 3G device, it's the App Store which has analysts in such a tizzy.

Update: The New York Times reports that 1/3 of all first-wave applications will be games. We also corrected the Bajarin misquote above.

[Thanks, Matt and Chris Z.]