Apple seems set to launch the App Store - the central shopfront for iPhone (and iPod touch applications) by 5pm on Thursday, a report claims.

Citing sources, music industry analysts MusicAlly today told clients Apple will debut the App Store in advance of the US/UK release of the iPhone 3G.

"It makes sense though, given that the new iPhone is going on sale in New Zealand at 12.01am local time on Friday - which is 1pm GMT tomorrow," the analysts observed.

News of the introduction of the App Store also implies Apple will deliver the new version of iTunes, version 7.7, which is also required for use of the store and the iPhone 3G.

Even better, the news also implies the imminent release of iPhone Software 2.0 for current iPhone users, though Music Ally had no advice as to when that software may debut.