Apple opened a dedicated online Apple Store for the Republic of Ireland late yesterday.

Until now, Southern Irish Apple customers made their purchases through Apple's UK store. The decision to create a dedicated store to serve their needs is seen as emblematic of Apple's drive to increase sales in the territory.

Mark Rogers, Apple's managing director for the UK and Ireland, told the Irish Times that "Apple was a bit guilty in the past of not focusing enough on Ireland".

Capital idea Apple employs 1,200 people at its Cork campus. Rogers said: "There is tremendous potential to grow in Ireland, and Dublin is a leader which people will look to follow in the rest of the country."

It's also good for Republic of Ireland consumers, as all prices on the Republic's site are in Irish pounds.

Southern Irish customers are also being offered the same inducement deals as Apple's UK customers. For example, the iMac software collection bundled with CD-RW models - which includes extra software such as Tomb Raider: Last Revelation, Sim City 3000, Escape from Monkey Island, StarWars Pit Droids, Route 66 Europe, Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia of Science v2 and Talk Now by EuroTalk - will be available in the Republic.