For the first time, Apple has released an Apple Store app optimised for the iPad, via TechCrunch.  The app uses the now-standard iOS 7 colour scheme and design elements, focusing on white space and text. The app is a separate download to the iPhone app, but offers all the same functionality you would expect, although some of the location-based features for retail are absent due to the different use cases of the devices.

Imagery is the focus — Apple is trading heavily on its beautiful Retina-display equipped iPads to show of its store products.

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A feature exclusive to the iPad version of the Apple Store app is a section called Now Trending. It shows what items are currently in demand at the store, in a beautiful grid, again focused on imagery. The exact ranking is unclear, but it seems to consist of a combination of search volume and sales.

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There are some nice visual tricks that make the app really shine. When viewing categories, swiping through images updates not only the active product, but also all the other products currently visible on the screen. TechCrunch demonstrates this cool effect with an example search for headphones, shown above.

From the App Store description, Apple describes the app as a way to “shop the Apple Online Store like never before”.

An app designed just for iPad that lets you shop the Apple Online Store like never before. Explore beautiful, high resolution image galleries, discover the latest products and accessories, and check out with a few taps.

Here’s just some of what you can do with Apple Store for iPad:

– See the latest trending products that others are buying, sharing, and reviewing.
– Use pinch gestures to zoom, browse and compare.
– Personalize an iPad or an iPod with free engraving, and get signature gift wrap.
– Buy products on the go and pick them up at your favorite Apple Retail Store, or have them shipped to your door.
– Find an Apple Retail Store near you and view hours , get directions, check product availability, make Genius Bar reservations, or sign up for workshops and events.
– Explore Apple Retail Stores around the world and mark stores as favorites.

The app is free and can be downloaded here from the App Store.