Today’s big announcement from Apple had to do with the new iPod’s video capabilities, but the company has also made a small tweak that could be incredibly useful to those trying to earn revenue from iPhone apps. Apple is launching a new section in the iTunes store that highlights paid apps.

According to TechCrunch:

“Since launching, applications in the “Top Apps” lists on iTunes have done very
well — if you can make it to the top 50 or the top 10, you can expect
to see your sales figures get a very significant boost. Unfortunately,
up until now the store has done a poor job helping high quality and
more expensive apps get much exposure.”

Now, the iTunes store has a section called “Top Grossing,” that ranks the apps bringing in the most bank from the iPhone. The new shift is going to be great for businesses gong beyond the free app model.

Just this week a survey of 1200 iPhone users by found that the average iPhone owners spends $80 on apps a year. The numbers might be skewed because they were collected from AppsFire users who have already demonstrated an interest in paid apps, but show that smartphone users are more than willing to part with their dollars in the mobile space.

But even as consumers are willing to pay for apps, what they’ll pay for is not very diverse. Of all the 1200 customers surveyed by AppsFire, they only had about 15,000 unique apps on their iPhones.

That’s why making it to a “Top Apps” list in the iTunes store is so good for business. According to mobile ad network AdMob, 60% of iPhone users discover apps when browsing
through the app store rankings. That means that the higher ranked an app is, the more likely it is that new customers will fork over for it.

The new “Top Grossing” section shows apps that actually bring in dollars, whereas before the Top Apps list was populated by inexpensive apps that are often downloaded and forgotten.

Already, a difference can be seen. While T-Pain’s new $2.99 autotune app is on the top of the list (which Patricio Robles wrote about for us here), two expensive navigational systems are on the new list. TomTom U.S. & Canada comes in fourth for $99.99, while MobileNavigator North America is ninth for $89.99.

Image: Dilbert