Apple didn’t join BlackBerry, Samsung and others in producing a Super Bowl ad but the company did unveil something significant during the commercials, via a promo for Paramount’s upcoming ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ film.

As CNET first noted, the end of the commercial includes a vanity link for the app — appstore.com/startrekapp — rather than the usual long link for the download. That’s a hugely significant, if subtle, introduction with the potential to massively increase traffic to apps, as well as the promotional aspect for developers and publishers. Suddenly app links can be memorable, logical and more easily searchable for users.

Screen Shot 2013 02 03 at 5.15.50 PM 520x289 Apple quietly debuts App Store vanity URLs for developers with Star Trek Super Bowl ad

Apple detailed the feature in new documentation published last week which explains that short links can be created for company app pages, as well as landing pages for iOS and Mac apps. With some 800,000 apps in the App Store, giving users a dedicated URL is likely to massively increase the potential for downloads. Discovery has always been a key bug-bear for developers and users alike — even though the Google Play has more problems on that front — and app makers will keen improvement things with their own memorable URLs for their creations, which have rolled out already.

With this introduction, it is likely that we will see more App Store links being promoted in the media, and alongside Facebook Page URLs and other key links.

Importantly, Apple points out that generic phrases will be directly to search engines. That’s a sensible move since the opportunity to grab a ‘hot’ short URL could promote unhealthy squatting and competition. Vanity URLs had previously been available using iTunes links, but the new appstore.com/xx will replace that.

In case you were wondering, CNET reminds us that the much sought after appstore.com URL was given to Steve Jobs by Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff  back in 2008.

Headline image via glenbledsoe / Flickr, movie commercial still via CNET