What is the difference between these two apps and can you create a unique page layout for the same objects for each of these two apps.
Yes - you can edit the page layout for the different apps. If you want the Accounts page to look different when using Sales compared to using Sales Console, you can just edit the page and assign it to just the Sales app for the Account object. This option is available using Activation button on the top right of the edit page.
The difference from my understanding is simply down to the navigation features. In the sales app, while you are viewing accounts, you can click the link on a related contact and navigate to the contacts tabs to view that contact. Subsequently, the account tab will close. However, in the sales console app, if you are on accounts and click on a related contact, then a sub tab opens up below the accounts tab so that you can switch between the two objects with ease. I guess the difference comes down to preference on whether you want to keep tabs open while navigating for quick referencing.
If there is any more notable differences that I have missed please add.