Happy New Year from Apple: Mac App Store to debut Jan. 6

by Howard Wolinsky

The much anticipated Mac App Store will open Jan. 6, Apple announced today. That’s somewhat ahead of the scheduled 90-day opening promised back on Oct. 21.

Apple (AAPL) CEO and founder Steve Jobs said: “The App Store revolutionized mobile apps. We hope to do the same for PC apps with the Mac App Store by making, finding and buying PC apps easy and fun. We can’t wait to get started on Jan. 6.”

The Mac App Store enables users to browse new apps, discover what’s “hot,” view staff favorites, search through categories, such as education, productivity, graphics and design, lifestyle and games, and look at customer ratings and reviews. The store will open in 90 countries at launch.

As with the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, Mac PC users will be able to purchase, download and install apps with a click and start using them right away. The approach makes it easy to get updates. The Mac App Store will be available to Mac OS X Snow Leopard users as a free download through Software Update.

Apple did not disclose how many apps will be available initially.

Nicholas Deleon in CrunchGear said back in October: “Is there really any doubt the Mac App Store will be anything other than a huge hit when it debuts? Seven billion downloads on the current App Store would suggest that Apple knows what it’s doing (and that people really love to slingshot cartoon birds into buildings).”

Apple said developers set the price for their apps (keeping 70 percent of revenue), are not charged for free apps and do not have to pay hosting, marketing or credit card fees. More information for developers is available at developer.apple.com/programs/mac.

Deleon noted the closed nature of the platform: “Only with Apple’s approval (not to mention its 30 percent cut of the action) can your App find a home on the App Store.”