Dec. 16, 2010 at 2:23 PM ET
No more hunting online for Mac software or spending 30 seconds browsing the paltry selection at retail stores looking for it: the Mac App Store goes live Jan. 6, making it easier for Mac users to find and download free and paid apps, or programs, for their computers, with Apple hoping the store will have the same kind of success as its App Store for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
Unlike the existing App Store, accessed through iTunes, the Mac software version will be available to users of Apple's latest operating system, OS X Snow Leopard, and obtained as free download through an OS software update.
Users will be able to buy, download and install apps with one click and start using programs immediately, similar to the App Store for the iPhone.
"The App Store revolutionized mobile apps,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO in a press release Thursday. " 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."
In October, Jobs announced the creation of the Mac App Store. Apple said Thursday that the store will launch in 90 countries, and include apps for education, games, graphics and design, lifestyle, productivity and utilities. Mac users, of course, can still choose to buy software in retail outlets or online through other sources.
While just about every manufacturer and operating system seems to have an app store now, Apple's App Store led the way when it launched in the summer of 2008 for the iPhone. There are now more than 300,000 apps available.
And similar to Apple's arrangements with iPhone software developers, those who offer software for the Mac via the Mac App Store will get to keep 70 percent of the sales revenue.
As msnbc.com deputy technology and science editor Wilson Rothman noted recently, still to be worked out, another issue that the original App Store still battles: "By limiting what software gets into the store, and by managing which apps get the most promotion, Apple is bound to draw cries of censorship and manipulation, some which will likely be deserved."
For evidence of that acrimony, one need only see the battle being waged over one iPhone app that deals with heterosexual marriage.