We wondered last year if the iTunes iOS App Store's success would prompt Apple to do something similar for software on its iconic Mac computers, and recently we were proved right when Steve Jobs revealed the upcoming Mac Store. Apple's now revealed that the Mac App Store will open its doors to consumers on January 6th in numerous nations around the world.
The press release notes the store will feature "paid and free apps in categories like Education, Games, Graphics and Design, Lifestyle, Productivity and Utilities." This is interesting right off the bat—Apple's playing up to markets that it's traditionally strong in, like teaching and design, but it's also pushing gaming and lifestyle apps in the mix—highlighting how Macs are now part of many people's home life.
Steve Jobs himself is quoted as saying "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." Apple had already long been promoting applications for Macs via a menu beneath the Apple icon on every OS X computer, which takes you to Apple's website page that hosts apps of all flavors—paid and free. But this system was a simple list, and offered you no real "ecosystem" in the same way iTunes App Store does for iOS devices. The new Mac App Store will wrap the offered apps up in a better way, make it far easier to find relevant or "hot" apps, and everything is done automagically so "you can purchase, download and install apps in just one click and start using them immediately."
We also learn that updates will happen through the Mac App Store now, which extends the system-centric "software update" powers to potentially every bit of software on your Mac. And Apple's confirmed the usual 70%/30% vendor-Apple split of sales revenue will exist—vendors are not charged for free apps and do "not have to pay hosting, marketing or credit card fees." This is going to be a great motivator for some smaller software houses since it frees them up from infrastructure that may be troublesome, expensive or time-consuming, and it could easily spur some innovative new code to be written.
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