Apple plans to launch its Mac App Store, which will offer full-screen apps for the company's PCs, Jan. 6. The storefront will operate in a manner similar to Apple's App Store for mobile devices, allowing users to purchase and download apps in one click.
While supported by Snow Leopard, the current version of Apple's Mac OS X, the Mac App Store will prove an integral part of the company's upcoming Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, reportedly due in summer 2011. In addition to the Mac App Store, Lion will include LaunchPad, an apps home-screen, and Mission Control, which unifies Expose, Dashboard, Spaces, and full-screen apps into a single viewpoint. In a research note following Lion's Oct. 20 unveiling, Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek termed the Mac App Store "the single biggest takeaway" from the event.
Apple almost certainly hopes that the Mac App Store will replicate the success of its mobile App Store, which features hundreds of thousands of apps from a galaxy of developers large and small. The App Store's size dwarfs similar offerings from Google and Microsoft, which have both made their own app ecosystems a focus of their mobile platforms.
"The App Store revolutionized mobile apps," Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrote in a Dec. 16 statement posted on his company's corporate Website. "We hope to do the same for PC apps with the Mac App Store by making finding and buying PC apps easy and fun."
Mac App Store will be available for free via Software Update. Apple is offering third-party developers 70 percent of any app sales revenue, along with free hosting, in a bid to attract them to the platform.
Previous rumors had suggested that Apple would launch the Mac App Store Dec. 13, along with an iOS 4.3 update with subscription-billion APIs. However, that date came and went with no word from Apple. In addition, the theorizing among tech blogs was that Apple and News Corp. would launch an iPad-only newspaper, The Daily, sometime in that mid-December timeframe.
Apple has already posted Mac app guidelines on its developer Website, including some restrictions.
"Your Website is the best place to provide demos, trial versions or betas of your software for customers to explore," reads one portion of those guidelines. "The apps you submit to be reviewed for the Mac App Store should be fully functional, retail versions of your apps."