Mac App Store opens its doors

Apple was never going to keep quiet with the rest of the tech world focusing on announcements from CES, and news duly arrived today that the Mac App Store had launched with, Apple claims, over 1,000 free and paid-for apps available.To access the store, you'll need to update Snow Leopard to version 10.

Apple was never going to keep quiet with the rest of the tech world focusing on announcements from CES, and news duly arrived today that the Mac App Store had launched with, Apple claims, over 1,000 free and paid-for apps available.

To access the store, you'll need to update Snow Leopard to version 10.6.6, whereupon an App Store item appears on the Apple menu. Select it and log in with your iTunes account details and you're away.

The layout is familiar iTunes fare with pages presenting featured apps, top charts, apps by category, a list of your purchases and any available updates to purchased apps. As with the iPhone and iPad stores, there are customer reviews and ratings; when you select an app, it downloads, installs and appears in the Dock.

Naturally Apple's own apps appear prominently: iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand apps (from Apple's iLife '11 suite) are available for £8.99 each; Pages, Keynote and Numbers (from iWork) cost £11.99 each. Aperture 3, Apple's photo editing/management apps, costs £44.99.

Third-party apps include the popular Evernote (free), Autodesk SketchBook Pro (£17.99), Twitter (free) and, of course, Angry Birds (£2.99).

Mac OS X developers get the same deal as their iOS brethren: 70 percent of the revenue, paid monthly, with no hosting, marketing or credit card fees. Presumably Apple will excercise the same tight control over what's permitted on the Mac App Store as it does with mobile apps.

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