Apple announced yesterday that it is now accepting submissions for the upcoming Mac App Store. Revealed in October, the Mac version will operate much like the iOS App Store, and is set to launch sometime in January 2011 if Apple keeps to its schedule.
At the Oct. 20 “Back to the Mac” event, the Mac App Store was announced alongside the next iteration of OS X, dubbed Lion (10.7). Apple then revealed that users wouldn’t have to wait until Lion’s summer release window to get their hands on the new distribution channel. Instead, the Mac App Store would be available for OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard within 90 days.
Apple would need to start looking at submissions now in order to have a decent stable of software available for users when the App Store launches. Remember that it also released the iPhone OS 2.0 SDK to developers months ahead of time to prepare for its June 2008 release. This time, Apple should have a head start since there’s already a healthy and active community of Mac developers to draw from.
Guidelines for inclusion (developer account required) in the Mac App Store mirror closely those for the iOS App Store, and have been criticized by some. Then there are new problems related to brand identity protection, as Todd Ditchendorf, creator of the popular Mac site-specific browser app, Fluid, found out. He found that his app’s name had already been registered when he went to sign up as a Mac App Store dev. Considering that the Mac already boasts a large library of software, this probably won’t be an isolated incident.
At least one thing has definitely changed for the better, though. The price of the Mac developer program is now only $99 per year, like its iOS sibling. Before the introduction of the App Store, it used to start at $499 and go up to $3,000 for a premier account. Apple is clearly hoping to mirror the success of the iOS App Store as closely as possible.
Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):