Apple announced Thursday that the Mac App Store will officially launch on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011. The Mac App Store, like its iOS equivalent, will be used to sell and distribute applications, only for OS X instead of for Apple’s portables. The newly-announced date falls well within Steve Jobs’ stated release timeframe of 90 days, which he announced at Apple’s Back to the Mac event in October.
In the press release, Jobs notes that he hopes the Mac App Store will do for OS X software what the App Store did for mobile apps:
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. We can’t wait to get started on January 6.
The official announcement goes on to briefly describe how the Mac App Store will work. New and noteworthy apps, staff favorites, category searching and customer reviews and ratings will all make the jump from the iOS version of the software marketplace. Apps can also be downloaded and installed in one click, and once you’ve bought an app, you can download and install it on any other Mac associated with your iTunes store account. Updates for software purchased through the Mac App Store are delivered directly through it, too.
Some things the Mac App Store will be missing from its iOS counterpart include in-app purchases and trial versions of software with limited content or gameplay. It’s unclear whether or not Apple plans to implement any of these things down the road.
When it does arrive, users won’t even have to go to Apple’s site to grab the download, since it’s being pushed out to all Snow Leopard users via Software Update as a free download. Apple clearly doesn’t want to risk anyone missing this boat.
Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):