The Mac App Store will open its virtual doors on Thursday, offering paid and free Mac applications in categories such Education, Games, Graphics & Design, Lifestyle, Productivity and Utilities.

Apple confirmed the launch of the Mac App Store back in December. It will initially be available in 90 countries.

"The App Store revolutionised mobile apps," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO said at the time. "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."

You can browse through the Mac App Store by category or use the search function. Again, like the iTunes App Store, you can read developer descriptions, as well as user reviews. Installing apps is a one-step process, according to Apple - simply enter your password and the app will appear on your dock within seconds.

You will be able to install app updates one at a time or all at once. Also, once you have bought an app, you can re-download it onto other Macs, meaning that you won't have to fork out for a second download if you upgrade your system, for example.

iWork '11 is also expected to be released tomorrow, to coincide with the launch of the Mac App Store.