Apple has sent word that the Mac App Store will officially open for business on Thursday 6 January 2011.

The Mac App Store will be available in 90 countries at launch and will feature paid and free Mac applications, similar to the Apple iTunes App Store, in categories such Education, Games, Graphics & Design, Lifestyle, Productivity and Utilities.

"The App Store revolutionised mobile apps," said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. "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."

Apple adds that the Mac App Store enables users to browse new and noteworthy applications, find out what’s hot, view staff favourites, search categories and read customer ratings and reviews.

Apple

"Like on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, you can purchase, download and install apps in just one click and start using them immediately, Apple notes. "Purchased apps can run on all of your personal Macs and updates are delivered directly through the Mac App Store so it’s easy to keep all of your apps up to date."

The Mac App Store is available to all Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard users as a free download through Software Update.