Apple plans to launch its Mac App Store, which will offer full-screen apps for the company's PCs, Jan. 6. The storefront will operate in a manner similar to Apple's App Store for mobile devices, allowing users to purchase and download apps in one click.
While supported by Snow Leopard, the current version of Apple's Mac OS X, the Mac App Store will prove an integral part of the company's upcoming Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, reportedly due in summer 2011. In addition to the Mac App Store, Lion will include LaunchPad, an apps home-screen, and Mission Control, which unifies Expose, Dashboard, Spaces, and full-screen apps into a single viewpoint. In a research note following Lion's Oct. 20 unveiling, Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek termed the Mac App Store "the single biggest takeaway" from the event.
Apple almost certainly hopes that the Mac App Store will replicate the success of its mobile App Store, which features hundreds of thousands of apps from a galaxy of developers large and small. The App Store's size dwarfs similar offerings from Google and Microsoft, which have both made their own app ecosystems a focus of their mobile platforms.