Earlier today, Apple announced the long awaited arrival of the Mac App Store. The new app store already has over 1,000 free and paid apps and is available as part of Mac OS X 10.6.6 which was also released today and is available via the Software Update utility.
“With more than 1,000 apps, the Mac App Store is off to a great start,” Steve Jobs said in a press release. “We think users are going to love this innovative new way to discover and buy their favorite apps.”
Much like the iTunes App Store, the Mac App Store is broken out into categories such as Education and Games and includes staff favorites, top charts for paid and free apps, and sections for new and noteworthy apps.
Naturally, software from Apple is part of the initial offering of 1,000 apps and the pricing, while certainly reasonable, should allay some developer fears that a Mac App Store would create a race to the bottom in terms of pricing. iLife '11 apps such as iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand are available as individual downloads for $14.99, a welcome offering for people with an affinity for one of Apple's content creation apps but who don't necessarily need the entire iLife bundle. iWork, Apple's suite of productivity software, is also available on an app by app basis, with Pages, Keynote, and Numbers each available for $19.99. Aperture, meanwhile, has a loftier pricetag of $79.99.
Again, while some developers are worried over app store pricing, many are excited at the prospects of having their apps easily accessible by an installed base of millions of Mac users. And though there are issues concerning developer access to user data and whether or not certain Mac titles meet Apple's Mac App Store guidelines, the ability for users to peruse thousands of Mac apps in one place should prove to be a boon for both developers and users.