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Apple opens doors to new App Store for Mac

The new store – the equivalent of the iTunes store, but for Mac software – may help Apple make further dents in the PC market.

The new Mac App Store can be downloaded as part of a traditional software upgrade for users of the Snow Leopard (10.6) Mac operating system.
The new Mac App Store can be downloaded as part of a traditional software upgrade for users of the Snow Leopard (10.6) Mac operating system.

APPLE HAS TODAY unveiled its latest weapon in its war on PCs, revealing a new ‘App Store’ for Mac users.

The new store – which operates similarly to the iTunes store for music, but allowing users to download custom-built programs for the Mac’s operating system – opened overnight and includes over 1,000 applications which can be downloaded directly to a user’s computer, in some cases for free.

As with the similar App Store on the iPhone platform, users will be prompted when updates are available to software they have previously bought.

“With more than 1,000 apps, the Mac App Store is off to a great start,” Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said in a statement. “We think users are going to love this innovative new way to discover and buy their favorite apps.”

The store includes software packages previously available as add-on purchases such as the iWork office suit, but also includes other bespoke applications like an official Twitter app for Mac.

Though available to users worldwide, the store – at present – is only available to Mac owners using the most recent version of the Mac operating system, version 10.6 (‘Snow Leopard’), via a software update.

The bulk of computer software generally produced runs exclusively on Windows machines only, and the collection of software for Mac machines in a single marketplace is thought to be a key Apple tactic in gaining a larger share of the PC market.

The centralised distribution model may also mean software becoming cheaper, with software developers able to sell through Apple’s centralised marketplace instead of having to develop their own sales platforms.

It is reported on Wired.com, meanwhile, that retail staff at Apple’s North American stores have been told they cannot book annual leave for the end of January and early February – a usual sign of an impending major Apple product launch.

Shares in Apple are up by 47 US cents, to $334.47, in early trading today.

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Gavan Reilly

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