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Apple Mac App Store to open virtual doors on 6 January

The much anticipated Mac App Store will open for business on 6 January. The Mac App Store will let users download and update apps on their Macs, just like you can on the iPhone.

The much anticipated Mac App Store will open for business on 6 January.

Announced back in October alongside Apple's OS X Lion operating system, the idea is basically to transfer the success of the App Store on devices such as the iPhone and iPad to the OS X platform.

Mac apps will basically be little bits of software for your Mac that you can download quickly and update using the Mac App Store software.

Macs aren't a closed system like iOS devices, and you can already install any Mac-compatible software you wish, but the idea is to build a central repository for interesting and popular programs. The Mac App Store will be available in 90 countries.

The price developers pay for getting their apps shown off in a high-profile ecosystem is that Apple takes 30 per cent of each sale, just like in the iOS App Store. Apps will also be subject to the notorious Apple approval process.

When it launches on 6 January, the Mac App Store will be available to Mac OS X Snow Leopard users as a free download through a software update.

Interestingly, it looks like Mac Cydia -- the entirely unofficial Mac App store for jailbreak apps -- will be up and running before Apple's official store goes live. Mac Cydia could prove a helpful repository for those apps that don't make it past the approval process.

What do you think, Apple fans? Is this a helpful idea, or an expensive one? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook wall.