Mac App Store launching January 6

Downloading software programs for your Mac computer is about to get as easy as installing Angry Birds on your iPhone, as a completely functional “Mac App Store” is said to launch on January 6.

That would put it right in time for Apple’s annual Macworld conference in San Francisco, where apps are sure to take center stage in one of the biggest years for Apple in its corporate history.

Here’s what Steve Jobs had to say in the official announcement of the Mac App Store: “The App Store revolutionized mobile apps. 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.”

The Mac App Store was first announced in October, and at the time was promised to launch within 90 days. A January 6 release date will just barely make that cutoff point.

Mac owners will be able to sort through a centralized location for software from all sorts of publishers, and will have the option to browse through categories such as Graphics & Design, Utilities, Productivity, Lifestyle, and Education.

The new digital download storefront will be available in more than 90 countries on day one, though it’s unknown exactly how many apps will be available or how many big-name software companies have signed on. After all, Apple gets a cut of every app sold on the store, but is it more or less than the cut taken by retailers and other third-party online marketplaces?

There’s a much bigger world out there for the distribution of computer software, so the fate of the Mac App Store is not a guaranteed positive. Nevertheless, users will no doubt find convenience in having an outlet for downloadable content they know has been vetted and approved by Apple.