Apple is looking to extend the wild success of the iOS App Store with one specifically built for Mac OS X applications.
The Mac App store will be a separate application that resembles iTunes in many ways, but functionally it will be similar to the App Store on iOS; users will browse the store for Mac applications, which can be free or paid, pay for them using their iTunes account, and the application will then be downloaded and automatically added to the Dock.
Applications sold through the Mac App Store will also function similar in some ways to iPad applications; they will automatically save configuration and user information, and will save state and “pause” when closed. Users can then reopen the application at a later time and pick up where they left off.
But there are some restrictions that may exclude certain existing Mac applications from appearing in the App Store; Apps will not be able to do some of the same things they can do on Macs right now, for instance they can’t include kernel extensions, they can’t make use of undocumented APIs,
and according to Adium lead developer Zac West, they can’t offer plugin functionality that extends the application.. According to guidelines published by Apple (available on the developer site only for now), plugins and extensions and are allowed.
Why Apple chose to limit the official App Store like this is puzzling since applications sold outside the App Store won’t be subject to these restrictions.
Developers will submit applications to Apple for approval and inclusion in the Mac App Store, and they will receive the same 70/30 revenue split they get for iPad and iPhone apps.
The Mac App Store will be available on Snow Leopard starting in January and will be built in to 10.7 “Lion” as well.
While some have been concerned that Apple would “close” the Mac and force developers and users to do business through the Mac App Store exclusively, Jobs has said repeatedly that this is not the case.