Apple logo SF storeApple is opening the Mac App Store, the online download store that will provide apps for personal computers that use Mac OS X, on January 6, 2011, as expected. The Mac App Store will be much like the company’s current mobile App Store, which offers free and paid apps for mobile devices such as the iPhone and the iPad.

What will be different, though, is that popular social gaming network Game Center will not be a part of the Mac App Store, nor will it support in-app purchases. In-app purchasing means that developers can use the so-called ‘freemium’ model, where an app is initially offered for free and users can buy more features for it later. The 70-30 split is still intact, meaning that developers keep 70% of sales revenue for paid apps.

The mobile version of the App Store has proven to be a very successful distribution channel in terms of providing free and paid apps to pundits the world over. CEO Steve Jobs said in a press release that the company is looking to do the same for desktop apps: “We can’t wait to get started on January 6”, Jobs said.

The apps purchased via the Mac App Store will update automatically and users are free to install the apps on any and all Macs they own. The Mac App Store will be available in 90 countries at launch as a free download through Apple’s Software Update function.

[Photo credit: JP Manninen]