Mac App Store to open tomorrow

MacBook Air with Mac App StoreThe Mac App StoreApple’s attempt to make installing software on its computers just like installing software on its phones and tablets – will open tomorrow.

First announced at the company’s Back to the Mac media event last October, the Mac App Store aims to make buying Mac software much like buying an app for an iPhone or iPad – Simple, Web-based, one-click, and with Apple getting a chunk of the profits for its troubles.

The Apple Web has been abuzz with rumors of the opening of the site, but now The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple says he’s nailed down the opening time, just in case you want to stand in virtual line.

According to my sources, the Mac App Store will be available at 12:00 pm (noon) ET on Thursday. That puts it at about 9:00 am PT where Apple is headquartered in Cupertino, Calif.

Meanwhile, Markus Nigrin of Windmill Apps offers some insight into the Mac App Store from developers’ points of view, including a look at what some developers are experiencing in porting their applications. The piece also takes a look at their expectations for sales, with developers expecting a range of Mac App Store sales from 10 per cent to 200 per cent of their iOS App Store sales, depending on the application.

Nigrin’s report is also interesting in that it seems to suggest that many top iOS developers are looking for similar (ie: low) price points for their iOS versions. While this may seem to be selling at a loss and making up for it with volume, it may be worth noting the kind of volumes iOS developers are reporting. According to a MacRumors report, the makers of popular camera replacement application Camera+ raked in almost $55,000 on Christmas Day alone due to downloads of their application. And that’s after Apple’s 30 per cent is taken off the top.

With the App Store promising to make it easier for users to discover and acquire software for their Macs, it seems like a good deal for users. Clearly, it’s a good deal for Apple, which stands to make 30 per cent on every paid app downloaded for the trouble of providing the store. The discoverability factor bodes well for developers, but one has to wonder if it will put Mac developers into the same race-to-99-cents scenario that highlighted the early days of the iTunes App Store? And how will the rise of the Mac App Store impact the fortunes of developers who either choose not to participate in the App Store or whose offerings live outside the boundaries set by the rules and regulations of the App Store?

And how will the online shopping experience impact third-party Mac resellers who may today make a good portion of their profitability off recommending and selling software along with the hardware they sell?

These are questions we’ll be keeping an eye on as the Mac App Store goes live tomorrow.