Steve Jobs has unveiled an app store for its Mac range of computers, as well as a new MacBook Air and a first glimpse at OS X Lion.
Apple has launched a dedicated application store for its Mac range of desktop and laptop computers.
The Mac App Store will be available to those Apple users running the most recent Snow Leopard operating system, and it goes live in 90 days’ time.
Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, said the launch of the Mac App Store was inspired by some of the best aspects of its iPad and iPhone.
“We looked at those products, and we wanted to take some of the features from the iPhone and iPad and bring them back to the Mac,” he told a press conference at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California.
Apple will start accepting Mac App Store submissions from developers in November, and the app store will sit separately on the desktop, and will not form part of the iTunes App Store suite.
Apple also used the event to give gadget fans a sneak peak at their forthcoming operating system, Mac OS 10.7, known as Lion.
The operating system, which will be released next summer, also features the Mac App Store, as well as a new “launchpad” to make it easier to find and purchase apps.
Jobs unveiled two new versions of its ultra-light, ultra-portable range. The larger version, with a 13.3in display, is lighter and thinner than its predecessor, and is made using the same unibody aluminium techniques as the rest of Apple’s MacBook range. A smaller MacBook Air, with an 11.6in screen, was also released.
Apple said that Mac sales accounted for a third of the company’s total revenue, while Mac computers now enjoy a 20pc share of the US computer market.
The launch of the Mac App Store was seen as a canny move on Apple’s part by many analysts, potentially opening another lucrative revenue stream to the company, which already enjoys huge success with its app store for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
However, some developers expressed concerns that the new app platform could stifle alternative Mac software business models.
“Are we going to have to jailbreak our apps?,” tweeted Jeff Davis, owner of New Look Media, an internet development company. “I wonder if all Mac apps will eventually have to go through the Mac App Store? Not on board with that.”
Other industry figures were more optimistic. “The Mac App Store will spawn a new breed of young, independent developers making $10k-50k on software,” tweeted Jay Nelson, an engineer and software consultant. “Disruptive to existing sales model.”