Apple opens Mac App Store

Apple announced Thursday that the Mac App Store is now open for business.

The new online software retailer is patterned after the popular App Store for iPhones and other Apple mobile devices that allows users to download applications, games and other software tools online similar to the way they buy videos and music from iTunes. 

Some observers believe the move could revolutionize the sales and installation of software, moving it away from the current emphasis on retail stores and installation CDs.

The mobile App Store has allowed numerous developers to reach a much larger audience, most notably in the market for games. Sales of games on the App Store is beginning to rivals sales of traditional hand-held video games.

The store will initially offer over 1,000 applications with prices ranging from free to $80 for Apple's Aperture 3 photo editing software. Some Mac users will have to upgrade their version of Mac OS X to make use of the store.