Apple enthusiasts are buzzing over rumors, reported by the blog Appletell, that the company could launch its highly anticipated Mac App Store as soon as next week. The online store would sell software for computers in the same user-friendly way that the iTunes App Store does for iPhones and iPads. Since the plan for the Mac App Store was announced in October, it has been the subject of intense anticipation and debate. What is Apple doing, and what might it mean for the company's fiercely loyal developers and customers?

The prices had better be right: For the store to truly work as a "one stop shop" for Mac software needs, it must have more competitive prices, says Mark at AppleBitch. Software at Apple's existing online and brick-and-mortar stores isn't cheap — the game Quake 4 costs $49.95 compared with $17.77 at Amazon. Apple has to do better at its App Store or it won't catch on.
"Mac App Store launches mid-December"

This could be bad for software developers: Apple won't sell software it deems obscene or offensive, nor will it offer beta versions, says Dan Frakes at Macworld. Some popular programs won't make the cut, so talented developers might have to choose between selling their wares elsewhere and censoring their work to meet Apple guidelines. That means there's a risk the store will lessen the diversity of software available, and "we'll all lose."
"The Mac App Store: The devil will be in the details"

Nah, it will be good for everyone: Sure, there may be some "loss of 'freedom,'" says Jean-Louis Gassée at Monday Note. But established developers will still be able to sell their software in stores and through other websites, while "small, independent app developers" who "have a terrible time getting shelf space in retail stores" will have a convenient, economical means to find customers. And, most importantly, the new Mac App Store will mean "easier everything" — "buying, installing, pdating" — for users.
Mac App Store: Soon but controversial"