Apple is planning a January 6 opening for an online shop stocked with software applications that add entertaining or functional features to the firm's Macintosh computers.

The Mac App Store will launch in 90 countries and offer free and paid mini-programs in categories including games, lifestyle, education, and productivity, the iconic California company announced Thursday.

"The App Store revolutionized mobile apps," said Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, referring to the shop specializing in software programs for iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices.

"We hope to do the same for PC (personal computer) apps with the Mac App Store by making finding and buying PC apps easy and fun."

The shop will be available on Macintosh computers with Snow Leopard operating systems that will receive a free software update, according to Apple.

Developers will get to set the prices for applications and keep 70 percent of the revenue, with the rest going to Apple.

Earlier this month, Google opened an online shop stocked with applications tailored for its increasingly popular Chrome Web browsing software.

Chrome Web Store was intended to be a spot for "apps" to be discovered.

The shop was only available in the United States but would spread internationally, complete with payment platforms in local currencies, early next year, according to Google.

Applications have fueled the popularity of smartphones by letting people personalize and customize handsets with mini-programs created by third-party developers.