∞ Apple's Mac OS X Downloads site to change with Mac App Store release

Apple plans to launch the Mac App Store on January 6, 2011. When it does, Apple has revealed that it will stop offering download links on its Mac OS X Downloads page.

[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]In an e-mail sent to registered Apple developers, Okamoto said, “Because we believe the Mac App Store will be the best destination for users to discover, purchase, and download your apps, we will no longer offer apps on the Mac OS X Downloads site. Instead, beginning January 6, we will be directing users to explore the range of apps available on the Mac App Store.”

The Mac OS X Downloads page on Apple’s Web site has been a fixture for years – a showcase for third-party developers to show off their latest efforts. Apple features products from shareware authors to commercial developers alike, offering product descriptions, links to downloads, and more. The site is also curated, with Apple offering “Staff Picks” and links to top downloads.

So it’s no mystery as to why Apple would want to redirect Web site traffic – and its own internal resources – into the Mac App Store instead, which will serve the same purpose. But it’s incorrect to assume that all of the developers whose works are now featured on the Mac OS X Downloads page will be willing or able to get their products into the Mac App Store instead.

The ultimate fate of the Mac OS X Downloads page remains unclear, based on Okamoto’s e-mail. The site is also home to many add-ons and enhancements for core Apple products like Aperture, Automator, Final Cut Studio and more, so it may continue in some capacity independent of the Mac App Store. We’ll probably know more after January 6th.