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Cydia founder to take on Mac App Store

One of the leading lights of the iOS jailbreaking community, Cydia founder Jay Freeman, has promised to launch an alternative Mac Apps Store, probably before Apple cuts the ribbon on the official version.

Freeman, who is best known for his involvement with Cydia, which acts as a store front and installer for jailbroken Apple iDevices in much the same way iTunes does for unfiddled versions, has promised to beat Apple to the march with a Cydia App Store for Mac.

The underground outfit will allow developers to bypass Apple's stringent selection process to offer unapproved applications and widgets which don't toe the Cupertino company line.

According to TUAW, around 10 per cent of the iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches have been jailbroken and most of those currently run Cydia's installer App.

There are more than 30,000 'packages' available at the moment for iOS4 devices ranging from full-blown applications to cosmetic skins and tweaks which make Apple's own offerings more accessible.

Freeman recently told a gathering of OSX developers that Mac Cydia would be available "within weeks" although the amount of content available will certainly be limited until Apple starts rejecting submissions and disgruntled developers look for alternate distribution methods for their work.

Apple's decision not to allow demo versions or in-app purchases on launch is also thought to have driven a significant number of coders in Cydia's direction.

Although Apple has been roundly criticised for the way it ring-fences it portable iDevices, the company's grown-up operating system OSX is far less restrictive than iOS4 and won't need to be jailbroken in order to install third-party software not approved by Steve Jobs and his army of nannies and nitpickers.

The best Apple will say on the launch of the the official Mac App Store is that it is 'coming soon'.