The App Store…cluttering your dock, one app at a time. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Rob Boudon. Licensed under CC BY-2.0.Aah, the smell is in the air. Christmas and New Years are over, you’re saying your final goodbyes to the friends back home, and the knoll is sounding for the spring semester to begin. If you’re lucky, you’re still sleeping till noon and watching reruns of The Office and Doctor Who. But if you’re like me, you’re back in lovely drop/add week – an excuse for students to go out and party without fear of consequences (just ask my suitemates!) or if you’re like me, and if you’re reading HackCollege, you take the drop/add week as an advantage to get organized and prepared for the semester ahead.

Guess what? We’re not alone. HackCollege is out at CES this week – the trade show where every electronics manufacturer known to humankind comes out to preview their new products and debut new technologies for the year. Heard of HDTVs, Blu-Ray players, Xboxes, and DVRs? Debuted at CES.

There is one company that’s not present at CES and never has been. The mighty Apple. As rumors about a new iPad swirl, Apple didn’t forget where it started – the personal computer. Today, Apple merged one of it’s key handheld features – the App Store – to its original bread ‘n’ butter – Mac computers.

My initial thoughts were that the apps were a bit pricey, but it makes sense. Full-featured computer apps are worth more than mobile apps, which—as cool as they are—are limited by the limited technology of a smartphone.

I also liked how iLife and iWork apps were individually priced. It makes a lot more sense instead of making a user buy multiple copies of an iLife/iWork package and it should reward the user with free updates. That’s still to come, as far as I know. But even better, if I love GarageBand but don’t use iPhoto at all, I can buy a la carte. Makes sense, and saves everyone money.

This will likely reduce app piracy on Macs and increase participation from Mac developers. It shows that Apple isn’t wavering in its commitment to the desktop, even though most wandering eyes are hoping for a new iPad, rather than a new version of Angry Birds.

Check it out for yourself! If you’ve got Snow Leopard, launch Software Update and restart your computer. You’ll be rewarded with the new Mac App Store icon in your dock.

What’s your favorite new Mac App Store app? What do you think will be the most useful in the next term? Let us know in the comments!