For me the Mac App Store was not one of those Apple moments were it was love at first sight. At the same time I don’t see the Mac App Store as a complete failure either (e.g. iTunes Ping). It is the beginning of a good thing. I’ve had some of these thoughts since the initial announcement, but I’ve resisted giving my opinion until seeing it live. Well, it’s now live.
Apple’s True Intent
I’m sure someone already came up with the idea, but Apple did not create the App store for current Mac Developers. I think Apple wants to entice good iOS developers to create Mac apps. I buy software from current Mac developers all the time so I’m not trashing them. I love developers that have been with Apple for a long time and they get designing software for the Mac. But most of the innovation is happening on the iOS side. Apple is coming full circle with the Mac App Store by luring IOS developers to the Mac. Imagine the iOS creativity, beautiful GUIs, and innovative features giving Mac apps a fresh start. Developing for the entire Apple ecosystem will become easier as the iOS way of doing things migrates to the Mac and as mobile devices become more powerful. Eventually iOS and Mac apps will be nearly identical. The Mac App Store of today is simply the beginning.
When I copied some apps over to Macs in my classroom I was surprised that they functioned without my iTunes account. I found out later that some developers did not implement copy protection in their apps. I’m sure this will change quickly. I guess it’s not a pirates life for me. I am pumped that everything is tied to my iTunes account. With as much software as I evaluate I hate keeping track of license keys. License keys are a pain. If I have to reinstall or remove corrupt preferences I’m stuck copying and pasting license keys. Don’t get me started about Adobe’s licensing system. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to call Adobe about my license key because I moved to a different computer. I’m excited that over time I can ditch most of my license keys and the Adobe phone calls (okay, maybe not Adobe).
Bye, Bye Tedious Updates, Ancient CDs, and DMGs
I grew up in the days when Mac software was sparse. I remember begging developers to create Mac versions. Apple helped expose some good software with their retail stores, but not all of us live ten minutes away from an Apple Store. No more waiting checking my UPS tracking numbers for the latest Apple Software. I can get it right away. If I need a particular software tool I can get it when I need it. I also love not having to update each application individually. Start the updates and walk away. It is nice to have all my apps in one place. It also makes it easier to migrate to new Macs. Just hit the Install button in the purchased section of the App store and voila! I no longer have to keep track of tons of CDs and using up precious hard drive space with DMGs. Sure I don’t save much money ditching the App Bundle Deals, but at least everything is nice and tidy for my future Mac upgrades.
The Average Joe (or the Average Steve since we are talking about Macs)
I think average users will find the Mac App Store easy to use. Like it or not people love and trust Apple as much as they love and trust family. Apple users are conditioned to give money to Apple. Instead of looking at it as a 30% cut for Apple we should be looking at is as a 70% cut for developers along with a larger volume of software sold. I know I’ll be buying more.
There will always be sorry software, but the good software will keep getting better. Good developers compete for placement on the App Store front page and charts. Healthy competition usually makes healthy software. Look at the top iOS apps vying for Apple placement. They are great Apps!
Users can also use iTunes gift cards to purchase apps. In the future I’m sure they will add gifting of apps. I don’t know how many times I’ve wanted to gift an app (Pixelmator), but didn’t want to go through an individual company. Now I give an iTunes gift card and later give the app itself.
I think App Reviews and Ratings help developers listen to their users. Most people can recognize a terrible reviewer and ignore the review. It is difficult for users and developers to ignore an honest review though. In the end it helps good Apps rise to the top.
Okay, I Love Apple (or “Don’t tell me how to spend MY money all you critics.”)
The Mac App Store is in its early stages, but I’m glad it has happened today. Better now than never. The Mac App Store is the future and I will gladly be a part of it. Those are my thoughts. As usual I’m on Apple’s side. Then again, maybe Apple is just doing what I’ve always wanted as a customer—a one stop shop for great Mac software.