At Wednesday’s Back to the Mac event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that the App Store is coming to Mac OS as the Mac App Store. Before long, Apple’s Craig Federighi demonstrated some of the features of the new App Store, which will be available within the next 90 days. Developers have already jumped on board.
We’ve been interested in the new App store since the announcement, and we’ve thought about how awesome it would be in the past. Let’s take a look at why:
5) People Are Used to the App Store
Not only is Pages there, iPhoto and Garage Band are Available, Too
Users who already own an iPhone, an iPad or use iTunes already know how to shop the App Store. Apple knows this, and they are capitalizing on it. There is no new interface for them to learn, and users will like that. When it’s made available, the Mac App Store will be a download, but when Lion hits, it will come loaded in with the operating system, making it even more readily available to potential users.
4) Nothing New to Sign Up For
In addition to that, those users already have an Apple ID. They don’t have to sign up for anything new, and their credit card is already linked to the account. All they have to do is login. That same Apple ID is the one they use for iTunes, the iPhone, iPod Touch, Apple TV, iPad and on Apple’s online store to make purchases. Now they are just adding one more place to purchase from, but it’s all so unified that people actually enjoy it.
3) It Streamlines the Install Process
There is a lot to learn from the App Store right now. Aside from making for one huge user experience through one account and one interface across multiple platforms, the install process is much easier than ever before. Also, this can lead to faster releases. Many users may have ordered iLife ’11, but imagine downloading it the second it goes live. Updates are simple with a single click and all of your available Apps can be updated at the same time.
In the past, users had to find the application they wanted, and they had to download it. From there, they had to open the disc image and install the application to their HDD. After that, they would choose a folder. It’s easy for anyone who uses a computer regularly, but it’s a several step process that takes a few minutes.
The App Store serves as an easy way to purchase, download and install an App in one click. After that, there is no need to worry about what folder it’s in, where it is stored on your computer, etc. It’s installed and it’s ready to use. Such is the case on your iOS devices.
2) Deleting an Application is Just as Easy
Downloaded an App, but find out you didn’t like it? Delete it. How easy is it to delete an App? Hold down on it and wait for it to do the “iOS Dance” you know, the little jiggle thing that App icons do. From there, you click on the little X and the application and all its contents are deleted. It’s that easy. One thing we mentioned in the past is that some more advanced users may not like this, but they can always download things in the way they are used to. Casual users who now understand the iOS interface can manage their way around this kind of a setup. They no longer need to search through layers of folders to find what they are looking for.
1) Porting Will Be Easy For Developers
Easy porting will ensure that we see more Apps quickly arriving on the Mac App Store. Porting many of the most popular Apps shouldn’t be much of a problem for developers. Many of them will be willing to do it too, availability across more platforms means more chances to sell. If a developer has a simple word processing App available for the iPhone and iPad, the next step for them would be a desktop version.
A Bit of Caution
The downside can be that Apple has a lot of control over what’s available, and this can lead to problems as it has in the past. For the most part, things seem pretty smooth, and we always have jailbreak Apps, but Apple’s guidelines will always come into play to enforce what can and what can’t be placed on their store:
– Apps that are “beta,” “demo,” “trial,” or “test” versions will be rejected.
– Apps that duplicate apps already in the App Store may be rejected, particularly if there are many of them.
– Apps that are not very useful or do not provide any lasting entertainment value may be rejected.
– Apps that are set to auto-launch or to have other code automatically run at startup or login without user consent will be rejected
There full list of guidelines has much more, and while a good deal of it is just Apple covering it’s butt to prevent someone blaming them if they play a drinking game on their iMac.
Keep in mind that Apple is always adjusting their guidelines, and we don’t yet know how strict they will be, but the important thing is that Apple doesn’t have full control over what content that can be installed on our computers.
It’s a Free App World
The other thing developers may have to be cautious about is the fact that there is almost always a free App for just about anything you can imagine. Don’t want to pay $20 for Pages for Mac? Why not download this free word processor that seems to work well enough, and automatically syncs to your Google Docs?
This is a great scenario for consumers, but again the end result can hurt everybody. If everyone gives Apps away for free, they make less money and may decide that Mac App Store development isn’t in their best interests. And that becomes less for us to choose from.
Here’s the part some users may hate. Over time, this may actually have a huge impact on how applications are distributed in the long run. Many will hate the idea of Apple having this kind of control over what Apps become available, and some may be concerned that the closed iOS structure may eventually become what we see in Mac OS. Even if that were to happen, it’s not going to change for a long time. Even if it does, there will always be the good ol’ jailbreak that will let us download the Apps we want. Is simplifying computer use for the casual consumer such a bad thing? The rest of us will still have other options.