Mac App Store

The Mac App Store was released today.  I loved it… for about 30 mins, then the newness of it wore off.  I then realized, I’ll probably never use it to buy an app if I can help it.  It’s not that I don’t like it, I do… it’s just that it tries to hold my hand a bit too much.  I can see grandma using it happily & not having to worry about dealing with software activation & finding the right app for this or that.  But for me… a geek… I don’t need or want that kind of control over my computer.

This article by Lifehacker pretty much sums up exactly how I feel.  Before I read the article, I was compiling my own list of “don’t likes” in my head, and they wound up pretty similar to the article:

  1. No trials – this is just dumb for more expensive software.  I’m not going to pay $50 for an app without being able to try it out first.
  2. No beta testing – I do this frequently with apps like Firefox and 1Password.  Big no-no IMO.
  3. Everything installed in /Applications – Usually this is fine, but I like to tweak a little.  For example, I have a lot of “social” apps installed, so I have them in /Applications/Social/ (along with it’s own custom icon).  The App Store wouldn’t like this.
  4. A lot of my favorite apps, such as Bjango‘s iStat Menus, don’t qualify for the App Store because it delves too deeply into OS X‘s internals & Apple doesn’t like that.

It’s no secret Apple created the Mac App Store primarily because of the iOS App Store’s huge success.  I don’t think the Mac App Store will be as successful, because they are two entirely different platforms.  Even with OS X 10.7 Lion, which is trying to make the Mac more iOS-like, people will always want to use a computer to do a lot more than what an iOS device can do.  The iOS App Store is so successful because there’s only so many things you can do on an iOS device.  While you can do a lot of the same everyday tasks on iOS, it is not a replacement for a fully functional computer.  Dare I say it will probably never be.  The iOS’s closed ecosystem works because people know “If I can’t do it on iOS, I have a computer that can”.

Another thought I had was “I wonder if Apple will move iOS devices out of iTunes & start managing them via the Mac App Store.”  Then I realized, each iOS device is also an iPod which plays media bought from iTunes, so that’s unlikely.

On the plus side, Apple hasn’t restricted OS X to only the Mac App Store.  You can still download & install your own programs manually just like before.  It will be interested to see if Apple starts to move towards a more closed ecosystem like the iOS with OS X in the coming years.  I really can’t see it happening, but who knows.