The Mac App Store opened this morning, and I have been waiting for this day with much anticipation. It’s widely accepted that the IOS (iPhone Operating System) App Store is the number one reason that the iPhone (and Apple as a whole) has done so well these last few years, and obviously Apple isn’t oblivious to this fact. The Mac App Store incorporates many of the successful elements of the IOS App Store, primarily it’s simplicity in finding, downloading, and maintaining Apps. Though it’s only been open for a few hours, I have already had the chance to download several Apps, and will review the experience thus far.
Finding new apps in the IOS App Store has always been a mixed bag; those Apps featured on the front page or the top ten list are easily found and promoted, while many of the less popular apps tend to fall through the cracks. All evidence supports that this will likely be the case with the Mac App Store; I’ve downloaded a couple of apps that I have never heard or previously, but I did so because they were on the Top Ten List. The nice thing about the App Store, however, is that it encourages browsing. Never before has their been such a user-friendly method to browse through thousands of Mac apps, and I will probably check back every few days just to browse apps, similar to what I do with the IOS App Store.
The genius of the IOS App Store lies in it’s encouragement of impulse buying, and this is due to the iTunes account. The Mac App Store continues in this tradition; just a password is all that stands between you and your app. The Mac App Store also works with iTunes credit; I received some iTunes gift cards for Christmas, and the credit applied to my Mac Store purchases. Think about it, with an iTunes account you can now buy music, movies, books, magazines, iPhone apps, and Mac apps, all without re-entering your credit card or billing info. Ease of use at it’s best.
Downloading an app is also similar to the IOS Store. Upon clicking “download”, the app’s icon flies down to your dock, and a progress bar keeps you posted as it downloads. I installed Pages (you can buy it separately now) and then wanted to install it on my second computer. I simply clicked on the “Purchases” tab in the Mac App Store, then hit “Download” next to Pages. The process of installing your apps on a second machine is just as simple as downloading it in the first place, which greatly decreases the dread of getting a new computer.
One of the major highlights of the Mac App Store is that it makes serial numbers a thing of the past; never again will I have to spend an hour trying to remember where my serial number is or how to access it. The Mac App Store approaches software updates similar to the iPhone App Store; a simple “Updates” tab in the store assures that you never again will miss an update or install that update sloppily.
A few hours into it’s life, I can see the Mac App Store becoming a fantastic success. Though it will likely face some growing pains in terms of pricing (app prices are currently pretty random), over time I think that the Mac App Store will influence the Apple computer market the same way the the IOS App Store has influenced the iPhone market. It’s simplicity and speed is a much welcome change from the days of endless Google searches and serial number; I can really see the Mac App Store breathing some much needed life back into the Mac platform.