Apple Gets Mac App Store Right

6 Jan

Mac OS software market share remains paltry compared to Windows, so the arrival of Apple’s Mac App Store may bump those numbers up. However, the first thing I discovered at the Mac App Store is that there’s not much there that I want. In fact, given the galaxy of software available for the Mac, there’s not much there at all, a thousand or so apps for the moment.

That (substantial) quibble aside, the Mac App Store experience is effortless. After you’ve  updated your system software to Mac OS 10.6.6, a new application icon appears in your dock, which you can relocate elsewhere to your liking. Clicking on it brings you to a packed storefront of choices with a minimalist set of shopping tools at the top: Featured, Top Charts, Categories, Purchases, Updates. You can also use a search field, click back and forth arrows, and adjust the window with the red, yellow, and green buttons found on every app.

Downloading is simple. If you have an existing Apple account on iTunes, you simply log in using those credentials. The shopping experience is similar to iTunes, though it’s much less messy, probably because Apple has fewer apps to promote than the plethora of choices in iTunes. Thus, you can find what you want (if it’s there) with ease.

Most of the software I saw is priced similarly to what you’d find for Apple’s mobile devices. For example, while there are a couple of apps in the Business category that run into the hundreds of dollars, most are cheap, even free. This does give credence to the views of some developers that the Mac App Store will be a race to the bottom in terms of price, potentially inclining developers to eschew the Mac OS because they won’t be able to afford the software support costs. But from a shopper’s viewpoint, it was a pleasant surprise.

All-in-all, the Mac App Store will be a boon to users looking for an easy and immediate way to get a new software package or update an existing one. However, getting the shopping details right will only matter if Apple can get the software goods on its virtual shelves.

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One Response to “Apple Gets Mac App Store Right”

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  1. Tweets that mention Apple Gets Mac App Store Right « Croisan Views -- Topsy.com - January 6, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Everett Hall, Mark Everett Hall. Mark Everett Hall said: Apple Gets Mac App Store Right: http://t.co/it46aIg However, software selection is sucky […]

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