The Beauty of Apple's New Mac App Store

It's good for users. It's great for developers.

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Apple's widely popular App Store is coming to your laptop and desktop computer. On Wednesday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that the App Store will no longer be confined to iPhones and iPads. Launching in 90 days for the Snow Leopard OS, it will allow users to download Mac apps with a single click and feature auto-installation and auto-updates. Here's what techies are most excited about:

  • The Details  "The App Store itself is a standalone app that looks a lot like iTunes," explains Ross Miller at Engadget: "Apps are automatically dropped into the dock after download. Expect it to hit OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard users 'within 90 days' from today. And developers? Apple's accepting app submissions starting in November."
  • Great News All Around, writes Christina Warren at Mashable: "We think this is a huge step for Mac developers and for Apple. So many fantastic Mac apps are undiscovered because developers don’t have a way to get their wares in front of users."
  • This Is a Surprise, writes Michael Gothaus at TUAW: "A Mac App Store is something that has been suggested in the past by press and readers alike, but few thought one would ever materialize. It will be interesting to see how Mac developers respond to this and if any major developers (like Adobe, Microsoft, etc.) join in. The Mac App Store will be a stand alone app available for Snow Leopard and Lion."
  • Could Have Broader Effect on the Mac, notes Anthony Ha at VentureBeat:
What does that mean for traditional software on the Mac? It’s not totally clear. Chief executive Steve Jobs emphasized that when it comes to finding apps, the App Store “won’t be the only place, but be the best place.” Certainly, if the App Store becomes the main way to get software onto Macs, that could create even more concerns about Apple’s approval process.
  • In Summary: A Very Smart Move, writes John Biggs at TechCrunch:

Generally I think this is a good thing. Plenty of people have gotten rent money from iPhone apps and selling Scrivener or QuicKeys through the App Store will ensure discovery.But what it also does is allow users to press a button and get a receipt. It’s the seamless iTunes experience that people love about the app store. And it also gives Apple a cut of the pie. That’s huge.

I’m also worried that this means arbitrary app rejections but I doubt this will happen on the desktop. As long as you can drag and drop a new app into the Applications folder, there’s no way Apple will try to scare away potential vendors. Given that programming for OS X is essentially free, Apple needs to offer lots of incentive to use their service.

To sum up, the App store is a great move for programmers and it’s an especially good move for Apple.
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