How will the Apple Mac App Store work?

October 22, 2010

With the Mac line of computers selling at a record pace, Apple has decided to open an App Store that deals in just Mac software. Is this a good idea, and will it work as well as the iPhone app store?

The idea is for all Mac developers to move in single file into the same mold that iPhone and iPad developers already occupy, just with a slightly different door for everyone to go through. This new Mac mart is supposed to be open in 90 days, so everyone had better get a move on. The end result is supposed to be a virtual store that looks just like the iPhone app store. They will have to get used to thinking like iPhone developers, because the rules will be identical, or at least very close. That is probably a tighter framework than OS X developers are used to working within, so the transition will not be without peril or problems.

This is not a huge problem, though, because the Mac App Store will not be the only avenue into the Mac. Developers can simply choose to do things the old way. But, it is likely that this app store, like the last one, will become the main channel.  The apps that we find there will likely be from smaller developers; there is no particular incentive for large, established vendors like Adobe to play in this new realm. That does not mean, of course, that they will not. Apple has a way of being very persuasive, and of developing programs that make sense for everyone, and which therefore become popular.

As a CNET article notes, the convenience factor alone will lure both developers and users to the Mac App Store. As one who has had to wade through the Google returns while looking for a piece of OS X software to meet a certain need, I can see how this new store will fulfill a needed role. As long as it does not become the only way to buy software for the Mac, it will be positive. If it does gain exclusive status for Mac apps, we’ll have to rethink that on this end.

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