Reflections on the New Mac App Store

The new App Store for Mac launched yesterday amid a flurry of excitement and users have keenly explored at large amount of apps included in the store library at time of launch. More than 1000 free and paid apps are already available and Apple has obviously put a lot of effort into making sure that the App Store hits the ground running. After playing with it for the past 24 hours, I had some thoughts on what is sure to be a software phenomenon. Click here for more information about Techwitty Ventures.

The App Store software itself is the very definition of simplicity. I’m not going to spend much time reviewing it but I will say that the interface is clean and well designed and it is very simple to explore and discover new apps. As with the iOS App Store, it is easy to see reviews of an app before you buy and, when you do click the purchase button, the app flies into your dock and begins download and installation. Nothing could be simpler.

The price of the apps is as expected with games like Angry Birds (great fun on a big screen) priced at $4.99 and other more complicated software priced higher than that. It should be worth noting that Apple is offering two of its own software packages, Aperture and Remote Desktop 3 at a substantial discount when compared to normal retail prices. A smart move. Additionally, components from other Apple programs such as iLife ’11 and iWork ’09 are available at very reasonable prices, although sadly there was no 2011 version of iWork at launch.

Could any improvements be made? Well, as we have previously mentioned, Apple is not allowing demos or beta versions of software on this App Store, something that should be changed in the future. While much of the software offered in the App Store is cheap, it would be advantageous for users to be able to test many of the more expensive software programs before purchasing. Time-limited demo apps would encourage sales and betas would allow developers to assess and fix their new software much more efficiently. Perhaps Apple will reconsider this as the App Store matures but for now, users will have to head directly to developers’ websites to see if beta or demo software is available.

When OSX 10.7 Lion is released later in the year, users will also be offered better choices for displaying and accessing their apps. As shown on the preview page, Lion will incorporate a new feature called Launchpad, which adopts display features from iOS by offering users a grid of apps when the click the Launchpad icon. This will be a little more user friendly than the current display of the Applications folder in Snow Leopard.

Essentially, the Mac App Store will do great things for Apple computing. The immediate availability of software, ease of browsing and installing and relatively cheap pricing will no doubt encourage a great number of consumers to move to Mac. As the Store matures and gains more apps and functionality, look for the Mac desktop to become just as popular as iOS devices have in the mobile market.

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