Mac App Store – The Future Of Software?


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The Mac App Store launched today and my first thought was how awesome it is for developers, but then I started thinking about what it means for software in general.

mac app store

On the surface, the Mac App Store is really just an extension of Apple’s existing App Store for their iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad devices. While that may sound like no big deal, there’s a reason the image above (from the Apple site) is exploding with excitement and had a file name that included the word “hero” (no joke). In one move, Apple has both consumers and software developers excited again and may have changed the way we deal with software from now on.

What It Means For Consumers

Consumers now have a single place to find, view, rate, and purchase software for their Macs. While I’m still a PC guy, I fell in love with the App Store for my iPhone. I have had several Windows Mobile phones and finding and installing software was always more expensive and cumbersome at best. Moving to the iPhone I found myself with more software (apps) than I could handle and the best part is that the competition brings the bar way down for pricing. I suspect we’ll see the same with the Mac App Store. With titles like Turbo.264 HD and iMovie 11 in the App store, competition will surely bring down prices for full fledged apps as well. Even those outside of the app store will need to remain competitive to stay in the game. Maybe we’ll see some of the $400 apps come down in price for the rest of us.

What does it mean for those of us using Windows? Hopefully, like the iPhone did for Android, this will nudge a PC App Store into the works. There’s already things like Download.com and there’s Adobe Air, but there’s no competitive one-stop shop for Windows software and I think it’s only a matter of time. Adobe, in particular, is in a good position to strike. They have a good platform with Air and as more people use it, a marketplace like Apples App Store makes a lot of sense. If you build it (and it’s done right), they will come.

What It Means For Developers

The Mac App Store can be a blessing for small developers and a bit of a curse for the big ones. As mentioned before, this is sure to drive more competitive pricing for Mac software. It will also force more developers to think outside the box, add more features, respond to requests, etc. The competitive marketplace will really keep developers on their toes. But that’s a good thing, too. Software that might otherwise go unnoticed will now have an instant audience and when Apple features an app, it’s like the Oprah effect, driving sales through the roof. Mac Apps that work well and offer all the features people want at a competitive price will now need a much smaller advertising budget. The people will find them and the cream will rise to the top, especially if it’s an addictive game for under five bucks.

What It Means For The Software Industry

This is the part I’m not really sure of yet, but I have some predictions and some fears. One thing I don’t want to see is Apple turning their Mac computers into giant iPhones. They did this with the iPad, restricting installs to those accomplished through the App Store, and it’s OK for what the iPad is. A Macintosh computer, on the other hand, needs to keep its freedom. I envision Apple trying to lock Macs down to only Apps from the Mac App Store and that would be a huge mistake. Know your limits, Mr. Jobs.

As for the industry as a whole, I think it could use a push in this direction. A centralized marketplace that becomes THE place for everyone to turn for software (Mac AND PC) will bring with it the competitive advantages mentioned above. Again, I wouldn’t want it to be the only place to get software, but it would be my first stop and a nice option.

On my PC I’m running the latest version of iTunes and it offers no Mac Apps. If you’re on a Mac and have installed anything from the new Mac App Store, I’d love to know your opinions and experience in the comments below.

Author: Joe Colburn

Joe Colburn is a software engineer specializing in PHP and a technology enthusiast. Always eager to dive into new and exciting things, Joe writes about anything technology related news and products that he thinks you will also be excited about. Find Joe Colburn on Google+ or by any of the links below.

10 thoughts on “Mac App Store – The Future Of Software?”

  1. When i received an email three day ago about Mac app store, i was surprised. I think it is nothing but just a software directory designed after success of iPhone/iPad apps. When checked, there were several native apps only. However i don’t think there will be a much bigger market (and same opinion is from several top tech gadget bloggers too) but let’s see what Apple come up with them. I am sure, they have something in their mind!!
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..GenF20 Plus Review =-.

  2. I love the new Mac App Store. I think it indeed will be fantastic for developers. I love the option to rate applications to know whether or not they are worth your time. Thanks for sharing Joe.

    – Robert
    .-= p90x´s last blog ..Day 27 P90x Workout =-.

  3. the Mac App Store is really just an extension of Apple’s existing App which consists of many products such as i phone ,iphone touch etc and i also like all the products………..of mac apple…..

  4. Mac App Store is not just a store. It is a Phenomenon which is being followed by more and more companies. It allows them to tap into the power of millions of developers worldwide. It is a very very profitable idea.

  5. As a customer the app store is great, me and most of my friends just buy apps as a coffee, when we feel like to get an app without any real need for one. Just browse the store…
    As a developer, this is a pretty nasty business. You say that it is a great fro small developers….I am not very sure. Unless the app is featured by apple and picked up as noteworthy or app of the week, you will get buried in the hundreds thousands of other apps somewhere down there. Most people browse only few first pages on each category then got distracted and bored. That is it, if you are not in the few pages on top you are essentially gone. There are lot of developers whose app sunk in popularity just few steps back and that means suddenly the sales dropped like a stone and the app dunked even further essentially ending up with zero sales – for good. The only thing the developer can do is make new app and hope it will be featured by apple as a new app for few days.
    This creates a chain reaction of similar apps, in sort of throwing everything against the wall and hoping something will stick.
    Also the 1.99 model is a business killer. While the Mac store has higher process there are already this 4.99 and 1.99 and with time this will become more norm. With million apps on the iOS store you either are the o.o1% of the developers that get millions of revenue for some time or you are the rest that earns just few hundreds a year. There is no place in app store for the middle class, somebody who doesn’t earn millions but he can live from the earning in comfortable way.
    Also the timing is a huge problem. Me as a developer can count on normal app to have lifespan for at least two years, sales picks slowly but they become steady for year or more. With app store this is distorted rapidly, you may sell app like crazy for a week, then drop to zero. This really makes the developers to focus on large number of quick apps and fill the app store with millions of cheap titles of mediocre quality.
    It reminds me the situation with china, producing enormous quantity of similar cheap goods where it’s quality become far less important.
    The same what was said for china, that it’s model is good for competition is now said for app store and people are forgetting that overall the result is far lesser quality of what they are buying for their small amount of money.
    Another minus for customers is the support. With app store this becomes increasingly problematic. You buy app and if it doesn’t work you cannot really expect a refund. You just delete the few dollar thing and write bad comment that’s usually as far as support goes, like when you buy a cheap spoon and it breaks in a week, just throw it out and buy a different one.

  6. I use mac for my clients. And I think this is going to be another success as it was with Iphone App. I would love to be in store and see the softwares.

  7. Hi, I just purchased Aperture on the App store. It was quick and easy. I paid Aus$99 which was a huge saving. I would like books and magazines which are great on iPad to be also good on MacBook. I don’t want to travel with an iPad and MacBook and won’t leave my MacBook behind.

  8. Mac App Store are best all clients because here we can buy iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad in best market prices.It also launching new iphone in this year which is more expensive than all the previous iphones..

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