Thoughts on the Mac App Store

From Apple’s press release announcing the launch of the Mac App Store:

Apple® today announced that the Mac® App Store℠ is now open for business with more than 1,000 free and paid apps. The Mac App Store brings the revolutionary App Store experience to the Mac, so you can find great new apps, buy them using your iTunes® account, download and install them in just one step. The Mac App Store is available for Snow Leopard® users through Software Update as part of Mac OS® X v10.6.6.

Just some quick thoughts on the Mac App Store.

  • The store is a little busy. Although not quite as busy as the iOS App Store when viewed in iTunes.
  • I love the toolbar buttons along the top.
  • Pricing is all over the place. There’s $40 applications like Delicious Library 2 but then there’s also $1 games like Chopper 2.
  • Apple’s fantastic photography application, Aperture, is available for $79.99. That’s significantly cheaper than $199 price for the retail boxed version on Apple’s online store.
  • I really love the animation of the app jumping into your dock when installing. But, I’m worried that a lot of novice users will end up with a dock filled with applications that they never use. It would be nice if  installing new applications into the dock was an option you could turn off.
  • I absolutely love the Purchases screen and hope that Apple brings this feature to the iOS App Store. There are a whole lot of applications that I purchase and end up uninstalling after I lose interest. Having a page in the App Store that lists those applications would be incredibly useful.
  • Apple’s promotional images for the Mac App Store actually referenced iWork ’11 when they were initially released. It was rumored that iWork ’11 would launch alongside the Mac App Store but I guess Apple wasn’t quite ready to release them yet. 9 to 5 Mac has the Mac App Store image with the iWork ’11 reference intact on their site.
  • It’s a little odd that the Mac App Store displays applications downloaded or purchased from elsewhere as “Installed.” What’s unfortunate is that owners of these “Installed” applications will not be offered updates from the Mac App Store. The only applications that will receive updates through the App Store are applications that you have purchased in the Mac App Store. And, the only way to hook these applications into the Mac App Store is to re-purchase them.

The Mac App Store is a fantastic piece of software, but this release just leaves me wondering why it has taken so long. Why did Apple have to release a new smartphone platform for users to get an easy way to install applications? It seems like an App Store-like system should have been developed years ago. All of the pieces were there, why didn’t anyone think of it? It seems so obvious.