The Mac App Store, a step forward or iOS plus?

January 6, 2011

It’s an “innovative new way to discover and buy [your] favorite apps. That’s what Apple head Steve Jobs had to say about new Mac App Store which launched today, January 6th 2011. But will this new feature lead to a new lease of life for Mac OS X, or is it just an attempt to turn it into the infinitely successful iOS?›

I have to admit that as a Mac owner and self-confessed Apple fan, I have been looking forward to the launch of the Mac App Store since it’s announcement late last year. But the whole time it’s been sceptical anticipation.

I love Apple’s OS X. In my opinion it is by far the greatest operating system on the market and I like it just the way it is. I also love Apple’s iOS mobile operating system for the like of the iPhone, iPod and iPad. But I don’t want one to become the other.

You see iOS works perfectly for a mobile device, but just doesn’t sit well with me when it comes to a computer. It screams out to be touched and that’s something most home computers and laptops just can’t do. So when Apple said they were bringing the main selling point of iOS, the app store to the Mac, I feared the worst.

But I needn’t have.

It’s clear from the first time you log on to the new Mac App Store, that this whole venture has been planned with the home computer at the forefront. There are obviously similarities to the iOS app store, the organisation is very similar, with apps split into categories and charts (both paid and free). But the apps on offer here are far more substantial than the soundboard you’ll find on your iPhone. You can download full versions of Apple’s iMovie, iPhoto and Garage Band. You can download full games such as Lego Harry Potter. There’s even more premium software such as Aperture available for a much cheaper price than traditionally offered.

Of course this doesn’t stop the iOS developers from porting their hits, the most popular paid app as I write this is Rovio’s Angry Birds. But this is only to be expected, this is day 1 of a brand new feature. As developers continue to use the new software, I’m confident we can get some really new and innovative uses of the humble Macintosh.

And this is what’s now got me excited about the Mac App Store, it’s potential. On day 1, Apple have showcased some of their biggest software available, to download for as little as £9. Other companies are bound to follow suit and offer high quality software, available over the net, no pesky CD’s and boxes as we’ve come to expect and at better prices.

As you would expect with Apple software, the whole look and feel of the App store is very polished. Downloading an app couldn’t be simpler and when it does download, it simply fly’s onto your dock and is ready to use. The days of long installations are over.

The app store will even allow you to download to multiple Mac’s (up to 5), store the apps anywhere and even keep them on a hard drive or flash drive. This is very open for Apple and a complete opposite to the restrictiveness of iOS.

The Mac App Store is just what Apple need, a positive story after the very negative iPhone reports (just don’t mention alarms near Steve Jobs!) and a quite significant 1-Up on Windows. Of course it won’t be long before Google join the party with an Android app store being readied for PC’s, but Apple are leading the way with this one.

It’s a very exciting time to be a Mac owner!