Mac App Store Review

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

I have waited a while before doing a review of the Mac App Store, I wanted the initial excitement and hype to die down before adding in my two cents. Since I converted to the Mac, I have been looking for software that meets my needs and wants, but sometimes it is a bit of hit and miss whether you “find” what you want or if what you have found is the best for what you need, especially games.

So when Apple announced that it was going to create the MacStore, that would be similar to how they sell Apps in iTunes, I was looking forward to seeing what I would find here and have looked around and ordered software or should I say Mac Apps through the Mac App Store.

Product Name: Mac App Store
Company Name: Apple
Type: Desktop Software
Website: http://www.apple.com/mac/
Company Product Description:

Great apps for your Mac. Right on your Mac.

“The Mac App Store is just like the App Store for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. So it’s as easy to find and download Mac apps as it is to add your favorite magazine to iPad or a new game to iPod touch. You can browse Mac apps by category, such as games, productivity, music, and more. Or do a quick search for something specific. Read developer descriptions and user reviews. Flip through screenshots. When you find an app you like, click to buy it.” – Taken from http://www.apple.com/mac/app-store/
Below is a screenshot of the Mac App Store’s start page:
Screen shot 2011-01-29 at 7.40.32 PM.png
How much does it cost? Free, but you will spend money there.
Is this the first time reviewing this product: I have never reviewed the Mac App Store before.
Do my students have easy access the product? Not this year, but there are rumors that it will be part of the MLTI image next year.
Do I currently use the Mac App Store in my classroom? No.  However, if it is part of the MLTI image next year, I will feel obligated to teach my student how to safely use the Mac App Store.
Is the Mac App Store intuitive and easy to use or is there a steep learning curve? I found the Mac App Store very easy to use, almost too easy in some ways.
How does the Mac App Store apply to Special Education? There are several “apps” that will help students be more successful in the classroom and outside of it that can be downloaded for free or purchased.
What I like: That the Mac App Store provides a “one-stop” shopping place for finding, buying and/or downloading software for your Mac. I was very happy that they didn’t put it in iTunes and created a separate application outside of it.  I like that when I download software from the Mac App Store that it will be safe and virus free.
What I don’t like: Unlike now where you can download and try a software product for a limited amount of time or with less capabilities, when getting new software from the Mac App Store, you cannot download trial versions to see if it is what you are looking for before you buy it.
I have a hard time using the word App for the software on my computer, but that is what I guess software will now be called for Macs – an App
I foresee a day in the very near future that the Mac App Store will be the primary way to find, purchase and download software for your Mac. When this happens Apple will have the ability to deny other software developers access to their store. Based on the experience of the iPhone App store there is the probability that this will happen and it will not always be in the best interest of the consumer and will at times be based on corporate interests.
In this way Apple will be able to influence what products are developed and used by Mac owners. I wonder how many good software packages, will we miss because they are not allowed in the Mac App Store or if future versions of the Mac Operating System will be similar to the IOS and only allow software downloaded from the Mac App Store to be installed?

Maybe I am being pessimistic about Apple’s intentions, but their track record for wanting “control” of their product is not something new. Corporations are supposed to create ideas that maximize their profits and I don’t have a problem with that, but I wonder at what point the Mac App Store becomes too much of a good thing.

The reality is that buying Mac software is extremely easy through the Mac App store, it was made to be that way.  I am an admitted Apple fan-boy and love how their products just work. However, I am concerned about the amount of control over software development for the Mac, the Mac App Stores will give Apple  I wonder if this will inhibit or help small software developers – I hope it helps but I am not optimistic about the direction that Apple might go.

Only time will tell.

Recommendation: While I am hesitant to put all of my eggs in one basket, the Mac App Store is a very convenient and easy way to find buy, download and install new software for your Mac.

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