By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
Now built-into OS X Snow Leopard, the Mac App Store opens up a whole world of Mac OS applications right on their computer. Following the success of the iOS App Store on the iPhone, iPad Touch and iPad, Apple's direction of app selection and distribution makes finding Mac compatible apps easier than ever before.
From iOS to Mac OS
There was a time, in the dark ages, where Mac users had extremely limited ways to find programs and applications for their Mac desktops and notebooks. Before the Apple Retail Stores, before Best Buy and Future Shop had Mac sections, the only options were to go to an Apple retailer or hope that the sofware manufacturer was savvy enough sell downloadable versions of their programs online.
Today, Apple's retails stores stock the most popular and needful applications as boxed software and you can download a lot of independent applications directly from the developer's websites but you need to look for them.
How it works
The Mac App Store collects a variety of freeware, shareware and paid applications that can be downloaded directly to your Mac.
Once the apps are on your computer, the App Store checks for any program updated and urges you when these are available. It is convenient to have a centralized and uniform way to update your apps.
The beauty of the Mac App Store is that like the iTunes and the iOS app stores before it, the interface incorporates ratings and feedback from buyers as well as a decent amount of screenshots to give you an idea of what the application is all about.
Sadly, the Mac App Store doesn't offer a way to download trial versions or demo versions of applications. If the store can enable the update and management of apps, we don't see why it can't run demos that get deleted after a specific amount of time.
Some of the major apps are also lacking. We're talking about the large titles like Adobe CS5, Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac and the pro design, music and video applications that many expect to find on the Mac.
These large and expensive application suites still need to be purchased the traditional way, in-store and installed via DVD. We hope that the developers of these top-tier titles will consider bringing these apps to the Mac App Store. Not only will they make their marquee products available to virtually all Mac users but they don't have to worry about distribution, packaging and stocking costs.
Ease of Use
Searching the App Store is easy and convenient. Simply click on the blue "A" App Store icon in the dock and it will launch the application. From there, anyone can view apps by Categories, Top Apps, Featured and New and Noteworthy.
If you download an app that doesn't work as you expected or are unhappy with, you can get in touch with Apple within reasonable time and request for a refund or store credit but to be safe make sure you really intend to keep the apps you buy before you click the purchase button.
It would also be cool if the Mac App Store could search your hard drive and add applications you already bought or owned and add these to the update queue, something to think about in future updates.
Apple is ahead of the pack with the Mac App Store. It is a convenient place for users to go for apps they need and an ideal place for developers to feature their products because you have a captive audience.
The lack of demo or beta apps for trial purposes and the lack of major Mac titles take something away from what is a great idea, executed with Apple's characteristic flair and efficiency. For Mac users getting your apps and games using the service is a no brainer.
The Mac App Store is the future and this is certainly a software distribution model that other companies are going to copy.
Rating 3.5 out of 5