Apple Mac OS X App Store ReviewWritten by Rob Nichols on January 7, 2011 · Filed under Review, Software
As the title so indiscreetly suggests, the Mac OS X App Store went live on 6th January 2011, and millions of Mac users worldwide now have access to an organised catalogue, á la iOS, of applications for the platform. A comprehensive library of quite reasonably priced software and, we’re guessing, developers are rejoicing too.
So what exactly does it entail after updating your Apple computer to Mac OS X v10.6.6 and a reboot? Well, in truth, not a lot more than the iOS App Store, or the Android Market for that matter.
Apart from the fact that not all applications are available, it’s looking pretty good. Ratings, reviews aplenty, the app store gives Mac users a great opportunity to find new software and find out what other users think before they part with their cash.
Unfortunately, though, also similarly to the iOS App Store, there is a distinct lack of trials. Even though with many applications, you can go to the developers website and find a free demo, you can’t do so directly through the App Store. That’s quite annoying.
However, with apps on iOS generally demanding a price bordering on £1 or 2, annoying it maybe, but it’s not such a great risk to pay before knowing exactly how good it is, but with desktop applications requiring up front, non-refundable payments in excess of £50, it can be a serious put off not to be allowed to make up your own mind before splashing out.
But, having said all that and covered the big negative in my opinion, I can categorically say that it’s brilliant. I can’t believe that bar a couple of small scale exceptions, it hasn’t been done before. A consolidated library of anything satisfies the cravings of a self-confessed obsessive when it comes to tidiness, particularly in the digital form, such as myself, and application management can be one of the messiest of all, with updates being missed and licenses being lost. The App Store solves that issue. Completely.
So what exactly is available on the app store? Well, there would be too many to list in it’s entirety, but I have to hand it to Rovio who have yet again come up with the goods with Angry Birds HD. My first purchase, just £2.99 right now, but admittedly it is marking the launch with a half price offer.
There are an abundance of almost iOS style games available, whilst what I could consider ‘proper’ games are few and far between. Non-existant, in fact, so we’ll have to stick with Steam on the Mac OS X for now. Not that I’m complaining.
Aperture is available for a quite reasonable price of £44.99 and similarly the iWork and iLife suites are available. Whilst we’re on the topic, there is no sign of iWork ’11 right now, unfortunately.
So what about design and layout? Well, anyone familiar with the iOS app store isn’t exactly in for many surprises.
Front page sections designated to top paid, free and grossing apps, and navigation buttons available at the top. (OK, so they’re at the bottom on iOS), but suffice it to say they’re the same buttons. Apart from one. There is one that allows you to keep track of your purchases, with those that you have purchased and not installed quite blatantly reminding you of it.
Charges for apps are automatically sent to your bank account, in an identical fashion to the mobile app stores, and it’s just pure convenience. Though, with a Mac App Store, iOS App Store and Windows Phone 7 Marketplace on the go, I’ll have to watch the balance of said bank account.
This is a great point worth making, though, and we will have to keep one eye for the next few months on reports of piracy figures. It will certainly be interesting to see the effects this has on how many people actually pay (yes PAY) for software.
So, overall a great start to the Mac OS X App Store from the people who successfully ‘invented’ the App Store.
Whether you love them or hate them, you can’t deny that Apple really know how to make/leech money from customers and developers alike. On the other hand, some prices for applications are even lower than they are elsewhere, while others actually go up in price. I don’t mind, I love it for the convenience it provides. I’ve already discovered a couple of great new applications and games.
Have you tested out the App Store on your Mac yet? What do you think to it, is this the future of desktop software purchases? What are your favourite applications so far?