Ah, the app store. It helps us work. It helps us play, probably a lot more often then it helps us work. It provides a profitable business model for delivering mobile software, and it is about to expand into a whole new world.
Apple revealed the release date for the Mac App Store. The store, which will open on Thursday, January 6th, will feature apps for Apple desktops and laptops in a wide variety of categories, including Education, Games, Graphics & Design, Lifestyle, Productivity and Utilities. As on the iOS platform, apps will be of both the paid and free variety.
The app store, which will be available in 90 countries at launch, will allow users to choose, download and install apps the same way that they currently do on the mobile app store, which runs on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. This is good news for fans of instant gratification, or people who just hate schlepping to the nearest Apple Store to buy software, since it will be a click-and-run software buying option.
Just like in the original app store, users will be able to browse new and noteworthy apps, and read customer ratings and reviews, which is good news for people who like to know what they are getting before they buy. Reviews and star ratings can help you to not only avoid a loser app, but also to figure out why it did not work for the users who voted it down. That way you can make an independent assessment of the software's usefulness.
Some of you may wonder what you need with an app store when you can already download software from the web? Well, there are a few advantages to the app store model, instead of download straight from the web. No searching for what you want, no giving out your credit card to third parties, and less of chance of encountering buggy software.
The Mac App Store will only be available to users with the most current version of the Mac operating system, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, and will get the store as a free download through a software update. Developers who create apps for Mac will keep 70% of the app revenue, through the Mac Developer Program.
Apple has yet to respond to my inquiry as to whether digital distribution will lower the prices of existing Apple software titles, such as iWork or Final Cut Pro.
(Image from Apple)