In case you were too busy not attending CES, Apple took the Mac App Store live yesterday morning. Accessing it requires upgrading to OS X 10.6.6 and probably having an internet connection. I hear AOL offers those at speeds up to 300 baud.
Anyway, since I was at work on my MacBook Pro when the email from Apple alerting me to the launch arrived (and not on my Hackintosh at home that’s currently stuck on 10.6.4 until who knows when), I promptly put aside my timesheet and unwieldy sentence structure and went to town. “To town” being to the kitchen for some Earl Grey (hot) while the combined 268MB download (including iWork and other updates) rolled on down the office’s T1/2 line.
Updates installed, I decided to live life on the cutting edge of the needle’s tip in the monkey’s paw. That’s right, I didn’t repair permissions. Instead, I went under the Apple menu and selected “App Store…” (Do not ask me why it has ellipses. I have yet to discover the continuing menu item or deleted text.) I was greeted with a very iTunes Store-like screen. Which is not surprising. And, in fact, if I had sat down at my machine with the App Store already loaded, I may have thought I was in iTunes. Because nearly every single app I saw was an iOS port. Yay.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are some iOS apps I think merit existence on my Mac. Why only waste hours of time playing Angry Birds in the Porcelain Kingdom when I can also do so while “concepting” new ads? Except, of course, that I don’t want to re-buy the program until new levels come out. And the fact that Apple has unbundled both their iWorks and iLife apps is fairly snazzy. And maybe I’ll find some cool utilities that I otherwise would’ve missed.
But for now, most of the utilities I’ve installed on my non-iOS devices are nowhere to be found in the Mac App Store. No Default Folder X or WindowShade. No MagicPrefs or Clips. As for “real” applications like Adobe’s Creative Suite or Final Draft or Microsoft Office, forget it. They aren’t there. Not now, at least. Maybe not for a while until extra-broad broadband arrives to the masses (unless you want to spend five days downloading the Master Collection of CS5—oh, I see you already did via BT).
I can’t say that the Mac App Store is a bad idea. It is only one day old, after all. It’s just that it will, like Danny Bonaduce, take time to mature. If it ever does. It’s an interesting distribution model, of course. There’s little need now for getting a physical Frisbee o’ media for an install (massive programs mentioned above excepted), and it’ll be nice to have a record of installed apps ready to be re-installed when calamity inevitably strikes. Assuming I only want four of my 381 programs reinstalled with one click.
Some have argued that the Mac App Store will drive down the cost of programs. After all, they reason, if you can get a game for 99 cents on the iOS App Store, why would you pay 10 bucks for the OS X version or 50 bucks for a desktop-only title? While I do agree that some price pressure will no doubt come into effect, I don’t exactly see this as the end of $30-and-up apps. One, because there are even iOS apps that venture into this range. Two, because people expect a $30 (or $300) desktop app to do a lot more than a $4.99 one.
My only real concern—and I believe it’s pretty far-fetched, but paranoia is the heart of punditry—is that some day in the future, I may have to jailbreak my 28-core MacBook Pro just to install a crossword puzzle app. But I don’t think even Apple has the hubris to try that.
That was a joke.