The Mac App Store has launched, freshly stocked with over 1,000 OS X applications. The store comes as part of an OS X update, version 10.6.6, and is a standalone application rather than being yet another add-on to the already creaking and bloated iTunes.
The store works a lot like the iOS App Store we know already: You sign in with your Apple I.D and then you can shop. Buy a Mac app and the payment is charged to your registered credit card account, and the app downloads automatically and is placed in the applications folder, with a convenient shortcut placed in the dock (the icon actually leaps from the Store window and lands in the dock neat). This is clearly aimed at novice users who may never have actually downloaded and installed third-party software before, and the interface will be instantly familiar to anyone who has used the App Store in iTunes or on an iPad.
That said, there is plenty for power-users, too. Apple’s flagship photo-editing software, Aperture, is in the store for just $80. You can still buy it from the conventional Apple Store, but it’ll cost the usual $200. That’s quite a saving. The iWork office suite is in there, too, although it remains at the ‘09 version, the a new ‘11 update many were hoping for. The three iWork apps, Pages, Numbers and Keynote, cost $20 apiece, a saving on the usual $80 bundle price. If you already have these installed on your Mac, the App Store detects this and shows them as “installed”, just like on the iPad.
There are also free apps the slick new Twitter, for example, which is the long awaited v2.0 of Tweetie for Mac as well as some old favorites (Angry Birds is quite something on a 27-inch iMac screen).
There are no trials in the Mac App Store, and submissions are subject to strict rules, just like the iOS store. It appears that some of these can be waived, though. Twitter is clearly using custom, non standard user interface elements and it is featured on the front page. Apple is clearly playing somewhat by its own rules here, too. No trial versions are are allowed in the store, so developers have to host them on their own sites. Apple has abided, and the trial for the iWork suite is on the main Apple site
I predict that the store is going to be huge. It has the same kid-in-a-candy-store addictive qualities of the iPhone and iPad stores, along with a few features missing from the mobile versions. On the Mac, for example, all your purchases are listed under a tab in the top toolbar. Finally, here’s a tip: Up in the Apple menu, on the top left of your screen, you’ll see a new entry called “App Store.” This replaces the old “Mac OS X Software” which has quietly been retired.
Mac App Store [Apple]
Apples Mac App Store Opens for Business [Apple]