Why Apple's Mac App Store will be a hit

It looks like extending the successful iPhone App Store model to the Mac is a winner for Apple

Apple's announcement of a Mac App Store raised plenty of questions, which won't be answered until it launches in a few months. But one thing's already certain: Apple's got a hit on its hands. Just as the iPhone App Store put a high gloss on the face of smartphone software, the Mac's digital app storefront will make native PC apps seem new again. Here's why:

The $1 App Idea

Apple didn't invent dirt-cheap software, but the iPhone App Store created a lucrative platform for it. Clever task planners and simple games got widespread promotion in a central location, and suddenly a lot of developers realized they didn't have to make huge, expensive apps to make a lot of money.

The same thing's going to happen on the Mac. Over at TechCrunch, MG Siegler floats the idea of micro-apps, like a native version of Pandora or a well-integrated version of Facebook. He notes that Apple tried this concept with widgets, but they didn't take off because they lacked promotion and a way to make money. The Mac App Store will provide both.

A Reason to Buy

Just like the iPhone App Store, Mac's storefront comes with a strict set of rules for developers. But the stuff for which Apple catches flack -- no porn, no religious commentary, no realistic depictions of violence -- is not what makes the App Store successful. What's most important is Apple's obsessive control over how the software behaves, and the same rules apply to the Mac App Store.

A few examples: Mac apps cannot automatically run when the computer starts without user permission. They can't launch processes that continue to run after the program is closed. They can't send data to third parties without user permission or demand personal information as a condition to run. They must adhere to Apple's user interface guidelines. They may be rejected simply for being too difficult to use. All these rules enforce quality and a guarantee that an app won't mess up your computer. This is why people will head to the Mac App Store in the first place.

The Lion in the Room

Apple's upcoming OS X update, Lion, brings the app-centric mentality of the iPhone and iPad back to the Mac, particularly with a feature called Launchpad. The simple grid of apps and folders, accessible by clicking a dock icon, looks exactly like an iOS home screen. On some level, it's just a different take on the desktop, but while traditional PC desktops look worse with clutter, Launchpad begs for it, letting users swipe between multiple screens of apps. That's only going to encourage people to buy more.

Tags AppleapplicationsPandorasoftwareinternetFacebook

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?