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.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internetFacebookApplesoftwareapplicationsPandora

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

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?