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A Customers View on the Mac App Store

So the Mac App Store has been about for a while now and I’ve seen plenty of talk on what it means for the developers and Apple. We’ve seen arguments on the cost of using it (Apple taking 30%) and on it requiring sandboxing Offsite Link and what this means for the consumer.

However, I’ve not seen any posts on how we feel, the consumer, using the store.

Why the App Store?

I’ll start of by saying I’m a big fan of Linux. Why? The repository system. Not only do my updates for my computer come from this, so do my program updates. Updating my system is as simple as running the commands

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

This will update my system fully. How simple is that in comparison to Windows where each individual program has to look for updates each time it boots up?

I originally saw the Mac App Store as the Mac equivalent of the synaptic repository of Linux but with more detail and prettier looking. And it is, similar.

I love the fact when I open the App Store, it automatically looks for updates for all the apps I’ve installed and purchased. One app lets me download and update all the installed software from it and that for me, is the main plus side to the app store. Alright, it’s not as polished as the Linux method, as system update is a separate program but it would be nice for each to run at the same time and both update at once if needed.

Advantages

It’s main advantage is as above. But also as a consumer, having access to a central repository of apps is great for flicking through and finding new apps. The Staff Picks and featured apps means I very often find programs I might never have considered or even found had it not been for the feature.

The reviews feature is extremely helpful, even if most of the reviews aren’t. Perhaps Apple should police them a bit more than they do.

Downsides

However, the app store is hard to navigate – well, it’s easy to navigate but to find the decent apps, it’s a struggle. I still find myself relying on external websites such as Mac Appstorm Offsite Link to find myself new, quality programs. This is a flaw but at least the Staff Picks and Featured try to combat this problem.

It would be nice for the App Store to check daily/weekly/customisable time to check for updates – I guess it might already do this having seen the icon on peoples docks with notification numbers on it but I don’t have it in my dock and manually run it (mainly because I try and find new software at least once a week). Would be nice if it ran alongside Software Update as I mentioned above.

Also, where’s our Genius feature? iTunes has it for music and iOS have it for apps on iPhones/iPods, why isn’t there a feature for that in the App Store? Or a “Customers who purchased this also purchased these” feature similar to Amazon? That would be very handy!

Conclusion

Overall,I think the App Store will be here to stay. As the image above shows, I have a considerable number of programs from the App Store and this list is likely to get far longer as time goes on. I’ll be interested to see how major software upgrades plan out – ideally I’d like to see them progress similar to Smultron – two versions are on the App Store and both can be purchased though the developer is focussing on the newer version.

Overall I think the app store is a really good step towards emulating the Linux behaviour of package management. It just needs a few tweaks.

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