Since the announcement of Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion” last year, Apple has taken a new direction in the development of Mac OS X. They want to combine the user experience of their mobile products running iOS (iPhone and iPad) with their desktop systems. Although Lion is scheduled to be released this summer, they have already released a service called the Mac App Store. Just like their App Store on iOS, this works similarly.
This Apple controlled store gives users the ability to find software and download them. If the developer chooses to ask money for the software, then Apple would receive a small profit.
Although users can purchase software using just one account, there is a major problem. Ask a user of a jailbroken iPhone or iPad why they chose to perform a jailbreak. Some would reply that they could run pirated copies of applications, but the major reason they’d give you is the freedom to install any compatible application. Especially those who are not available in the App Store.
The major problem with the App Store is that Apple controls which apps are available, so they choose what you can run on your device and what not. Apple has tried to prevent people from performing jailbreaks on their devices in order to circumvent the App Store, but to no success. As a matter of fact, a judge in the US has even admitted that jailbreaking is completely legal and therefore Apple can’t sue individuals who have performed a jailbreak.
The Mac App Store is the alternative way to find and install applications, as opposed to looking it up on the Internet and downloading it from there. Of course this is only possible if a developer has submitted an application to the App Store, and Apple has approved it.
To get more people to use the Mac App Store, Apple is giving discounts on products in the Mac App Store. One example is the Professional Photo editing application Aperture. The price in the (Online) Apple Store is around $199, while the version in the Mac App Store is as cheap as $80! This will make sure that people would prefer the Mac App Store to purchase and download applications as opposed to the ‘traditional method’ of acquiring applications.
I’m not sure how other people see it, but I see the Mac App Store as a problem. At the point of writing this blog post, it is just an alternative way to install applications, but this is going to change in the future. Let’s say that almost every Mac user has a Mac App Store account. As part of the continued innovation in Mac OS X, they even have a reason to phase out the traditional way of installing applications. Downloading applications and/or installing them from a(n) (optical) drive would be made impossible. Instead, every user has to use the Mac App Store to install applications.
If an application has not been approved by Apple, it won’t be made available in the App Store and therefore won’t be available on your system. I won’t expect this to happen with Lion, but it might happen with new versions, like Mac OS X 10.8 or later. To make matters worse, Apple could even prevent the installation of Adobe Flash. The new Macbook Air is even the first Apple computer product, that does not have Flash installed. That marks their seriousness.
Don’t expect Steve Jobs to come up on stage and say “okay guys, from now on you can only use the Mac App Store to download apps”. Instead they would praise the new features, and not mention this problem at all. Of course they would remove massive complaints from their message boards (which they also did with the complains about the upgrade issues to Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard”).
So basically you are running a controlled communistic platform. If Apple doesn’t like it, you can’t install it. Of course there will be ways to jailbreak your system, like Cydia which has recently been made available for Mac OS X. But do people really need to perform these steps to get a free system? That’s just ridiculous.
Sounds weird? Think twice. Apple wants to make iOS as an equal platform for both their mobile and desktop products. Mac OS X “Lion” and the Mac App Store are the first steps. Although this can have its advantages, we as customers need to pull their leash sometimes. Show Apple that the customer is still in charge by providing resistance.
That’s why Apple customers shouldn’t massively jump onto the Mac App Store, this gives Apple a reason to use the Mac App Store as the only installation source for 3rd-party applications.
Think this is something to worry about? You can help to prevent this in different ways:
- Avoid the Mac App Store. If that’s not possible, try using it only to download free applications.
- If developers only releases an application for the Mac App Store, ask them kindly to provide a non-App Store download on their website. Tell them you don’t wish to use the Mac App Store.
- If you are a developer yourself, provide your applications as a direct download on your website, instead of a Mac App Store link. You don’t have to ignore the app store, but at least provide an alternative for users who don’t want to use the Mac App Store.
- Spread the word about it. You don’t have to share a link to my blog post, just explain the situation to others.
I don’t use the Mac App Store, and I made an image here to show my choice to the world. You may use this image for yourself, if you like 🙂