On January 6th, 2011 Apple launched the App Store for Mac. Since then, I’ve encountered less than a handful of people with questions about it. In fact, I’ve had to let many people in on the secret of it’s existence and explain how easy it is to purchase, install and keep up to date many of the programs they use on a daily basis.
So what is it?
Most of us are familiar with the App Store on our iOS Devices. It’s the hub where we find applications to extend the functionality of our iPhones, iPads and iPod touches. The Mac App Store is much the same. If you have Snow Leopard (OS 10.6) installed on your computer and have run software updates sometime within the last month (if not, shame on you) then you already have the Mac App Store Installed. Here you can find a quickly growing virtual store of software that can be run on your computer. Whether you’re wanting an app to keep up on the whether, make finding and launching applications and documents easier and faster, or need a good game to play during some down time… it’s all here.
Why should you care?
For a number of reasons actually. To keep my OCD brain focused, we’re going to number them:
1. Easy of use
What process would you normally go through to find a program to… lets say find lyrics for all the music in your iTunes library? You know, so you don’t look so dumb next time you try and sing along with Lady Gaga. If you’re me you would:
Open your web browser, google something like “add lyrics iTunes”; dig through results to find a post where someone explains how to do it; open another tab with another search for the program the previous post mentioned; parse through those results to get the developers website; find the download page; download the program; find the folder on my computer it downloaded to; double click it to install; delete the original download; navigate to my applications and find the installed program; run it; find out that this program didn’t do exactly what I wanted; uninstall it; start from step 1 to find another that will work.
That is way too much trouble to find a simple application to do a simple task. Enter the App Store. You can now launch the App Store from your applications folder or the Apple icon in the top left of your screen; type lyrics in the handy search bar; look through the results comparing pricing, rating and features; click 1 button to install it on your system; launch the program from your dock and you’re done. It’s incredibly simple to install with a single click of mouse.
This doesn’t just make finding online software easier, but many of the things found in the App Store are things previously sold only in brick and mortar stores, and that list is continuing to grow. You don’t even have to leave the house anymore! All I can say is, please keep coming to see us
At this point developers placing their software in the App Store are finding a massive increase in sales versus selling it in big box stores or on their websites simply because of accessibility. Because of this and other reasons which become a whole post of their own, developers are playing around with and rethinking their price points. We’re seeing some software debut on the App Store at discounted (sometimes heavily) prices. Even with Apple’s own products. The biggest example here is photo editing program Aperture. Once priced at $199.00 is now marked down to $79.99! That’s as far as we can tell a permanent price reduction. The same goes for software suites such as iWork. Currently listed at $79.00 for the package of Pages, Numbers and Keynote at any retail store, you can purchase these individually on the App Store for $19.99. Therefore, even if you purchased all 3 applications this way, you save almost $10. Applications in the App Store are also prone to have special sales. I’ve learned this from purchasing often on my iPhone. On certain days, weekends and especially around the holidays you can find 3rd party applications sold for much less than the standard price.
3. Batch Updates
Whenever you launch the App Store you’ll find an “Updates” button in the upper window. This icon will have a numbered badge on it if any of your applications have updates available. If so, you can click an “Update All” button and all your updates will download and installed automatically much like the system updates on the mac happen.
4. Install On Multiple Computers
Items you download can be installed on ALL of your computers! This is the holy grail of software purchasing! No longer do you have to worry about purchasing piece of software with fine print that says “Licensed for 1 computer only.” If you purchase Aperture for $79.00 on your laptop then go home and launch the App Store on your iMac you’ll find Aperture listed under the “Purchases” tab. Click the install button and seconds later, you’re done. No money exchanges hands, no one comes after you for violating your software agreement, your Apple ID indicates that you own that piece of software and can use it across every machine you own. This also means you don’t have to keep up with disks anymore. You have a central place where all of your software resides so if you have to reinstall anything at any time, it’s done with the click of a button.
I find browsing through the App Store really fun. It’s like a treasure hunt trying to find software that may just be a time waster or ends up being something I suddenly can’t live without. And there are tons out there! I find myself downloading whether free or paid more software than ever before. I have 168 applications on my iPhone and since the App Store has released the number on my mac is ever increasing also.
How do you get it?
You need a few things to get started with the Mac App Store. A Mac with an Intel processor, OS 10.6 Snow Leopard, an Apple ID with valid credit card for purchases made. Once these things are together, run software updates to make sure you have the App Store downloaded, launch the store from the Apple logo in the top left of your menu bar, sign in with your Apple ID and you’re off!