Mac App Store Open for Business, 1,000 Apps Available
As promised, Apple launched the Mac App Store on Thursday (Jan. 6) with over 1,000 apps ready for Mac users to download and use.
"With more than 1,000 apps, the Mac App Store is off to a great start," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs, in a company statement. "We think users are going to love this innovative new way to discover and buy their favorite apps."
Anyone who has used the iOS app store for iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad will immediately feel at home in the Mac App Store. The layout is basically identical, with the homepage showing featured apps and pages for searching by category, top paid and top free apps.
Apple has all its productivity apps available at cheaper prices through the Mac App Store. That includes iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand for $14.99 each; Pages, Keynote and Numbers for $19.99 each; and Aperture for $79.99.
Obviously the rest of the 1,000 apps are composed of third-party titles , many of which will be familiar to Mac users. That includes Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Cheetah 3D and Pixelmator. Surprisingly, there are even a few iOS apps that have been ported over from the iPad. For instance, Angry Birds and the increasingly popular Flight Control HD game are available in the Mac App Store.
All the software purchases through the app store run independently, but the Mac App Store is still responsible for automatically tracking updates and allowing the user to download them anytime. The installation process is also simplified and managed by the app store program.
Apple tracks all user purchases through an Apple ID, similar to how it's done through iTunes. The first time users start a purchased app, they will be asked for that ID, which is cumbersome but less so that dealing with activation keys. Once purchased, the app remains associated with the ID, so even if a user uninstalls it, gets a new computer or loses everything in a disaster, she can still download and install all the same apps again.
The Mac App Store is a separate application that comes as part of a Snow Leopard update (Mac OS X 10.6.6). It's available for download now. So far, some users have noticed problems with the app store recognizing apps already installed on the machine (older versions of iLife, some third party software and even the most recent version of iWork). Apple has yet to respond to inquiries about these problems.