The Apple Store for Mac Applications will launch on January 6 2011. According to Apple’s public relations machine :
It will bring the revolutionary App Store experience to Mac OS® X, the Mac App Store makes discovering, installing and updating Mac apps easier than ever. The Mac App Store will be available in 90 countries at launch and will feature paid and free apps in categories like Education, Games, Graphics & Design, Lifestyle, Productivity and Utilities.
OK. I might not be the most neutral person to write about this topic. I actually love Apple stuff.
But I believe that the Apple store for Mac desktop applications is a great idea, also when it comes to information security.
I believe it’s an idea which even might get some followers outside the world of Steve Jobs. Therefore I really hope that Bill Gates gets to read this
Let me explain you why I believe the idea is important for all of us.
Less scamware, less illicit software, less risk
If we have a look at the software industry today and look at how software is distributed, we see a lot of different websites offering software. It might be the website of the author, it might be an online retailer, it might be something less legit.
In this context:
- We see a lot of different software which not always have clear authors (Who wrote the software? Who will support you?)
- We cannot always be sure that our download source is a legitimate source (it might be a site representing as the author, but in fact it is not), so the end user is not 100% sure to buy the “real thing”
- There are no real standards or policies for writing software, so the end user might end up in paying for something which is not up to expectations
- The user might buy software containing backdoors, viruses, or some similar nuisance.
Although I agree that Apple is a bit of a dictator when it comes to allowing software into the Apple Store (examples enough about refused applications for the iPad/iPhone) it has a point that governance is needed on their platform. I agree that there need to be some standards.
The Apple Store for Mac Applications will be a trusted environment for Mac users. When they buy from it, they will know that they buy something which somebody at Apple has screened.
Apple has no interest whatsoever in a pollution of their platform. And when something goes wrong, I’ll bet it won’t take too long before the illicit software will get kicked out.
So from a user’s point of view, I guess it is good to know that you buy software that does not contain anything “fishy”.
From a security perspective, it’s nearly the ideal world, wouldn’t it be for the dominance which Apple clearly has in all of this.
So the question is: Do we give up some of our freedom to buy anywhere for the assurance we get from the Apple Store ? I know I will (if prices are right).
User experience : one-click install
If you look at what most users want when they buy new software is that it would be easy to install. So wouldn’t it be really wonderful to have an experience where you choose what you want, you click on it, pay for it, and that the application would be downloaded automatically and installed seamlessly ?
Perhaps for some power users who would like to tweak their stuff themselves this seems like a nightmare, but for 90% of the people using computers (guessing here, but the number feels right) this is exactly what they want. An updates get pushed through the same channel. This allows for better security as well as the software will stay up to date automatically.
So simple, so clean, so effortless, so very Apple …
Users who really want to install a “farting”-application on their Macs will find other ways to do so, but not through the “trusted” Mac Store.
Now there is one minor disadvantage, something we all need to monitor closely, that is that we should not allow Apple Store to become the only source for Mac software. That would mean a total lockdown and would mean that we would have no choice anymore.
But until then I known I would prefer a choice from a trusted source than a choice where I am not really sure what I’m getting.
So keep up the good work Steve. You are my GOD !
You can read Apple’s press announcement here: