Sunday, 4 May 2008

Mac App Store

Last month, we published some speculation from MacPredictions reader Doug Best on the rumored forthcoming iPhone updates. His prediction of the introduction of a range of iPods with a thicker 3G model have subsequently been corroborated by a number of reliable rumor websites, so it seems like Doug is in the zone at the moment. Here below is another prediction from Doug - a logical and strategically sound idea for Apple to introduce an App Store for Mac along the same lines as the planned App Store for iPhone.

"The upcoming App Store for the iPhone is already seeing incredible interest, not only from developers large and small, but users eager to consume its goods, and investors watching to see how it unfolds; US venture capital firm Kliener Perkins Caufield & Byers, in fact, has unveiled a $100 million iPhone fund for developers. An incredibly rich ecosystem of software for Apple portable devices could be on the horizon.

An easy to access, easy to use online store for buying mobile software, where an individual developer's $5.95 application could theoretically get the same exposure as a Fortune 500 company - it's a model currently non-existent (despite efforts) for the Windows Mobile or RIM world. Could the App Store be the killer app for iPhone?

Apple thinks so. And so does Kleiner Perkins. And anyone who mulls it over for any period of time will probably come to the same conclusion. But what about an App Store for the desktop Macs?

Say what? An App Store for my iMac, Mac Pro, MacBook or Mac Mini? But I can already go to a brick and mortar and buy a box with a CD in it, or order it from Amazon, or often purchase and download directly from the distributor. What can Apple do to make it better?

Alot, Apple thinks. Let's talk through it:

They can bring all those titles together under one roof, make finding and buying them easier and prettier and more enjoyable then ever with Apple's legendary ease of use and interface expertise.

This also creates an incredible opportunity for smaller developers to get the kind of exposure they could only dream of otherwise; the public will find a wealth of software titles they may otherwise have never heard of; the OS X software universe continues to get bigger and better, everyone is happy.

Imagine being able to instantly search, browse, purchase and download almost any Mac software title out there. Of course, larger titles like games or Adobe CS3 may take hours to download, but Apple is planning on an option for those who don't want to wait or don't have broadband - make the purchase in App Store, go into an Apple Store (brick and mortar) and have it burned on disc right there and pick it up. In fact, from your iPhone/iPod Touch you could purchase half a dozen titles totaling several gigabytes, and then pick them up on DVD from an Apple Store. Or just browse the App Store from within an Apple Store while visiting and have it burned on disc to take with you. Secure mirrored servers will make it possible.

The savings in boxes, paper, and printing should make Greenpeace happy. And since Apple takes a small slice of eery sale, it's a handsome revenue generator for them.

Also, App Store can store purchase info and registration/serial numbers, and notify when updates are available. Buy a new iMac or have your laptop stolen. No problem, log onto App Store with your new Mac and re-download and install all your purchases.

Apple is also striving to make the online shopping experience more user-friendly. Imagine being able to "see" people online looking at the same products, and then ask them what they think or have they used it before, etc. Its a totally interactive shopping experience.

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