As for developers? For more than half of 2009, the App Store paid for my rent and cell phone bill. It helped me move across the country to the west coast. This was huge for me. I barely had to do much more than write code, design UI, and ship things. A huge chunk of the business of actually selling bits to other people was abstracted behind a bunch of buttons on iTunes Connect. This was such a powerful thing – I couldn't have had anything close to the moderate success I did without Apple's App Store strategy.
This is going to enable a new wave of great work for OS X. This platform already has some of the best shareware and freeware ever. Now that indie Mac devs will have an easy way to get paid, they'll be able to devote even more attention to their wares.
EDIT: to all the replies about how you still have a choice of distribution on OS X: yes, you do right now, but who knows how long that will last? As I said, this might be the first step in locking down the platform. I don't believe this will happen in 1 or 2 or 3 years, but maybe 5 years.
Of course you're not excited about this. You're a brilliant nerd who founded a startup that invented a new programming language. This isn't for you. Or for me.
Getting to be Nerd Jesus every time a computer runs into trouble is gratifying. We get to be important. We get to trick out our gear to do all kinds of goofy, custom stuff. We get to build things that are neat.
Serving our needs is certainly important. It's important, also, to understand that we are the minority. Everyone else just wants a tool that works. The majority of human beings on earth find computers to be mystifying, frustrating, even scary things. Absent Nerd Jesus, the computer just seems to have a mind of its own. It has its own agenda and interacting with it is an exercise in guesswork and black magic.
What the iPad, and the iPhone before it, has taught us is simple: people want a computer they understand. They want technology, but optimizing for Nerd Jesus has given them shit technology that doesn't respect them, so they're used to being defensive around it.
This is all a long way of saying that I agree with you – this could be a first step in "locking down the platform" for you and me. And streamlining it so it's actually useful for everyone else who doesn't fetishize the Terminal, kernel extensions or compilers.
I think there will always be a place for Nerd Jesus to do his thing. But instead of being the focus of the market, we're finally going to focus on the vast majority of what most people actually care about doing.
We'll see what it costs us from a nerd perspective. I suspect it's less than we think – aside from the high of our indispensability as troubleshooters, of course.
...except that so many Apple fans have also retroactively determined that OS X is actually completely unusable unless you're an uber-nerd.
And streamlining it so it's actually useful for everyone else who doesn't fetishize the Terminal, kernel extensions or compilers.
How does getting rid of the terminal improve the experience for the average user who has no idea it even exists?
A product like the iPad, which didn't exist a year ago, provides an interesting reference for what computing could be outside the existing rules. My mom has a much, much easier time using the iPad than her Mac, and can do many of the same tasks with it.
Oh, orangecat. Look at these strawmen.
> OS X is actually completely unusable unless you're an uber-nerd.
Not really. It's just a lot more usable for nerds. And less so the less you know about technology. Again, compare this to the iPad, whose usability remains about the same regardless of where you exist in the tech savviness distribution. Once you learn how to use it, which is easy, you're fine.
> How does getting rid of the terminal improve the experience
It... doesn't. Liking the terminal, like caring about compilers or kernel extensions, signals being a technical user. Getting rid of kexts or gcc would be similarly irrelevant to the user experience.
Apple dedicated a huge chunk of today's talk, and consequently a huge chunk of development resources, to their creative tools. The whole bicycle for the mind stuff – this is very important to Apple's overall mission, history and perception.
And in the end, being technically creative is something I think they'll always want to support. I don't know what form it will take but I do not think Apple is going to turn its backs on the sort of people who can help them make the very best stuff for their platforms.
It reminds me of At Ease, actually. When I was a kid, I was tired of the rest of the family breaking the computer in one way or another. So I set up At Ease for a couple of years and everything was great. When I needed the Mac, I'd log into the desktop proper.
I doubt the final mainstream outcome will be as draconian in its limitations as was At Ease. But I think it will be just as simple. And hopefully, just as opt-out for everyone who needs more.
I've run Linux on the desktop in one form or another (laptop, desktop, or server) since Red Hat Linux 6.2. That was over a decade ago. And, guess what? We're still fighting over GNOME vs. KDE (or fluxbox), and apt-get vs yum (or port), .rpm vs .deb (or .tar.gz). You still can't grab a package from Ubuntu and install it on your Fedora box (well, not without a tremendous amount of headache), and if you go strictly upstream, you have to be at the terminal every time a new version comes out (./configure + remember the build options you want, make, make install).
Windows, unfortunately, is in the middle, and it's still, 15 years later, a virus-prone rooted-zombie mess, albeit with a supposedly pretty good modern browser coming real soon now.
> Of course you're not excited about this. You're a brilliant nerd who
> founded a startup that invented a new programming language. This isn't for
> you. Or for me.
> Getting to be Nerd Jesus every time a computer runs into trouble is
> gratifying. We get to be important. We get to trick out our gear to do all
> kinds of goofy, custom stuff. We get to build things that are neat.
Secondly, what does 'tricking out your gear to do all kinds of goofy, custom
stuff' have to do with being 'Nerd Jesus?' Would you call car-modders 'Auto
Jesus' if they were to complain that an car company made it harder to perform
3rd party modifications to their products?
How does building neat things and 'tricking out your gear' make you 'Nerd
Jesus' or make it so that you 'get to be important?'
> Serving our needs is certainly important. It's important, also, to
> understand that we are the minority. Everyone else just wants a tool that
> works. The majority of human beings on earth find computers to be
> mystifying, frustrating, even scary things. Absent Nerd Jesus, the computer
> just seems to have a mind of its own. It has its own agenda and interacting
> with it is an exercise in guesswork and black magic.
> What the iPad, and the iPhone before it, has taught us is simple: people
> want a computer they understand. They want technology, but optimizing for
> Nerd Jesus has given them shit technology that doesn't respect them, so
> they're used to being defensive around it.
> This is all a long way of saying that I agree with you – this could be a
> first step in "locking down the platform" for you and me. And streamlining
> it so it's actually useful for everyone else who doesn't fetishize the
> Terminal, kernel extensions or compilers.
To frame this discussion a little differently, do you believe that instituting
a police state would result in a more stream-lined society?
Things like kernel extensions and compilers aren't "going away." Apple is just
trying their best to obfuscate them, and the fears in technical groups is that
Apple wants to make it impossible to access them. Are you really of the mind
that it is impossible to have a stream-lined experience on a technical device
if the possibility of gaining access to a compiler exists?
Most of people's annoyance with iOS is not that it's streamlined. It's that
Apple wants to be the gatekeeper, who gets to tell you what kind of software
you can run on your device. There are plenty of types of software that are
outside of the realm of uber technical people that Apple will not allow on
the device that would enhance the lives of many.
> I think there will always be a place for Nerd Jesus to do his thing. But
> instead of being the focus of the market, we're finally going to focus on
> the vast majority of what most people actually care about doing.
> We'll see what it costs us from a nerd perspective. I suspect it's less
> than we think – aside from the high of our indispensability as
> troubleshooters, of course.
To all that upvoted this: Really HN? Really? Anyone that doesn't want a locked-down system is just some 'stupid nerd' that thinks he's going to lose his 'in' with pretty girls because they won't need their computers fixed? That seems to be the crux of this argument.
Besides, Apple are being much more liberal re iOS approval of late - the old times are long gone except the odd mistake here and there.
EDIT: I wonder if this will act as a proving ground for apple re dual App Store + adhoc distribution ala android market?
EDIT2: I'm just going to come out and say it... At times I worry about installing random dmgs I find on the web. If Apple can approve the apps and ensure they are genuine and won't harm my system then I wouldn't be surprised if I'd end up switching to the Mac App Store for all my apps... With exceptions for companies I know well.
This is a potentially an awesome social-engineering solution to malware/viruses in the long-run.
EDIT3: Final edit as my startup won't launch itself! :P To anyone suggesting Apple will take away adhoc OSX installations and replace purely with Mac store:
1/ On what timescale? This would be very long-term - we'd adapt
2/ Is it really a problem? See Edit2 above for at least one benefit.
I personally don't think Apple would try to go this way, but I also didn't think they'd be such pains in the ass about cross-compiled applications getting on to iOS devices (i.e. Flash apps compiled down to work on iOS).
As for integrity - personally I think they've done many things that lacked integrity. The language ban was very low and put many small companies that were developing cross compilers right out of business. That's a huge ethical issue even if you think it was justified for whatever reasons Jobs claimed it was necessary.
Today OSX users are very fortunate that they don't have to deal with viruses or spyware, but the good times will change eventually and Apple will lose the marketing advantage of being able to brag about being worry-free. If they felt that their market would be interested in some kind of Apple version of Microsoft Bob then why wouldn't they pursue that?
You clearly seem to be a fan of Apple's products, help me understand how speculating on the possibility of Apple converging its operating systems is even remotely FUD?
Google says "do no evil" yet arbitrarily punishes websites with ranking, cancels people's adwords and adsense accounts, and employes (apparently) zero customer service and has no interest in resolving any issues people might have.
Microsoft- do I really need to go over the history of microsoft's lapses in integrity?
Dell-- was making all of its profit via kickbacks from intel and failed to report it to investors, denying investors an honest accounting of how its business was really cratering.
I could go on....
Apple brands itself as "different" and progressive, using '60s counterculture icons, then turns into the most prudish schoolmarm imaginable and bans any app that could offend anyone — including a Pulitzer-winning political satirist, and any book-reading app that doesn't explicitly block you from reading the Kama Sutra. I swear I am not making that second example up.
Apple proceeds to promise developers that adult-oriented apps will be accepted once parental controls are in, accepts a bunch of them at that time, then retroactively removes all of them from the store with no recourse for the developers. Apple also arbitrarily rejects apps (much more viciously than Google rejects Web pages — Google around and you'll read horror stories), and kept Google Voice in approval limbo for more than a year.
Not saying it's fixed, but I do think it's a lot better.
REPLY TO EDIT2: The iOS App Store's review process doesn't do much for security. As demonstrated by the flashlight WiFi proxy app it's trivial to get code (malicious or not) past the reviewers. The security on iPhone comes from sandboxing of apps.
With the phone, it was a new device, and in many ways, it makes sense to lock it down.
The Mac has a 25 year legacy, and if they were to take away that choice, so many people would leave the platform. Apple might be jerks a lot of the time, but they're hardly stupid.
Absolutely. It's happened (and happening) to Android. Carriers block rooting. Carriers block sideloading. Carriers add apps that can't be removed. They swap search engines and remove the settings. Each time a change flies in the marketplace, they get emboldened.
Today, experiencing the "choice" Android promised is contingent on flawless and thorough research, with tomorrow looking increasingly worse.
But where's the earnest geek concern about the slippery slope when we talk about Android fragmentation? That ball is busily picking up speed, but we don't talk about it.
We talk about how fragmentation isn't real or isn't a big deal. Even while every tom, dick and harry lets loose their plans of an Android future that doesn't include Google's marketplace, likely won't include side-loading, rooting or half the "choice" we like to pretend separates Android from iOS.
Yet in the context of Apple --where this change would require Apple reversing momentum, against developer wishes, after having quite publicly reversed the scope-creep of 3.3.1 after developer backlash-- we seem to be unable to talk about anything else.
So while an Apple U-turn is a legitimate concern, it's still FUD to put this big a spotlight onto it for those two big reasons:
1. Recent evidence suggests, if anything, it's less-likely than ever.
2. The focus is completely out of proportion with what the issue receives in other contexts.
The more realistic outcome out of this is that the App Store will be so popular that it marginalizes any developer who uses any other method of distribution.
That, I see as a negative, and more likely outcome than a complete application lockdown on the OS.
It's also worth noting that the slippery slope argument is widely regarded as a fallacy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slippery_slope
I know CS5 is now 64-bit on both Windows and OSX, but the OSX users had to wait an extra 18 months because of Apple, not because of Adobe.
Also, a lot of us who develop on OS X actually use the unix tool chain. Something like homebrew or fink just won't fit into the app store framework.
Edit: that said, I do see the positive aspects of it. So long as it is permanently optional, I think it's a good thing. Sadly, it seems Apple does not have good relationship with it's developers. At least if you take the number of fearful comments as evidence.
Matlab, Photoshop, etc, are not compatible with the guidelines, so unless Apple wants to do away with entire market segments, they're going to continue allowing traditional development and installs, with the App Store being an optional distribution method.
It seems pretty clear to me that this is aimed at enticing small developers who are interested in finding a way to get exposure and don't want to deal with the hassle of setting up their own licensing and billing infrastructure. It's probably great for a one-man hobbyist looking to turn a small profit on the side.
It's manifestly not going to be interesting to companies that already have mind-share and marketing arms and multiple retail channels, and why would it be? They don't need the exposure or the overhead.
That more than anything else ought to indicate that this isn't some dastardly plot to lock down the desktop.
Many Mac developers initially learnt by making small apps and making them available to everyone. I bet the iPhone App Store would have a lot less crap on it if new developers were able to learn iPhone development without having to pay a subscription and put their first apps on the App Store (and no, ad hoc does not count).
Meanwhile, those of us who have been developers for apple platforms during that time have never seen apple screw us over and find this kind of fear to be asinine.
It makes for good press to boost your page views, though, and so any burp eminating from cupertino is used to rationalize wild speculation and assertiosn that it is proof that steve jobs is a control freak who wants to run your life.
Apple introduced App signing in Leopard. You've been able to produce signed apps since around that time. That's all the appstore on the mac needs. Apple won't care what toolchain you use...
As a multi-platform developer that doesn't use objective-c, but still finding OS X to be a great development platform, I am very much distrustful of Apple. Why? Because of how they've conducted themselves with iOS.
Is such fear reasonable? I feel it is. Mostly because I don't see users such as myself to be in Apples current or future target market. Few to no new features target users like myself, and the iOS platform is almost hostile towards anything that doesn't fit with Apple technologies and apis.
Not only that, but iOS has been extremely successful for them in terms of income. It makes a lot of business sense that they would want to push OS X towards the same highly profitable model. I do hope that they keep OS X as open as it is now, but I'd say the mistrust is very reasonable.
You must be terrified by all things in general.
Hint: there's an easy fix for that. Search for people reviews on that download service or app ;)
Remember, OSX is mainstream now. And mainstream is not sourceforge/github/aptitude/macports
Ultimately I don't think that they will ever take away the ability to run arbitrary code on their desktop OS.
In practice, it seems like the difficulty of getting eyeballs and converting them into sales is generally much more likely to kill your app than having Apple reject it. Optimizing for the latter case is not rational unless you have a strong reason to believe your app will be rejected.
Cohabitation: it could be fatal! Best to be avoided.
As much as I want to sell offline web apps to any platform, that store doesn't yet exist.
In order to lock down the desktop so as to make a Mac App Store the only way to obtain executable content, Apple would have to fundamentally re-invent the way people build iOS and OS X apps. I just don't see developers sticking with the platform once Xcode is a hosted web app. Chasing away their developer community would effectively cede the market for mobile apps to Android.
Apple's strategic, long term focus is clearly and unambiguously "mobile computing for the common man." Providing a dirt-simple app distribution platform makes sense within the context of mobile computing. Making it substantially harder to create iOS apps, relative to other mobile platforms, is contrary to Apple's strategic goals.
If any discounts amounted to more than the cost of the premium developer content (i.e., $99), non-developers would pay the fee just to get the discounts.
More likely is that more of Apple's product line, and more of everyone's computing, will shift to iOs.
I'd bet there's a huge number of computer owners who don't understand or don't care to buy and install software. They get their computer from Dell preloaded with Office 20XX and never (intentionally) install software again. Apple is creating a market of normal people who impulse-buy software.
Well... It's still exciting, specially if you root for Apple's competition ;-)
1 - Price deflation. There is a bit of a connotation that App Store means lots of 99 cents apps. Yes, it's not the same platform as the iPhone, but people jumping from the iPhone App Store are going to have some preconceived expectations.
2 - Family licensing. You normally pay a premium for family licensing of a lot of Mac software. This is going to disappear as a pricing tier, so how are developers going to react, given item #1, above?
3 - Marginalization of devs who don't want to participate in the App Store. App Store will be a major way for users to find software. If you're not in there (whether by your choice or Apple's choice), your revenue opportunities could head south.
Having said that, I think the App Store is going to be great for the more non-technical users who use the Mac.
* edit : Example, 1password is normally 39.95, 5 user family pack is 69.95. How would it be priced on the App store?
that could be a draw to some developers.
But yes - definitely excited!
/me stops speculating and gets back to work
Developers planning to go cross-platform to Windows would be better off with Steam.
For example, I produce accounting software - here are the problems my would-be users face:
1. Where can users find a list of suitable accounting software products? Usually they Google 'accounting software', but this gives them plenty of crud such as: a) accountants websites; b) accounting software from other countries. c) advice websites. d) accounting software for big companies
2. When users get to a website for an accounting product, it can be difficult to to find out even basic information such as: a) The price; b) Screenshots; c) the Download button; d) the 'Buy Now' button. The App Store listings make this as plain as the nose on your face.
3. How can users compare accounting software products? At the moment you have to find a website with software reviews and hope the information is up-to-date, impartial and accurate. The ratings system in the App Store is better than almost any website.
4. The user doesn't know how easy or painful it is to install the software until they try. On windows, if they try downloading setup.exe they get TWO warnings saying 'This could harm your computer... are you sure?'. Maybe they remember last April when they clicked OK to a similar message and ended up with a virus. With the App Store the user knows that it's a one-click install and will not get any scary messages about harming their computer.
5. Can the user trust the website to process their credit card details correctly. Maybe they remember the last time they tried on another website and the site froze after they clicked 'submit' so they didn't know if it had worked. Or they read about a company that had all their credit card details stolen. The Mac Store is seen as far more trustworthy by Average Joe because it is run by Apple.
6. The software update process for App Store is a breeze - better than most ad-hoc software update solutions. And the user knows it before they install the accounting software because they have already used it for updating other software.
My guess is that the Mac App Store will be huge, and being ranked well will be like striking gold. Let the gold rush begin!
Obviously getting software onto desktop computers has happened before. You're ignoring the power of Apple's approach.
I mean, what, should we stick with distributing everything on 3.5" floppy disks because that, once upon a time, worked? Cardboard boxes? Advocating to maintain a 30 year status quo on anything is... questionable, but doubly so on something as crucially important and evolving as digital distribution.
Similarly, I think you'd be downvoted for saying something like "Already do styling in HTML, works fine, t-shirt, blurgh" in a thread about the power of CSS3. Sure one works. But the new method works better.
The amount of work you simply do not have to do with Apple as your App Store distribution partner is incredible. Instead of giving away a piece of software because it wouldn't bring in enough money to offset the trouble and cost of a licensing mechanism and merchant account, you can throw it onto the App Store for $5 and make a bit of cash in a few clicks.
> "The problem of distribution and monetization for desktop software is significant and largely unsolved."
This is a factually untrue statement. Folks have been distributing and monetizing software quite successfully at least as far back as the 80's. I personally bought software, and sold software, in the 80's. Shocking, right? In the pre-App Store era. It's not difficult actually. Has Apple made it a little bit easier, given certain assumptions and constraints? Of course. But only if in exchange for that you put up with a whole extra set of problems and Big Brother rules you have to deal with, and hurdles to jump through, and restrictions to deal with, and uncertainty around what they will or will not allow you to do. I've been creating and shipping iPhone software for about 2 years now. I've distributed and monetized software both without and before the App Store, and in the App Store. I know whereof I speak.
I find your comment rude and full of hyperbole. Statements like these are just as easily reversible and would still hold true:
> "The amount of work you simply do not have to do with Apple as your App Store distribution partner is incredible."
For example, could be reversed as: The amount of extra work and bullshit you have to put up with simply by distributing through the App Store is just incredible.
Here's another one:
> " (...) Instead of giving away a piece of software because it wouldn't bring in enough money to offset the trouble and cost of a licensing mechanism and merchant account, you can throw it onto the App Store for $5 and make a bit of cash in a few clicks."
PayPal makes it pretty darn easy to let people buy your software on the web. And however "easy" you think it is to just "throw something" in the App Store, I guarantee you it's easier to just throw something up on a web server. I can write a shell script, then with a few keystrokes push it up to a live site and my customers can get it, instantly, with no complex submission process, no rules, no fear of either the content or functionality being proactively or retroactively rejected, at any time.
I have an additive view of the world in that I think having more options is always a good thing. Does the App Store have good points? Sure, so it's great to have as an option. Are there bad things about it, and the iOS development model, and Apple's behavior/control in general? Of course. But to simply dismiss other ways of distributing software, and describe it as an unsolved problem, is clearly factually false and hyperbole. It looks at it through rose-tinted glasses, at a minimum, and arguably also with a great lack of awareness of both modern and past alternatives.
Thanks for talking it out with me – I definitely see your point.
Especially with regard to my being hyperbolic. I should have said it's unsolved to the degree of my preference – in that there's no one-click purchase that lubricates things as there is on iOS. I mean, I'm biased because the App Store's market power really, really worked for me, so I want to believe it can work for many others.
PayPal, in the end, isn't bad, but it is frictiony by comparison. And while it solves the monetization problem, it does nothing for distribution, which is even harder.
For me, I view Steam as the finest digital distribution mechanism yet devised. I've been eager for it to go beyond games, and Apple's App Store is doing that, so I'm excited. Everything else looks like ass by comparison, regardless of the tradeoffs in Apple's devil's agreement.
You claim that people have been releasing desktop software just fine. Utter nonsense. If you're Microsoft, Adobe, etc. then it's been ok but if you're a sole developer making indie software the normal distribution routes weren't available. That meant going on some shareware site, freshmeat, make your own site or something else and hope people can find you.
The App store changes all this for the mainstream desktop  and it's going to be a big deal for indie developers. I'm surprised to see so many people on this site poo pooing it as this has to be one of the most startup-relevant things to happen to the desktop in decades.
 Linux has had this for a long time and it was one of its few advantages as a desktop system.
Compare this to Linux package managers, where a simple "sudo apt-get yada yada" line or two updates everything on your system, whether first party or third party.
Insofar as a Mac App Store solves that problem, great.
* Don't Install
* Install Update Now
* Install Update on Quit
The third option is perfect. I wish more apps did this.
Also- Why wouldn't they base it on the already successful package distribution platform they have for iOS devices?
In short, yes.
My hope is that this will lead to a renaissance of development for the desktop.
2. I hope App Store apps will be sandboxed and prevented from polluting the system.
3. I hope Adobe switches to the App Store model, and that it will mean that the behavior of the horrific Creative Suite installer will finally be reigned in (take a look in /Applications/.AdobePatchFiles and check how large it is).
Adobe's installers are just a non-accessible custom UI on top of a normal (and perfectly accessible) OSX package installer. They're convoluted for the sake of being convoluted.
I doubt it's less then 30% and I'd wager that Adobe still ships a lot of software in boxes.
Lets hope it doesn't go that way.
Too much worry about Apple- which has been treating people well and going above and beyond the call of duty for decades, and no worry about the government which has just blown up the biggest bubble the country has seen and then blamed it on bankers.
I'm not worried too much about Apple, but no one can contest that Apple leans towards being very controlling over their platforms.
I mean, if we are going to be making up unlikely scenarios out of whole cloth, why stop at half-measures?
From Apple's business perspective, it would make sense to lock you in -- they probably don't want to foot the bill to advertise for you and then you go sell your software on the side full price without Apple getting their cut.
From developers' perspective, this would severely limit distribution channels, and force them to give up 30% of revenue.
In theory, a developer could release the "lite" version of his app, and link to his own distribution mechanism within that app. Is this allowed?
Or increase their prices by 43% just for the store.
I'd say try finding a software publisher that will give you a deal anywhere near that good, but if you're already distributing your software electronically...
If a significantly higher number of people are going to find and one-click install my product on the App Store, that makes the cut well worth it.
1. Give out promo codes. IIRC, you get 100 codes per app version, so if you've got a lot of customers this isn't really feasible.
2. Discount the product for a given time period (ie the first 24 hours you're live) and blast out an email to existing customers. In the backend, you can even set automatic price changes so you don't have to go and manually change it back.
3. Release a new version. Customers are used to paying for major updates. If you give existing customers discounts on updates, see #2.
This brings up another question. In iOS, there is no good way to charge for an update - user buys once and gets free updates for life. Will they change that with the OS X App Store?
The solution for this on iOS is the same as on Mac or Windows - release a new version. From 2.0 to 3.0, a lot of companies will charge for the update. Do the same thing on iOS by releasing a new app entirely. This also lets you fix bugs in the old version for users that don't want to update.
The only thing missing in that plan is an upgrade price. Apple really needs to consider adding something along those lines.
For that matter, I can't really see Adobe (for example) wanting to give 30% of the cost of Photoshop to Apple.
On the other hand, I think this is potentially fantastic for smaller developers -- it will make it easier for people to find their apps, and as with the iPad/iPhone, that 30% cut to let Apple manage all the billing issues for you might be well worth it.
Makes me wonder if big companies like Adobe will be able to negotiate a better price with Apple behind closed doors, in exchange for helping to legitimize the new store to both users and developers.
OTOH, if they don't jump on board, they might lose a large number of potential "prosumer" customers to upstarts like Acorn and Pixelmator.
I'm still skeptical that MS can ship an app store with Windows and not run afoul of anti-trust laws. We shall see.
If you want to keep getting updates to Safari, etc., you better have the Mac App Store installed which will (coincidentally) try to get you to spend cash money while you're in there.
That said, I think developers should be very concerned for a couple of reasons:
1. People will automatically associated this with the iOS App Store experience, which will drive prices way down for richer desktop applications. That was my very first thought.
2. Apple will justify a review and approval process for desktop applications on the basis of something like "application security" and "keeping viruses off your Mac". They went that direction with the argument of eliminating porn, which was silly.
In the end, this closes the software ecosystem. It may work for Apple, but I'm not sure I would want to be a part of it.
Why does everyone keep saying this? Supply and demand! If you think your software is worth more, charge more for it!
What about this particular NDA strikes you as being exceptional or impermissible?
What's to prevent people from inserting malware into their applications? Unlike the iPhone, OSX isn't sandboxed. And there's no way Apple's approval process can possibly check for possible badness hiding in the compiled code.
Unless, of course, they are building a special sandbox for these OSX apps as well. Which means that you'll have to write apps specifically for this platform.
Why you would wait until there is an app store that gives a large company a lot more information on who you are and where the authorities should come find you before inserting malware, I can't even begin to guess.
The first time an OSX app store has malware in it, it's going to be big news. And it's going to make Apple look bad, since by putting it in their store their effectively condoning it.
What's to stop something like this from happening: http://venturebeat.com/2010/07/28/android-wallpaper-app-that...
In the days when I used Windows, I naturally only downloaded "official" apps and avoided any sort of non-famous/non-open source shareware for years -- the spyware/toolbars/etc. are just too rampant. I have an Android phone that I use for development, and there, I too am incredibly cautious about what I download. The "open" Android platform actually prevents me from discovering potentially amazing indie software because, well, I just can't trust it.
Revoke the developer's code signing keys
Freeze the developer's payments
Alert the authorities about the developer
Revoke the app from the app store
Push an "upgrade" notification to every registered user to remove the application
Or even more drastic, engage the application kill switch
I'm really not sure how you think a fully managed software platform will have more malware problems than the run-arbitrary-code-off-the-internet system we have now. It seems like it's actually a killer solution to the problem.
I am someone who uses multiple computing devices throughout my day, and the idea of having my phone, a hand held tablet, and my desktop/laptop all in sync sharing my data with a click of a button is a very enticing proposal.
Yes there are concerns about whether Apple completely closes down developers of OS X, but I just cannot see this as a likely event.
Apple is all about user experience. What Apple is doing right now is laying the ground work for the future.
Imagine 10-15 years from now your vehicle, home, place of work, even a personal robotic assistant all running on one platform acting in sync. Some may think it is scary, but to me it is the natural progression of technology.
Helping to make life more entertaining, and helping to rid us of our everyday problems is why we consume these devices. I think we are all lucky to experience what is happening in this industry.
Change is hard, but we are the consumers of these products and we get to shape them contrary to what it sometimes feels like.
While I share tlrobinson's concern about the mac getting locked down (and therefore dumbed down) like iOS, I think at least it is now clear that we have several years in front of us, at least, where Apple won't try that.
A Mac app I worked on a couple years back got "Staff Pick" on Apple's old, lame, "Get Mac OS X Software" page that just linked to our site. Lame as that page was, we saw a considerable sales bump. But it was nothing like the gargantuan effect we've seen from getting featured on the iOS app store.
The exposure from getting featured is major, but even if it doesn't happen, the fact that Apple handles billing and provides the one-step, one-click process is a huge win for the developer.
I expect that with an Apple-backed Mac app store, if you have Mac apps that are at all successful in the market now, you're going to see a massive increase in unit sales.
I think that would be the case even if the Mac installed base was magically frozen at this point in time. (And that definitely _isn't_ the case.)
He was definitely right. ~6 years later, and we're about to see a bunch of web apps re-written as desktop software.
Here's to hoping I can get away with using this loophole in the desktop App Store as well.
I'd be happy to analyze how awesome this site is http://www.apple.com/downloads/ if anyone wants to have an actual discussion rather than just anonymously show vague disapproval.
Apple is a minority player in computers, there isn't going to be a chilling effect even if they did something as monumentally stupid as only allowing apps installed via their Mac App Store.
* The market is currently validating their stance of no porn on the iOS App Store with quite good sales.
The danger comes partly in the so-called tyranny of the majority. Just because the majority prefers something over the minority doesn't necessarily mean it's right. Also, just because the iOS App Store has a heavy-handed approach to adult content and yet it's doing well financially, it doesn't mean (1) that it couldn't do even better if it didn't have the heavy-handed approach, and (2) that all markets/channels should adopt the same approach. Those conclusions just do not follow, in my judgment.
Also, while Apple does many smart things, they are not perfect. I would not rule out them doing something you or I might consider as monumentally stupid. They are human. They make mistakes, and they have a different perspective, and their interests are not always aligned with ours.
edit: I mean Launchpad, not "home screen"...
- An application store for OS X
- Facetime for the Mac, which links with Facetime on other Apple devices
- An instant-on MacBook Air, 11” and 13” models, starting at $999
- The next major version of the Mac OS X, “Lion” (and iLife 11)
Individually and as a collection, these new product announcements are interesting. Apple is extending the value it delivers to its Mac customers by launching a combination of new hardware (MacBook Air) combined with an innovative operating system (OS X Lion), building out a collection of new complements (OS X application store), and further linking Macs with Apple’s other thin computing devices (via Facetime).
If we step back, and consider today’s announcements from a broader perspective, we can gain some insight about Apple’s overall corporate strategy with respect to its position in the future of computing.
Apple’s recent product innovations have largely focused around thin devices, first the iPod, then the iPhone and Touch, the Apple TV, and recently the iPad. The new MacBook Air coupled with the new Mac OS X Lion represents a natural progression from the iPad. While Apple’s other thin devices are better suited for consuming content and media, the new MacBook Air is Apple’s first thin device that is particularly well suited for creating content and media (note that Apple is referring to the new MacBook Air as “The Next Generation of MacBooks”). Meanwhile, the new OS X application store extends Apple’s success with iTunes and the App Store to the Mac environment, thus further establishing Apple’s presence in cloud services and online media. Facetime, along with other services such as MobileMe, provides the linkages that begin connecting all these thin devices and services together.
Looking broadly, Apple is now pushing the frontier on two key fronts. On the one hand there’s thin device computing with the iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and now its new MacBook Air products; each targeting a distinctive market segment, roughly arranged by those customers seeking to consume (iPod) or create media (new MacBook Air). On the other hand, Apple is developing a range of cloud services and online media with iTunes, the current App Store, and now the new OS X application store. iTunes already operates across platforms and, despite its name, now includes much more than music, given it also provides a gateway to movies, TV shows, Podcasts, Audiobooks, and so on. As Apple continues to push forward on these two fronts it will soon have developed a full and coherent line of thin device hardware, a unified and powerful operating system (iOS/OS X, and slight variants), and a tightly integrated set of cloud services and online media.
In closing, today’s product introductions, along with Apple’s rapid progression over the last decade in thin devices and cloud services, brings into stark relief the gap between Apple and the historical high flyers in personal computing, such as Dell and HP. It appears Google is the only company that fairs a chance to stay competitive in this breakneck race.
(I just posted this to my blog and submitted the post to HN. If you enjoyed the read, I'd appreciate an upvote (article title is "A broader view on Apple's 'Back to the Mac' Event").
Now the buzz is that Apple or Google will dominate, but real people are there, working anonymously in the next revolution, in the next previously unthought idea, time will come when Apple will not be so shiny, maybe 10 or 20 years from now, maybe even longer, this industry (consumer electronics and its sub-industries) have only a small history, yet there were cases of powerful companies going from heaven to hell in question of years, cases of previously anonymous players leading the directions of the industry, so I kindly disagree that Apple or Google will be the only companies in the new decade, maybe there are some unheard, powerful and new technology, but as Microsoft suffered to understand there are more things shaping the industry than just power and money.
But besides of that, you got an upvote from me.
I'm not hating on Linux here, so don't downvote me for that. I'm just being realistic.
Jobs mentioned that the store would be one way of getting apps.
Regardless, I'm a fan.
"The new OS X? It works just like that iOS thing you know and love!"
"Back to the Mac" should have been "Come to the Mac".
And through their website Apple has long featured their own and independent OS X apps, this seems like a logical evolution. But not one that excludes regular power users, and savvy users, from using the PC the way they have for years.