Friday, January 7, 2011

Grand Opening Deal Heaven,
Grumbles and Gratitude
At The New Mac App Store

I own RapidWeaver version 4. Recently I looked into upgrading to version 5. The cost is $39.00 from the Realmac Store.

Today, January 7, 2011, I checked out the Mac App Store via the niffy kewl App Store app that is installed with Mac OS X 10.6.6. Wow. RapidWeaver 5 for people that don't already own it is $39.99. Such a deal! The regular price at the Realmac Store is usually $79! They call it their "Special Introductory Pricing". So for $0.99 more than the upgrade price, you can own RapidWeaver 5 ! ! !

Another deal: Apple's iWork costs $79 for the whole show in one go. At the Mac App Store you can buy each of the three pieces for $20. The grand total is $60! That's nearly $20 in savings!

There are other such deals at the Mac App Store. If you've upgraded to Mac OS X 10.6.6 then run, do not walk, to the Mac App Store, via the App Store app sitting in your Applications folder and on your Dock, and check out the bargains. Yeah, the timing sucks because it's immediately after the holidays, (mine is Christmas), and we're all dirt poor. But you'll be tempted!


• I'm running into Mac App Store errors where I can't download certain items. "We could not complete your request. There was an error in the App Store. Please try again later. (@@errorNum@@)". Well doesn't that just suck. The iTunes App Store has similar intermittent problems.

• In order to rate or review any application at the Mac App Store you have to have BOUGHT it at the Mac App Store. Compared to the policy over at MacUpdate and VersionTracker/CNET, this is not good, at least not for a newbie store. I found this very disappointing. Therefore, expect to see me still hanging around at the usual Mac app sites.

• I enjoy the layout and features of Apple's App Stores, both via iTunes for iDevices as well as the Mac App Store. However, there really is nothing to help you find all the BARGAINS. Maybe a bargain will be featured in the store interface, but probably not. That's not good. I'd like a specific DISCOUNTS section directly on the front page of both App Stores. Therefore, expect to see me still hanging around the usual bargain alert Mac app sites.

• There are some gotchas as well that are important to avoid. One example is Apple's iLife application collection. There are five components: iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, GarageBand, and iWeb. However, at the Mac App Store you can't buy the whole set. There is no such thing as iWeb or iDVD at the Mac App Store. That's not good. And the à la carte prices for the three available pieces do not impress me. The full suite goes for $49. The three available pieces from the whole go for a total of $45. So for $4 less you get gypped out of iDVD (which I consider essential) and iWeb (which admittedly may not be worth $4). Gotcha.

• The Mac App Store has no 'Wishlist'. Why?! I love that feature on the iTunes App Store and use it regularly when I don't have ready cash or I want to research an app's functionality as well as reviews. I want to do exactly the same thing with Mac apps. So add the functionality Apple!

• Apps that are $0.99 for my iPod Touch are typically marked up to $4.99 for the Mac, much like the price difference for iPad app versions. There are cost concerns when writing for a much larger size screen. But $4 worth? On the other hand, I could be paying $4.99 for the iPod Touch versions. So maybe I'll just shut up.


• Unlike at restaurants, where a la carte equals price gouging, at the Apple App Stores à la carte usually (with one exception noted above) means price savings. iWork is a great example. Everyone I know loves Keynote and Pages. But no one I know likes Numbers. Therefore, paying $40 by dropping Numbers out of the suite is a nice deal for many people compared to having to pay $20 more to have Numbers included.

• I like having prices for apps provided right up front. The sad Marketing Moron approach to application sales is to bury the price to the point of unobtainable, unless of course you hit a 'BUY' button, which is entirely insane and counter intuitive. You just want the bloody price man! But Apple's approach gives you what you want right where you want it when you want it. The price is right there with the name of the app AND the star rating. Killer.

Apple's à la carte approach in the App Stores is inspiring developers to think à la carte. Therefore, we are starting to get web apps you can download from the Mac App Store, just like at the iTunes App Store! An example is the Twitter app. It's free! Download it and run just it, not a whole freaking web browser. That's a good thing. I know this approach is going to eat up more disk space in your Applications folder, but face the convenience factor and enjoy.

• The influence of the iTunes App Store means that lots of formerly iDevice-only apps are arriving for the Mac! That means lots of the kewl games like Angry Birds. Thanks to Apple devices like the Magic Mouse and the Magic Trackpad you can use the same gestures as on iDevices to operate these applications. Yes, the Mac really is becoming another iDevice. I like it.


This is a nice start to the Mac App Store. This is a very welcome addition to the Mac universe. It does not actually kill off the alternative app sites like MacUpdate and VersionTracker/CNET, which I still highly recommend. It also extends the à la carte and smaller app approach of iDevices over to the Mac, which is terrific for both pricing and functionality.

The Mac App Store has got the expected version 1.0 syndrome. But Apple have the successful iTunes App Store as a model with which to clean up problems. Other grumbles are going to have to catch Apple's ear before either of the App Stores are perfection.

These are the days when even the most lead-headed Windows box user has Apple-envy. I'm a board member and presenter at the local Windows PC user group. I've seen it. People come up to me and talk about it. Apple envy is real. Keep that in mind the next time you run into a misery mongering anti-Apple troll. They're just as envious as the rest. This is how the computer community evolves beyond Microsoft.


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