At the moment, Apple Macintosh users can buy software in a packaged form from any store that sells software for this platform. As well, they can download software from various Websites, including the developers’ own Websites and run this software on their computers.
Now Apple is introducing the Mac App Store as an extension of the iTunes App Store that is the only way to get extra software for any iOS device (iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad) for the Macintosh desktop. The main question I have about this is whether this App Store will exist simply as another storefront for MacOS X software where such software can be purchased with the iTunes gift cards or a regular credit card or as a move by Apple to make this storefront the only way for MacOS X users to add software to their computers?
There has been controversy about the App Store in relation to the iOS platform over the last few years because it allowed Apple to have greater control over the software that could run on that platform. Situations that came about included outlawing Adobe Flash on the iOS platform and prohibiting the supply of software that Steve Jobs didn’t see fit like Wi-Fi site-survey tools for example. I had talked with some friends of mine who were regular Mac users and they feared that if Apple set up the App Store on the Macintosh platform, it could become the start of a situation where you can’t load applications on a Mac unless they came through the App Store.
What I would like to see of the Mac App Store is that it exists as another storefront and “download city” for Macintosh-platform software and that MacOS developers can maintain their own sites and distribution channels for such software. It should then keep the Macintosh platform a flexible desktop-computing platform with the expectations of this class of platform rather than a desktop version of the Apple iOS embedded-computing platform.