Apple Releases the Mac App Store, I Get A Little Scared

Yep, the subject line just about sums up my feelings on the Mac App Store.  I love Apple products, but I'm not exactly going to herald the arrival of the all-too-overhyped marketplace with a red carpet or anything.  This idea has been done before, with Bodega, only part of the revenue from sales (a big part) will go to Apple instead of developers, in exchange for a larger audience.

So what is it?

The Mac App Store is simply a marketplace for you to discover, install, and purchase Mac applications.  If you have an iDevice, you're already intimately familiar with how the process works.

What's good about it?

Well, at least a few things.  

  • It's easy.  It removes any active thought and involvement from the install process, as if that was ever really a problem for Mac users, but whatever.  
  • It's a discovery mechanism and a catalog, making it easier for "average" users to discover apps they might otherwise not have found.
  • It's a "hub" for your purchased content.  In theory, no more chasing down registration codes or keys, which is nice.

  • For the developers, it *could* mean a lot more exposure, and therefore sales.  Apple is trying to duplicate the environment we find on iDevices to make it easy to discover and consume applications.

What I'm Scared Of

Here's the issue I'm having - the fact that Apple is trying, albeit slowly and methodically, to emulate the iDevice experience on a desktop.  The store, in my opinion, is just the very beginning.

See, using a phone and a desktop is different - especially for a power user.  I don't mind the fact that the iPhone and iPad live in very controlled walled garden type environments.  It ensures that I will have a smooth, consistent, reliable experience each time I use them - and in exchange for that, I trade lots of freedoms.  Like, for example, the freedom to side-load apps.

I don't want that same experience with my desktop.  I want to be able to open a Terminal window and SSH into a remote box or a router's firmware if I want.  I want to run emulators.  I want to side load ANY application I want, at any time.  I want to be able to add RAM.  On goes the list.

The bottom line is this - I'm seeing Apple moving towards this "ultimate control" environment for desktop machines, and I don't. like. it. one. bit.

What I Hope Apple Does

I hope the Mac App Store continues to live on as it does now - as one choice of many, without any restrictions on the Mac desktop experience.  We'll see.



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