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Apple’s coming Mac App Store

Years ago, when relatively few people were using Mac OS X, and Apple was struggling to get people to migrate from Mac OS 8 and 9 to OS X; Apple ran a free website that listed OS X software applications by 3rd parties and themselves. It was for several years a fabulous way of finding whatever software you needed to fill a gap. There were excellent reviews, good ratings, and reliably filtered listings that made every visit to the website worth every minute of time spent there.

As OS X picked up in popularity, replacing for many of us, not only Mac OS 8 and 9, but also MS Windows and sometimes even Irix or Solaris; we no longer needed the App website as the best in breed software solutions for each niche were pretty well known and widely covered on the blogs and in magazines. Apple encroached on the 3rd party space frequently with it’s own apps that were pretty damned good.

I use my various Mac desktop and laptop computers every day, and will not willingly waste my time with other operating systems except on a server basis where Linux and BSD are kings, and Solaris is an also ran. I use and enjoy my iPod, iPhone, and my AppleTV (first generation). My partner enjoys an iPad. We are pretty saturated by Apple products… and we are NOT excited about the coming Mac App Store.

If the Mac App Store is anything like the iPod/iPhone/iPad App store it will SUCK. The App store for these devices is something I grudgingly use because it is the only way. Sadly the iTunes interface is garbage, the indexing and searching are a complete waste of time, and the ratings and reviews are so spammed as to be huge bags of obnoxious noise. Probably many of these things are not Apple’s fault, they are likely just a victim of their own success… like USENET NewsGroups which were once a vast resource of knowledge, but then degenerated into spam collections and noise when the whole world got on USENET; the iPhone/iPod/iPad App store is just noise. Apple could fix the horribly ugly and difficult to use iTunes interface; but I am guessing they will not do so – as they have financial incentives to keep the error rate high so people continue to have to buy three or four applications that do the same thing until they find one that actually works.

The best way to use the iPhone App store is to search 3rd party magazine and blog reviews and talk to friends about the best app in any category and then go through the painful process of searching iTunes App Store to get the app you need.

Mac OS X Software neither needs, nor wants this treatment. Apple already has the best Mac App Store on the planet; it’s called regular old web pages that can be used in any browser and searched easily. If the new Mac App store is more like the wonderful website of past years, then I will applaud it. Sadly I doubt that will be the case, as the website has become less focused on getting things done and more focused on selling more copies of cheap and useless crap no one needs. I think that is a portent.

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