Apple has hacked the Mac's software ecosystem in two. When Jobs & Co. opens its iOS-style Mac App Store early next year, there will be two types of apps available for the company's flagship — but aging — Apple Macintosh platform: simple consumer-level apps that the vast majority of users will purchase through the online store …
A little simplistic
While I cannot fault a lot you analysis, Rik, the average consumer Mac user will be happy to get their applications from the new Apple store, a significant body of others won't.
The experienced Mac user is their own sysadmin and they will happily ignore being tied down to Steve Jobs vision. I know I am. I run the software I choose to use, the small apps that will not receive Cupertino's blessing but make my Mac perform how I wish it to perform, and of course I will still use the professional applications that may not be blessed but do the job I want.
Having said that, I do not have ANY Microsoft software on my Mac anymore, Office became redundant the moment Open Office became usable.
It's just a shop. You don't have to buy Mac programs from it.
I can't really see any disadvantage anyway really. Apple makes money (which is why it exists), and program developers now have a place they can make cash in. And the Mac gets some more programs.
Don't understand the 'ageing platform' comment though?
No concerns here...
As said above, you'll still have the choice to install what you want anyway - so what's the issue?
There will be a simple, centralised repository where you can get a no doubt huge number of apps - easily. I'm sure the install process will be straightforward - most folk are fine with either running an .mpkg file, or mounting a .dmg and then dragging a folder into Applications etc... but if they simplify and streamline that task (like the iPad/iPhone) then they'll win even more fans. My other half is a big Mac fan, but she is always apprehensive about installing programs, updates etc - whereas on the iPhone she has no issues at all.
It might become an issue if they eliminate all other distribution channels down the line... but to be honest, 95% of users wouldn't bat an eyelid and as demonstrated by the App Store model - would possibly even buy more stuff.
There is no disadvantage:-
Same old same old...
Just another chapter in the "Let's equate anything Apple does with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the coming of the Antichrist and the end of civilisation as we know it" saga.
Same stuff was spewed out at the opening of the first Apple Store:- the imminent demise of the Mac distribution channel, the immininent collapse of Mac sales, the immediate end of non-Apple Mac software, - ad infinitum, ad nauseam.
It's all getting rather predictable and rather tedious...
IF you think that Apple restricting what you can buy and run on your Mac you're crazy. I'm going to bet that a sizable percentage of the Mac user base will use the Mac store because they don't know any better.
If this isn't a case for the government to at least start looking at apple then I give up, they are at the very least performing an anti competitive action which such a rule-set for the store, then with the insistence of no copy protection contributing to software piracy, not to mention that with them controlling what can be sold by setting arbitrary limits similar apps or the content deciding what MAC users can do.
<Tin Foil Hat Time> The steps being taken here, seem to be a short step away from Apple only allowing app's bought through the store to be installed on Macs, welcome to 1984 Jobsian style.
Many are assuming that Steve is just opening a consumer app store and is not and would never consider closing the Mac platform from outside pro apps. He's already done it with the iPhone/iPod/iPad. He's already indicated how Lion will incorporate features of the iPhone OS. In the future, it's not a stretch to lock the hardware and OS down to only app store approved apps. It's a telling sign that an Apple Pro app insider indicates that they are de-emphasizing the pro apps division re-distributing "resources" (nice way of saying- "staff") to consumer divisions. Steve can't have been happy about it when certain professional app companies (ADOBE) made their apps cross platform). Could that be the REAL reason behind banning Flash on iPhone/iPad/iPod? If so, he'll likely attempt that on the Mac's in the future. Do you think everyone who owns a Mac will allow Steve to dictate to them what software they can install and use on their Macs? This is why I'm not giving up my Powerbook G4. It's not the latest kit, but it's from a time where we still had choices in software.
The shape of things to come.
> As said above, you'll still have the choice to install what
> you want anyway - so what's the issue?
Well, it's right here.
> There will be a simple, centralised repository where you
> can get a no doubt huge number of apps - easily.
If you want to be a first class citizen on the Mac platform you
have to basically put up with Apple's HOA and all of their
bogus CCNRs. This is in start contrast to a more open platform
like Linux where you can take advantage of all of the benefits
of an "app store" interface without having to make any compromises,
give up your liberties or sell your soul.
Of course Apple seeks to influence the nature of the platform. There
would be no other reason for subjecting developers to these sorts of
restrictions. Of course it is their hope that their desktop platform
becomes more like their phone platform.
Otherwise they would not bother with the BS and restrictions.
Without the sort of apps that Apple would not approve of, Macintosh simply isn't a truely n00b friendly platform.
"...the moment Open Office became usable."
When was that, then? Was a great flock of pigs seen migrating south high, overhead in a v-formation?
Locked down iPhone
The iPhone *started* locked down, it wasn't open and then Jobs closed it. Bad analogy.
It is and it isn't
It doesn't stop you from installing what you want but I can kind of understand the issues with restriction/effective restraint of trade. People new to the platform or just not that techy will not doubt be drawn towards this app repository and hence be directed towards the apps that are allowed in rather than the best app for the job which kind of leads towards a rather warped survival of the fittest.
Pass the tin foil please
I really hope this doesn't come to pass, as mac user I like the OS, the built in apps, and general useability. But if this comes even close I suspect I will be going back to MS and I suspect a lot of folks will be joining me. The depreciation of Java seems to be the 1st step, the mac store the 2nd.
1 question though, is apple going to be looking at anti competitive suits if this goes ahead? Yes I can go buy a windows/linux PC, BUT on those I am allowed to install anything I want. I'm surprised that the AppStore isn't under more scrutanty as well to be honest.
Is this the beginning of the end?
Since this rumour was mooted, it has worried me. Now it has come to pass, is this the beginning of the end?
Steve Jobs, like most CEOs can be very brash, some point down the road would he simply lock up the OSX desktop and insist everything go through the store, without fail? It's proved to be a great money spinner for the mobile entertainment market.
I can imagine the scheming minds of the Apple "priests" looking into a way to do this, for the very reason that the mobile platform is the way it is.
If it happens, I will simply dump OSX, install Linux on my Mac and wait for it to die before going back to a "grey" desktop machine. It would be a shame, I like OSX, but I would like choices on my desktop and this is one step too far.
Interesting times for the Mac faithful, let's see what happens.
re: the beginning of the end
Sadly, I do believe it is the beginning of the end for the ‘innovative Apple’; reason being is that Jobs’ ego won’t allow anything larger, be it the long term viability of Apple (the cult following of the Mac platform, OS or iPhone) to exist in the same dimension.
In Short, Mr. Jobs has turned into the same scummy corporate weasel type that Apple has always distanced themselves from.
Way to go Steve, you almost killed Apple once, this time you just might succeed, and in a most spectacular fashion, too!
At least the apps are being checked properly...
I'm not a Mac user - have used Debian for about ten years - but at least Apple are trying to protect the user from crapware.
Ubuntu and Gnome/KDE implement something similar - i.e. there are dozens of IM clients but the Gnome guys choose one which is the 'best' and make that the one installed when the OS is first installed. Same for FTP client, Photo manager, Music manager etc.
Also, on Ubuntu you have the 'Software Centre' to allow users to add apps. And I think the apps in the software centre are picked by Ubuntu/Canonical as ones which are good quality and they are maintained by Canonical. This is great because non-techie users can go to the 'Software Centre' and pick software and add it without worrying about the quality. Also, they are adding the ability for users to rate applications which is even better.
Of course, this being OSS I can open the lower level Synaptic package manager (or command line) and install any software I want.
(BTW - another aspect of the centralised software distribution is the seamless provision of updates. At my sister's school we installed Ubuntu PC's to run the whiteboards. The software is available from a repository set up by the whiteboard manufacturers - so by adding that repository to the repository list we now get all updates downloaded automatically as part of the software update tool. These are Promethean whiteboards running Activ Inspire software.)
Apple are being strict but that helps them keep the quality of the experience high.
I'm sure Photoshop etc will always be available even if via the app store. In fact, if there was a way to rent Creative Suite then that would be great as we'd prefer to pay a monthly amount and always have the most up-to-date version - instead of paying £1,500.00 every 4-5 years.
So you pays your money and you takes your choice - Apple which has an excellent record of high quality products and is now attempting to ensure that all software is high quality as well - or Ubuntu which has a more community based approach to helping you choose good software.
I choose Ubuntu on the desktop as it has all the tools I need - my wife chooses a Mac because she needs Creative Suite which isn't available for Ubuntu.
Either way - competition is good and the market benefits.
RE: Kevin Bailey, read that again
How can you talk up all the good points of apple and then end with "Either way - competition is good and the market benefits."
apple in no way allows competition, they restrict it as much as possible to the point where they get sued and inevitably lose for uncompetitive behaviour.
Their Lion OS will start one hell of a lot of lawsuits against apple and ultimately lead apple to a two-tier internet; the policed apple controlled net and the free internet that has always existed and flourished.
Noone in the right mind could support such a company, they're getting worse and more controlling.
Think 1984 but in the early years
The competition is between...
... Apple and OSS/Ubuntu. I thought that was obvious - especially the previous paragraph RE me Ubuntu - wife Mac.
'apple in no way allows competition' - umm, their market share is much smaller than Wintel - don't see them leaning on Dell to remove linux machines.
'Their Lion OS will start one hell of a lot of lawsuits against apple' - Why?
I'm saying that the choice will be between Apple's way and OSS - and competition is good.
They may be keeping tight control over their own ecosystem - but if you don't like it then don't buy it. Personally I think they make great machines because I recommend all relatives/friends to buy Mac's - that way I never get calls RE Wireless not working, what's this virus warning, why's it so slow, etc etc
So - to be clear - I see the competition as between Apple's way and OSS.
Bootnote - I've had good success recently with Ubuntu. I'll take a knackered PC and put Ubuntu on it - people seem to be very happy with using it.
I wonder how Steam for the Mac will fair
If the OS suddenly acquires an app store that sells games and provides gaming infrastructure, then Steam usage is going to plummet. I predict lawsuits are going to fly over this because it can be rightly construed as monopolistic.
re: I wonder how Steam for the Mac will fair
Pretty well I would have thought.
If you buy a game, which is on both the Mac and Windows platforms, via Steam then you're able to play it on either platform whenever you want.
I can't really see a Mac Store from Apple offering games that users can play on both operating systems, so Steam will still have that unique selling point.
Also, and this is a big 'also', games that run in Windows and OS X tend to run better on the former because of the ports and there's a greater range of games on Windows. Although we are seeing more games coming on for the Mac, there's normally a delay in them being ported - although the latest Civilization game is meant to be coming to the Mac 'this fall', it was only confirmed that the port was going to happen a little while after the game had come out, so consumers don't always even know if, let alone when.
If you're into gaming and you use a Mac, it's incredibly unlikely that you'll use the Mac OS as your primary gaming platform - you'll also be running Windows and/or using a console(s) - there's no way that's going to change with an Apple "app store that sells games and provides gaming infrastructure."
There are quite a few sites that sell Mac games online and I would have thought it's those companies who would get worried, not Steam.
What, me panic?
If Steam usage plummets, that would be a commercial choice of Mac users - and nothing to do with Apple. Preventing Apple opening an App store to protect Steam's revenue stream can also be rightly construed as monopolistic.
Apple's Apple Stores aren't viewed as monopolistic because you can buy your Mac from wherever you like.
Ditto Mac software.
Only if you're restricted to the App store alone, could it be viewed as anything like monopolistec.
Sorry that's BS.
It's a well understood principle of the power of the default that no matter how great some other software is most people will stick with the one they got in the box. If people use it in preference to Steam it won't be the user's commercial choice, it will be due to Apple using their OS to leverage and unfairly promote an unrelated product. It's no less abusive and monopolistic when Apple does it than it was when Microsoft did.
Microsoft was hauled over the coals for it, and I hope the same happens to Apple.
Power of the default
The power of the default is already in full effect for Mac users. Same with Windows. Most people just use their computers for web browsing, email, and IM. OS X has been shipping with default software for all of these things bundled for years now, so why start complaining now?
I assume there are two types of Mac users, those who install a lot of 3rd party software and those who don't. The former already know how to find and install software from the web and will continue to do so. The latter will likely use the App Store because it's easy and convenient. The net result is that usage of 3rd party software increases overall, which is good for the platform, developers, and users in general.
wtf? you're somehow assuming that the same game that comes out on Steam will also be available within the Mac App Store? I doubt that is going to happen, where's the benefit for the developers to have to create two builds?
so it'll be just the same as it is now - if you want to play the games that are on Steam, you'll get Steam. if not and you're more interesting in smaller, light-weight games, you'll get them from the App Store
@jai the benefit is obvious
"where's the benefit for the developers to have to create two builds?"
I'm sure it is an inconvenience to target multiple builds, but at the end of the day there is money to be made from doing it. The app store will be the DEFAULT STORE and by virtue will receive far more eyeballs on it that Steam will over time. At some point it may well be steam that gets sidelined because its growth stalls or users jump ship.
re: @jai the benefit is obvious
"The app store will be the DEFAULT STORE and by virtue will receive far more eyeballs on it that Steam will over time. At some point it may well be steam that gets sidelined because its growth stalls or users jump ship."
That's a huge maybe.
At the moment, most Mac games (as far as I'm aware) when ported use the Cider system. Some like Dragon Age are decent ports and offer roughly the same performance as the Windows version…. if you’re using a machine that’s fairly high-end, that is.
On the other hand, you have ports like Neverwinter Nights 2 that ran like a mangy, three-legged dog in need of a nap.
The performance of the much trumpeted Mac version of the Orange Box was greatly inferior to the Windows version. On the same hardware, it wasn’t unusual to see anything from a 50-100% performance increase when running the latter.
With a case of the Orange Box, we’re talking about something that was released three years ago, which is only now on the Mac with reduced performance… with stuff like this, do you think people that are actually into gaming are going to jettison Windows games and/or Steam because Apple has an ‘official’ gaming app store/infrastructure?
Cider appeals to developers because it's cheap and easy, but making the Mac into a serious contender it does not.
From what I'm seeing on the web, the Apple app store is completely GPL incompatible in that it imposes restrictions on the customer in addition to those of the GPL itself. And Apple's response so far is that instead of making their app store terms GPL compatible, are just removing GPL'd apps from it... Customers are being denied choice and their rights under the GPL are being infringed.
Stallman's delusions of grandeur
Has the GPL somehow mutated from a software licence to human rights legislation? All hail president Stallman?
get a clue eh?
rms is either a visionary or a paranoid with amazing luck to see where IT could be heading 25 years later.
App store for desktop and you still call him names?
What has escaped you
is that most Linux/*BSD distributions have had an analogous, maintainer-curated repository system for distributing software, where decisions on what exactly to include are often fairly arbitrary (with the exception of popular apps, like The GIMP and alike). Apple nicked the idea (as is customary to them).
Now, as long as Apple isn't going to restrict other methods of software installation, then it won't be too different from, say Canonical. And if Jobs and Co are going to limit the source from which one can install apps, then as soon as they reach certain market share anti-trust regulators would be sitting on their backs. So I would watch carefully what they're doing, but wouldn't be overly worried.
What most Linux systems provide is a package management system and a default list of repositories that are checked when the administrator chooses to update that system. For example Debian based systems use apt (over dpkg) and Red Hat based systems use yum (over rpm). In both cases, the list of packages you can install is governed by a source repository list which is a simple text file.
You the administrator are entirely free to modify the repositories as you wish regardless of what Ubuntu / Debian / Red Hat would say on the matter. You may even remove the official ones and use somebody else's if that's what you want.
The point in saying this is that package managers facilitate keeping your OS up to date and installing software but you are not constrained in any way if you wish to do something different. Indeed the very fact there are several well supported versions of Linux means you don't even have to suck it up and like it if one dist imposed an onerous or crappy store on you. For example of that in action see what happened to Lindows / Linspire and it's much derided ClickNRun store.
As we don't know
what does Apple mean by the option to install software from other sources, I don't think you can say they are limiting your freedom. MacPorts can be considered a different 'repository' and as long as it and its likes are allowed to co-exist with the Apple's system, I see no problem.
There is still a choice here; consumers can choose not to buy a Mac.
or cancel their order
I know one .edu (not american) who cancelled their 400 mac mini order and went with debian/mini pc custom built because of Java depreciation.
Unlike most of current IT news sites, they know Oracle and do have a clue about whether World's largest enterprise software would tinker with consumer toy OS (which it sadly became).
The fat lady
You cannot help but wonder how Opera will react if Safari is the only offering of browser. Yes, you may be free to download and install a different browser, a different word processor, a different photo gallery and so on. But if the defaults are determined by the app store then those excluded from that store will surely have the same right to justice as Opera did with the Microsoft IE feud.
Personally I don't think Opera should have been given 5 seconds in court but given that they were and that the won I'd say surely it must be Apple next.
Pass the popcorn...
...I'm looking forward to this!
Hold your horses...
Even when you admit that users will still be able to install apps from elsewhere, you then add 'But let's be realistic: most won't.' The point is that those who want to will still be able too.
When you add the web to the range of activities that users will still be allowed to use, then your article is classic FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt)
Apple has discovered that most computer users just want it all to work, and are happy to have their choice limited to hundreds of thousands of apps. Not rocket science, but a fact.
Those who wish to tread their own path will do exactly that, and if that means abandoning Macs for their tinkering, they may want to keep one around for when they need to get something done - always the Mac's main advantage, no?
Well said Dave93
A concise and accurate appraisal. The world appears to be full of Chicken Lickens screaming that the sky is falling, and they appear to equate opening an App store with a total monopoly/control over what you can buy for your Mac.
Can you only buy a Mac from an Apple Store?...........er, no.
Can you only add iTunes purchases to an iPod..........er, no.
Can we expect this irrational hatred of
Apple & Steve Jobs to abate, and be
replaced with reasoned discourse?............................er, probably not.
It's called the power of the default
"Even when you admit that users will still be able to install apps from elsewhere, you then add 'But let's be realistic: most won't.' The point is that those who want to will still be able too."
Microsoft initially shipped Windows 95 with an MSN client expressly because it would shut out AOL. Likewise they later did the same with Internet Explorer to shut out Netscape. Even after years and years of outcry, security alerts, broken functionality, lawsuits and EU commission fines, Internet Explorer still commands 50% browser usage.
That's the power of the default. People either don't know any better, or aren't motivated enough to try something else.
I really see no difference in what Microsoft did (and was eventually stomped on for), or what Apple is doing now.
Now all this can be avoided if Apple don't install the app store as part of the OS, don't promote it in any preferential way and require users to manually install it for themselves. I expect the chances of that happening are pretty remote. Apple has already demonstrated they'll force software on people they didn't ask for (e.g. Safari appearing in an iTunes update for Windows) and I expect the app store will be no different. The interesting part will be to see if Valve (for one) uses it to sue them or even launch an antitrust suit.
Disingenous Apple response at best.
> Can you only add iTunes purchases to an iPod..........er, no.
Actually, you can only add iTunes approved content to an iPod. It sits as the gatekeeper telling you what you can or can't put on the device. Also, the devices themselves can only handle the most basic QuickTime supported content.
If you try to "adapt" anything else, the Fanboys will instantly try to brand you a pirate.
Um I don't know where you get that iTunes approved thing from. Ive ripped from Cd to iPhone no problems, importing to iTunes isn't approval.
Interesting timing of this...
It is STILL October 31 here in the Pacific time zone (Cupertino, CA) and being Halloween, all I can say is:
Trick or Treat!
Apple has chosen "Trick!".
I think one of the closing statements pretty much sums up the contradictions in this article:
"we're not saying that such a world is even on the distant horizon. But still..."
The author is desperately trying to lead the reader to fear that Apple will lock down the entire Mac ecosystem, whilst reluctantly acknowledging that the idea is patently ridiculous. A total lockdown would reduce the Mac to the practical functionality of a games console - if Apple really saw that as desirable, they could start a new one rather than butchering a successful and healthy platform.
I think the proposed App Store for the Mac is long overdue. It simply recognises that there is a huge market for certain types of applications that are somewhat lightweight and purchased on impulse. But to date, finding, installing, and maintaining this type of software has been far harder than warranted. The success of apps on the iPhone has proven how lucrative this concept can be.
But most applications for work or business will never be well served by this particular model. But what really demolishes this fear-mongering is the simple fact that you couldn't develop any Apps to put in the marketplace on a completely locked-down platform.
Welcome to the 21st Century
Capitalism red in Tooth & Claw.
I am reminded of the wise words of Christine Keeler in other circumstances, when asked to comment on someone putting self-interest above integrity:
"Well, he would, wouldn't he?"
Erm, It was
Mandy Rice-Davies that said that actually.
So it was.
From my point of view, the no bugs rule is good. If you install an app with an unknown bug, which is subsequently exploited and your mac gets hacked, you can now blame (ie sue) apple as they have effectively certified the app as bug free!
I've never (in over 30 years' IT work) seen an EULA which certifies anything as "Bug-free" - effectively or otherwise.
For anyone to do that the app would have to be exhaustively tested on every conceivable permutation of hardware, with every conceivable permutation of configuration & set-up, with every conceivable permutation of concurrent software and in every conceivable permutation of circumstances.
In every conceivable permutation of the foregoing.
75-year software gestation periods, anyone?
No they will verify that it doesn't "exhibit" bugs, not the fact that it doesn't HAVE bugs.
If you HAVE a bug that isn't exhibited, is there really a bug?
(If a tree falls in the forest...but there isn't a QA engineer there to verify that it fell, did it **really** fall? And how much noise did it really make?)
One small flaw...
Unfortunately for your argument, people will still be able to put "unapproved" apps onto their Macs.
The Mac App Store is more like iTunes as a store - you can buy music from iTunes for convenience, or buy it elsewhere and copy it into iTunes. Does that mean that music that's not "approved" for the iTunes Store (because of naughty words, say), disappears from Macs forever? No, of course it doesn't.
As others have said about the Mac App Store, it is more likely to open up the market to the mass of Mac users who don't normally buy programs...