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back to article Apple Mac App Store to go live January

Apple's Mac Store software download shop will go live on 6 January - the first day of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), no less. Apple has a habit of overshadowing the world's largest consumer electronics show with events of its own. It's not so long since the Las Vegas-hosted event was abuzz with talk of the iPhone, then …

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Headmaster

half a continent away?

Las Vegas is 550 miles from San Francisco. The USA is about 2800 miles wide. So I make that roughly 1/5th of a continent away.

Toying between Paris and Pedant icon as I'm sure she'd say size was important ...

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Limited Functionality

The Point and Drool Interface takes a great step backwards.

I have an app store providing me with access to hundreds of thousands of applications already. I call it 'the internet'.

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who cares

The internet is not exactly know for making finding what you want easy, and is cluttered by advertisers and paid promotions to put what THEY want in front of you.

Also, there's very little trust in what you may find. This puts a trust relationship and consolidated library of titles into the hands of the people that barely trust themselves online (or are too damn dumb to know they shoudl distrust it), let alone putting trust in companies they don't know that install software on their machines.

This is the perfect solution for 90% of the people buying software. The internet is still there, this does not replace it, nor is their any restriction forcing those who sell in the app store to sell ONLY in the app store (they can still run their own sites, direct downloads, sell on shelves, nothing changes there). This is just an easy (and safe) way for people who don't even know what to go looking for in the first place to find new apps, and have a community of people rating apps that can be trusted at least a bit more than a site claiming all on its own their product is good.

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Jobs Halo

iOS Apps on OSX?

If there's a walled garden/sandbox, will that enable iOS apps to run on desktop/laptop Macs?

If not, will there be a guide to enable iOS App Devs to port their Apps to run on OSX & be sold via the OSX App Store? The iWork apps show the way forward here.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: iOS Apps on OSX?

'The iWork apps show the way forward here.'

I don't think they do - I work is already available for OS X, and has been for longer than the iOS versions have been out.

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No obstacle to running iOS apps on OS X

iPhone apps are compiled to a low level virtual machine bytecode. There would be nothing to stop Apple implementing a runtime over OS X which exposes the appropriate APIs for the app to run. Of course some apps would expect hardware like GPS and others wouldn't be suited or useful for a mouse, but theoretically it's perfectly possible.

I'd add that its theoretically possible to implement the LLVM and APIs over *any* OS. Even Android. The LLVM is an abstract after all and there must be enough documentation in the public domain to implement the major libs that apps expect. I'm sure Apple would blow their lids and let the lawsuits fly if it happened but it's technically feasible.

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Unhappy

Mac App Store

A managed store for Macintosh software with all of the seller-friendliness of Apple.

Just what mac users have been crying out for — the App Store for macs. God, how did we survive almost 27 years without it

I am beside myself with joy.

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So how long before Valve's lawsuit?

Steam is an established download service which is likely to see its sales plummet on the Mac platform if Apple ships a store out of the box, or tries to slip it in with an iTunes update (like they did with Safari on Windows), or otherwise has it appear on a user's machine except by an explicit manual download. I can see Valve suing for a lot of money and threatening antitrust suits.

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so

"I can see Valve suing for a lot of money and threatening antitrust suits."

I can see the iSteve not giving a dam, 'cause he knows who has the most money and can therefore hire the best lawyers and outlast the other.

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Silver badge

Not sure about a Valve lawsuit...

but they are caught a bit. They rely on having an internet connection and a desire to connected to steam services online to limit the effects of piracy. I'm not sure if this model works for general apps, especially when firewalls come into play. Steam is notorious for not playing nicely with proxies etc which you would expect at an office.

My feeling is that Steam should have been redesigned to play nice with proxies and corporate systems (to allow my to dl games at work if nothing else!) and they should have diversified into non-games, perhaps under a different branding.

It's a shame, because if the Mac store hurts Steam it hurts a system which is cross-platform and therefore a threat to MS and consoles as well. Competition is healthy! I can't see Apple hosting l4d2 and offering both OSX and Windows versions. Gaming is the only reason for me keeping a copy of windows around. On the other hand, perhaps an Apple branded store can promote gaming on the mac at the low end which might create a halo effect bringing in the higher end games.

Also, if the mini is currently used under the telly as a media centre, it needs to acquire the ability to match the games consoles to play games. Perhaps I could pair my wii controller with it...

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Joke

No big deal.

Why would Valve care? No serious gamer actually plays games on a Mac ;)

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@James

You think Valve hasn't got money? They must be worth billions by now.

Anyway if Apple were foolhardy enough to aggressively push an app store onto Mac owners e.g. preinstalling it on new devices, or by pushing it through mandatory or autochecked updates to the OS or iTunes, then I do predict a lawsuit. If they make the app store an optional download they'll probably be safe.

As for Steve not giving a damn, he sure as hell should. I hear he likes money and having his precious app store enjoindered or having a very expensive antitrust lawsuit dragging on for years runs counter to that.

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well,

since you actually have to have a position of power in a market, and use that power to stifle competition, neither of which are the case here even potentially in the future, there's no anti-trust or anti-competitive issues at stake here. The only chance of that is if apple enforced a "you can only sell i there" policy (which is already clearly upheld in case law as illegal, so they won't try that).

Pushing a function by pre-installing did not even get Microsoft in trouble in the USA with IE. (it did in europe, but all they have to do is offer the option on installation of alternatives). Even then, IE WAS the king, and used that position aggressively. If apple auto-installed the store (it will in fact be optional to install via the auto-updater, though it will be included by default in 10.7), then all they would have to do is advise of alternates during install, and provide a way to remove it (which is as simple as dragging to the trash in OS X).

Vale attempting to sue apple for entering the market as a fair competitor, or if Valve tried to bully app vendors into not supporting apple's store or working out long term exclusivity deals, that could be seen as anti-competitive...

We MUST protect the right of a new business to enter the market. If you;re arguing that valve has the right to protect their monopoly, I think you just joined the wrong side. valve should have accounted in their business model that they might have to compete with more than brick and mortar eventually, and if they failed in that, too bad for them...

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what?

Just because you sell your software at BestBuy, how does that preclude you also selling at Walmart, or Amazon, even at lower prices. Should BestBuy be able to sue Amazon for undercutting their business?

The right to sell is not Steam's, it's the content producer, and unless they signed an exclusivity contract with Valve, nothing prevents them from offering the same product to other companies to also sell.

If apple started signing deals forcing people to only sell in their store (which they expressly state will never be the case, and we have no reason to believe otherwise, they don't sue for devs selling apps in Cydia), or explicitly not in steam, we might be able to call foul, but not antitrust You actually have to have a monopoly to be accused of anti-trust. We could not only easily argue that filing suit showed that valve was the monopoly trying to prevent competition in the market-space, but that only applies if you consider the online distribution of apps to be a market unto itself (it is not, the software market OVERALL is where monopoly and anti-competitive laws come into play, including brick and mortar and everything).

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Jobs Horns

Horray for a race to the bottom!

Currently desktop apps are about a minimum of 30 quid, can we (as developers) expect the same race to the lowest price that the mobile app store has created. Also dropping 30 % to Apple on every sale is a big draw for us developers!!!

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Oh look.... another online shop opening up

I'll try and curtail my excitement. If it wasn't Apple, would anyone even care?

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Jobs Halo

fanbois mode active (sorry)

The app store idea adds a lot of value for "normal" consumers:

1. apple checks things for malware, viruses, backdoors, etc. Whereas anything you download from the internet at large has always been a crapshoot. Apple has been lucky that malware usually targets windows, but that won't last forever and I think they want to change people's habits before it's too late. The walled garden keeps you in, but it can also keep bad guys out.

2. Apple checks that the app at least does what it says on the tin and has a rating system to keep sellers from being dishonest or misleading.

3. It's a single place where you can compare apps and make selections. You have all the choices in front of you at once and you can make a decision (on features, price, screenshots, ratings) without wondering if you're missing something. (Admittedly, that's only a feeling. In fact you are missing out on choosing from non-mac-store apps.)

4. iOS apps are dirt cheap, often free, so you can try out a lot of stuff with no financial risk. if you decide an app is important enough to pay for a nifty feature or to get screen real estate back from the ads, you can make that choice after you've had a chance to try out the cheaper/free stuff first.

One hopes that apple will go father:

A. It would be awesome of mac apps adhered well to apple's HIG. The minimalism of iOS apps is refreshing and one hopes that mac store apps will find a nice middle ground of maximum utility with the minimum of buttons, tabs, menus, pop-ups, etc.

B. Non-lame games. iOS app store is game-console-like in that, with only a few exceptions, any app can run on any iPhone or iPad. They have made one division of the space for iPad-only devices and that's it. But I think the mac store should be more fine-grained and have an idea of your mac's performance and steer you toward apps & games which guaranteed not to stutter or have miserable frame-rates. (The devs have an interest here also: they don't want user hardware problems dragging down their ratings.)

C. Repeating the middle ground thing vis a vis file systems, there is a huge disconnect between the number of files exposed to users on the mac (thousands upon thousands) and the iOS approach of having almost no files at all visible. I'm not sure what the answer is, but there should be some concept of accessing the same data from different apps, but without making the user navigate a hierarchy or see all the irrelevant files along the way.

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Is it really unclear?

"As yet it's unclear whether Apple will wall off this particular garden to the extent that it does with iOS apps."

Apple has made it pretty clear that the Mac App Store will not be the exclusive way to get software onto your Mac. They might make it into a lovely garden, keeping out the weeds and the riff-raff, but there will be no walls. Except perhaps in the minds of users who don't want to leave.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Is it really unclear?

True, but you miss the point. The question is not whether Apple allows you to download elsewhere - it can't stop that - but what you can do with App Store downloads: can you move them to the folder of your choice, or must they be run from a fixed location, hidden from the file system a la iOS?

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Headmaster

Hidden apps? Not on OS X

$ sudo

$ find / -name ${MacApp} -print

Also any App install would have to deal with the choice of disk destination. Its just bad programming practice to insist an App installs in a fixed location.

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this IS clear

They have to simply use a common installer platform, that's it. This installer is already in use by hundreds of apps, the app store just uses scripting that only supports that one installer process. You can install to the path of your choice, limit app to single users or make them available to all, move them, delete them, etc. Apple is only insisting on the use of a specific installer, no use of 3rd party DRM, and patching through a central service only (oh, and no porn, but that's NOT a parenting issue, that's a not having to deal with local laws related to selling porn by a company that also has brick and mortar stores inside states that regulate the sale of adult content, nobody gets that...).

Any app installed to OS X has to follow what the kernel lets it do, not what apple might "like" it to do (or as people keep claiming apple "loves" to restict). Look, Apple only restricted iOS for a few reasons: to placate carriers so they could get the best deals wireless carriers ever offered in history and force them to deploy things like visual voicemail; to comply with laws regarding preventing the sale of things they know violate IP of others; to comply with local and international laws regarding sale of items in general, and for not bloating the shit needlessly out of an OS designed to run on a CPU 1/4th as powerful as what's shipping now. OS X needs no such restrictions (other than protection from IP and viruses), and apple has no reason to restrict, and take the bad press for doing so.

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Jobs Horns

Mac Store

Another ploy by Apple to dictate what you can and can't install on your hard earned equipment? I'll place a wager that in a couple of years this will be the only way you can install software without jailbreaking your hardware.

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Bad idea

I consider the whole App Store concept to be a really bad idea.

The only kind of apps that I want :

have no restriction where they are sold, and who sells them ( or provides them free )

do not require approval of any kind,

can be installed from physical media without any kind of DRM.

do not require a network connection and run entirely on a local machine.

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As far as I can see

The only one of your objections that could apply here is the approval one, but that is only approval to be sold through Apple's store - there's nothing stopping something that is not approved from being sold elsewhere.

There's no indication that apps sold through the Mac app store would be exclusive to that channel, even Apple's own applications will still be available in boxes from other shops.

And I hate to point this out, but that web browser application that you used to get to this site and post a comment is pretty useless without a network connection, so it seems like you do need apps that need a network connection.

I sort of see the point that you're getting at, but you need much better arguments and probably something that can't be applied equally well to "ordinary" software.

Are you getting the Mac app store mixed up with the iPhone app store or the Window Mobile 7 one by any chance?

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