Apple released their Mac OS App Store today, in an effort to annoy IT workers everywhere, and so I restarted my trusty iMac after running the update and gave it a spin. The first thing I noticed is that it looks an awful lot like the iTunes Store inside iTunes. Keeping the interface familiar is likely a good idea for this sort of launch, but I'll be curious to see if it evolves away from that model.
I browsed through the offerings to see if there was anything that interested me, and wasn't sure how I felt when I noticed that it had all of the Apple apps I use (iMovie, Keynote, etc) marked as "installed" already, but I got over the "omg Apple is spying on me" feeling when I saw that Evernote was not marked as installed, so at least they're probably not spying on me "yet."
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that all of my apps are up to date, and if this starts tracking third party updates too, well I might lose my worry about the spying altogether. But I might not... Purpl keeps me thinking about my privacy issues a bit more than I used to, but mostly that just means that I'm more likely to be conscious of the trade off when I sacrifice some bit of privacy for some bit of convenience.
I didn't really need any new applications, but I did want to give it a full try, so I went ahead and finally installed TextWrangler, more than 7 years after it was recommended to me by more than one person, and I was amused to see the icon fly in an elegant curve from the App Store to my Dock, where it was ready to launch in moments.
Why, an astute reader might ask, did I say that this is an effort to annoy IT workers everywhere? Every time someone does something like this, in an effort to make things easier or mor controlled or more whatever, it dominates the media, with every hack like me expressing their opinions about it for weeks, filling slow news days with recaps of the "issues" it raises. But also it leaves me worried that Apple is moving towards being an even more closed platform than it already was.
If Apple moves to a model on the desktop and laptop that matches their model on the iPhone, iPod, and iPad, they'll be even more safe from malicious programs than they are now, but they'll lose that spark that comes from being able to develop and run open source programs on a system that isn't ugly. I sincerely hope that it only looks like they're making that move and that we're all mistaken about this, but... I just don't know.
All in all? 3/5 stars for the App Store on OS X. Decent and familiar interface, seems like it has potential, feels like it was released too soon.