This week Apple launched the AppStore for OSX following the unexpected runaway success of the mobile AppStore for iOS devices. Whereas the only way to install apps on an iPhone or iPad is through the AppStore (jailbreaking excepted), the Mac AppStore is an optional method to simplify the installation process for inexperienced users.

But haven’t they just re-invented the wheel again?

The managed repository of software is a concept that far predates Apple’s implementation. The whole AppStore concept has existed for a long time in the form of repositories and package managers on Linux. 

As usual however, Apple have managed to beautifully brand a well established technology and deliver it to the masses.

Side effects

  1. Apple’s big brother approach to it’s users fits in nicely with controlling their installed software and knowing exactly what they have. 

  2. Easier for the inexperienced to install new software, possibly encouraging them to buy more. It may also reduce the practise of borrowing your mate’s install disk.

  3. Apple takes a share of software sales (30%) on all of its platforms now, previously software developers pocketed it all but the download and installation process was the responsibility of the end user. I guess you could regard Apple’s share as a service fee for ensuring a marketplace and smooth installation.

  4. Ignorance may become the norm… I can see myself having mundane conversations at work with people who think AppStore = only way to install software and will get into all sorts of mess when (and it will happen) it doesn’t install seamlessly.

Thoughts

The developer in me thinks it’s great that a new marketplace has been created with the potential to increase sales in good honest software and ensure a smooth download and installation process for end users who may not usually feel able to install new packages.

The cynic in me is angered that Apple is so damn good at branding something old and unremarkable into the next big thing. But I think they probably have pulled it off…