Mac101 – Mac App Store

I have been using the Mac App Store to buy and update software on my Mac for many years now, just like the rest of you. At first, I thought it was the ‘cats meow’. It is a great idea which has lead to the development of tons of new software for the Mac. But of late, I am having reservations about using it.

 

App Store

You are all familiar with the App Store right? When you first login it shows you “Featured Apps” that are available like so:

Of course, you can search for apps by name or by categories and the App Store does a fairly decent job of finding stuff. If you need to see your purchases just click on the “Purchased” link:

In this window you can reinstall stuff and just determine if you have purchased something on the App Store or from a third party website (you can also do this in the Launchpad app). And, the App Store does a fairly good job of notifying you of updates to the software you have installed. It is convenient:

I still use the App Store for some software purchases because some Apps are only available there. There is no other way to get them. But, my use of the App Store is decreasing, here is why.

App Store Woes

 

Features

Many of the Apps available on the App Store have less features than the downloaded third party version. Sometimes there is parity, but too often if you go to the Developers website they mention a couple of things that are missing from their app in the App Store version. Apple has very stringent criteria for putting apps on the App Store and sometimes that is just not good for the enduser.

Functionality

The App Store works pretty good, but there are times when it is just down or does not work very well. This can be a little frustrating to say the least. I am going to put timeliness under this heading. Things have improved in this area, but all too often the App Store version of an app comes out a few days after the regular download version that you can get from the developers website. Not a big deal, but I like to keep my apps up to date.

Information

This is not a big problem. The App Store provides pretty good info on apps that you are considering. But, there are times when there could be more information for the end user. I suppose this may be the developers arena, but still the more info the better.

Developers

There have been complaints lately that many smaller app Developers are not able to use the App Store. The complaint is that larger Developers with greater resources are edging out the smaller Developers on the “Featured Apps” front page and in other ways.

Make no mistake, the App Store is a boon for Developers. Yes, Apple makes money off the sale of the apps, but it is a neat way for Developers to get exposure for their apps and make lots of dinero!

Because of the above listed problems (there are other problems too, but I think these are the worst) I have started trying to buy new apps from the Developer’s website if I can. Can’t always do that, because some apps are exclusively distributed through the App Store, but when I can I go to the Developers website and buy the app directly from them. I can always keep track of my third party downloaded apps in my new software tracking database layout. Buying and updating an app on the App Store is easier, but in the long run I think I am better off just getting it from the Developer’s website. Plus, I can get stuff from some of the smaller, really good app Developers!

Conclusion

How about you? Have you gotten a little frustrated with the Mac App Store? If you haven’t already, you might just get the app from the Developer’s website. It is a little more work, but there are benefits for sure.