What You Need to Know About the Mac App Store

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Among the announcements from Apple’s press event yesterday, we heard about the new Mac App Store. If you’ve ever downloaded an app to an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, you’ll feel right at home with this. The Mac App Store will be rolled out within 90 days, according to Apple.

Unlike with Apple’s mobile devices, you’ll still be able to download and install software on your Mac the old-fashioned way. The Mac App Store will simply make for an easy-to-use repository of software that Apple deems fit to sell to Mac users. Theoretically, you won’t have to worry about whether an app is safe or not since they’re all pre-approved by Apple, and it’ll also be a good place for software developers to sell their applications.

Installing applications will be an easy and streamlined process, much like it is on your iPhone. You’ll put in your iTunes password and the app will be downloaded and installed in one fell swoop. You’ll also get to see which of the apps you’ve already purchased have updates available, and you can simultaneously update them all at once.

Perhaps the best feature of the Mac App Store is that any app you buy will be available on any of your Mac computers. So if you have multiple machines that you use, you only have to buy an app once. Furthermore, if you get a new computer you’ll be able to open up the Mac App Store on that machine and install all of your programs at once. That’s really nice.

This is not a radically new idea by any means (Steam, Ubuntu Software Centre, Intel AppUp, etc.) but it’s a pretty intriguing step for a big company like Apple because, aside from various Linux distributions, it’ll be the de facto place for a given computer platform’s users to find and download platform-specific software. And not only will Mac users get a central place to buy software, but Apple will get a 30% cut of every title sold.

Microsoft is apparently working on pretty much the exact same thing for the next version of Windows, but I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see something pushed out earlier given what Apple’s doing with the Mac App Store.

And Google has already announced that its Chrome Web Store will be the place to download apps from its upcoming Chrome operating system that’s due in the next couple months. But seeing that Chrome OS will be entirely browser-based (as far as the user is concerned), you won’t be able to manually install software like you can on Macs and Windows machines.

More on Techland:

Apple Intros Mac App Store, New MacBook Airs, iLife 11, OS X Lion

Google Announces Browser-Based App Store

Eric Schmidt: Chrome OS Devices To Be Disposable, Cost Under $400