At a glance
Apple has revolutionized the way we think about technology and how we interact with personal computers. If you’re a Mac user, gone are the days when you had to physically buy software at the store, pull out the CD, and install the software from your disc drive. Last week, Apple unveiled their new Mac App Store, which takes Apple one step closer to phasing out disc drives altogether and solidifying their claim that the MacBook Air is the future of laptops (at less than an inch thick , the Air doesn’t have a CD-ROM drive at all). Of course you’ll still want to consider other laptop specs and features.
So, what’s the significance of the Mac App Store and will it save Apple users money or cause them to spend more? Let’s take a look.
How the Mac App Store Works
First, you need to check for software updates on your iMac, MacBook, or MacBook Pro. Once you install the updates, an application will be installed on your computer called the “App Store.” It’s not a web page, but rather an actual application that interacts with your Mac, much like the App Store application that comes pre-installed on an iPhone or iPad.
Once you open up the App Store, you’ll have access to over 1,000 applications that you can quickly download using your iTunes account. There are both apps that you pay for and free apps, which are completely free, not demo versions.
- You use your existing iTunes account, so it will charge the credit card that is attached to your account. This makes it easy to purchase apps and quickly download them.
- The Free Apps section has a lot of great apps, and you don’t even have to do a Google search for “best free Mac apps.”
- Apps can be filtered by Category, Top Rated, Staff Picks, Top Grossing, and more to make it even easier to find the apps you want.
- You can purchase applications separately that were previously only sold as a bundle. For instance, iWork which includes Keynote, Numbers, and Pages, can now be split up to purchase each program individually.
- The Mac App Store lives on your Application Dock, so it’s easy to access whenever you want.
Will You Spend More or Less Money?
Because the Mac App Store split up a lot of bundled applications, you’ll be able to buy only what you need and thus save money. For instance, I spent $50 on iWork eight months ago, but all I really wanted was Keynote. I would only pay $14.99 for it now as a standalone.
On the other hand, it’s now much more tempting to buy a bunch of $5 and $10 apps. It doesn’t seem like much money, but those small amounts can really add up. For all of the iPhone users out there, buying iPhone apps has become the new Starbucks latte – tempting, and a money drain. Apple makes it way too easy to buy their software, and that’s a problem for people trying to save some money.
Combat this temptation by going through all of the free applications, and download as many as you need to take away the initial urge of getting a bunch of sweet new apps. I for one haven’t spent a dime yet, but I’m tempted to get Angry Birds on my laptop!
Top 5 Free Mac Apps
- Twitter for Mac – Simple and easy to use, and doesn’t take up much real estate.
- Evernote – Organize your life with this app. It’s also got a nice iPhone app.
- Alfred – For all of you quick-key freaks, this app will be very addictive.
- Drop Copy – Creates a space on your desktop that looks like a gopher hole and allows Mac nerds that have an iPad, MacBook, and iMac to easily transfer files back and forth between machines.
- Caffeine – This app sits in your application dock and when you click on it, it pauses your power saving utilities. This prevents that annoying situation of stepping away from your desk for 5 minutes and everything shutting down.
Have any of you Mac users explored the Mac App store yet? What do you like and not like? Have you been tempted to spend a bunch of money?