What Exactly Is The Mac App Store?

Apple has officially launched the Mac App Store that will function as an extension of the popular App Store currently used to acquire apps and games for iOS devices. This announcement closely follows the launch of the Chrome Web Store by Google last month.

Apple has officially launched the Mac App Store that will function as an extension of the popular App Store currently used to acquire apps and games for iOS devices. This announcement closely follows the launch of the Chrome Web Store by Google last month. More after the jump.

Both the Mac App Store (MAS) and Chrome Web Store (CWS) exist to create a distribution platform for connecting users to third party developed applications and monetize the transactions. The banal state of desktop software could potentially be revolutionized – induced with the same transparency that’s propelling the success of Apple’s App Store. Users will be able to find the highest rated and most popular apps instead of sifting through random sites and reviews while developers won’t have to worry about recouping expensive distribution costs with vexatious licensing tactics.

The Mac App Store is part of the OS X, requiring users to update their systems before they have the app. On the top you can browse featured apps, top charts, categories, purchases and updates. The organization of the apps is similar to the style found in iPad but with a more nascent UI.

Although I’m not going to delve into the nitty gritty of the UI, it’s worth noting the customizability Apple offers to developers for their app pages. Take a look below at the number 2 Top Paid game called Chopper 2’s app page below:

Certain apps can also be viewed in full screen mode and sometimes should be. Angry Birds looks nice on the big screen and can be played using the trackpad (or a mouse) in a manner similar to how its played on other devices. Angry Birds is currently the top paid game and HAS to be played in full screen. Instead of clicking the game is more about swiping your fingers and doing flicking actions.

There are plenty of free apps as well, the top of which is the Twitter application – which is the v2.0 of Tweetie pretty much. Other top free apps include Solitaire, Evernote, SketchBook Express, and other utility based apps. One downside to the MAS is is that it doesn’t offer trial versions of any applications – a similar approach as used with iOS devices. The purchasing experience is fluid – letting users pay with their iTunes accounts.

Many developers are vying for top positions on the Mac App Store evidently from the flurry of press releases hitting the web. MumboJumbo, leading developer of casual games, has readied 10 titles for release on Apple’s new Mac App Store.

“As original pioneers of Mac OS gaming with MacPlay, we are extremely excited to make our new games, as well as our catalog of games for Mac OS from the past 20 years, available directly to our customers on Apple’s world-leading digital distribution platform,” said Cottam. “Our games span everything from mystery-adventure to innovative matching games to strategy puzzle games – there’s something for everyone.

The Mac App Store is a nice preview of things to come in Apple’s OS X Lion. Other features that will be included in OS X Lion include an iPad style launch pad, full-screen apps (as seen in Angry Birds), and Mac’s command center called Mission Control.

Mac App Store will continue operating alongside Apple’s physical stores which also sell software. Expect to see the trend shift away from physical sales to direct online sales. With such simplicity in this model, its surprising why Apple didn’t do it earlier.

Google’s Chrome Web Store on the other hand isn’t faring so well. The lackluster performance is implicit from the inactivity and the only apps that seem to be getting sufficient attention are free apps. Its unclear what the long term potential of Google’s Chrome Web Store can be. As Android solidifies its position in the future of touch based devices including tablets and televisions, Chrome is seemingly destined for the clouds and fits in with Google’s philosophy of on-demand software that runs primarily on the cloud.

Stay tuned.