Mac App Store: What to expect

With the official announcement of the Mac App Store being released on January 6th, 2011, I thought I would take the opportunity to let users know what they can expect, and also what they shouldn’t expect, from the Mac App Store.


One of the surprises from the Mac App Store preview in October was the absence of iWork ’11. There have been speculations that Apple has held back the release of iWork in order to release it along with the Mac App Store. This is entirely possible, and iWork ’11 may be prominently displayed on the Mac App Store.


We may see games like Plants vs. Zombies by Pop Cap Games or even an Angry Birds  OS X version (maybe, I am hopeful we will see it) that will be released. There are applications that have already said they are on board. One of these applications, Pixelmator, made the announcement shortly after the announcement of the Mac App Store.

There are some groups, like United Way or The Salvation Army, who may wish to collect contributions through apps offered on the Mac App Store. These entities are allowed to have their applications; however, there are two stipulations. The first is that the application must be free — there are no execeptions. The second is that any donations must be made via web-browser. This is most likely because Apple does not want the hassle of collecting their 30% of the cut, which they take for any in app purchases. It is much easier to configure a system for one setup and apply it to the entire system than to one segment.

Despite the potential for applications, Apple has made it very clear that there are certain applications that we will not be seeing on the Mac App Store.

The first of the applications that we will not see is anything that is a beta or demo. Apple has made it clear that these will be rejected and are to be distributed on developers’ websites. Apple wants fully baked applications only.

There is a provision within the Mac App Store guidelines that prohibits applications that require root permission. Therefore, this is another class of applications that will not appear on the Mac App Store. This means that applications like Microsoft Office, Super Duper, or even iTunes will not appear within the Mac App Store. Now it’s entirely possible that Microsoft Office and iTunes will be modified to work around this limitation. However, Super Duper may not be able to due to the requirement of scheduling backups.

Another type of application that will be rejected is anything that requires a License Key or asks for the user to agree to some licensing terms. This means that applications like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Reader and again iTunes will not appear on the Mac App Store.

Overall, it will be interesting to see what applications are available on the day of launch for the Mac App Store. There may be thousands of applications ready to go or there may only be a few. We’ll all know exactly how successful it will be in three weeks.

I'm into everything technology related, particularly anything Apple related. I enjoy programming and tend to lean towards server-based technologies over client-based. You can contact me on twitter, via e-mail, or follow me on friendfeed.