As an official member of Shopaholics Anonymous, I’m in love with Apple’s genius. First, it was the iPhone App Store in iTunes. I almost forgot iTunes had music, too. Shopping for apps on my iPhone became a leisure time activity.
Then, Apple launched the Mac App Store. It’s the same thing. Browse and buy. If I were accused of drive by app buying I would be so guilty. Here’s the good, bad, and some very ugly of the Mac App Store.
The Good Of Drive-By App Buying
The Mac App Store is the way God intended for Mac users to buy apps. Yes, I know you can search the Mac Web™, try-before-you-buy, but, seriously, is there an app buying experience quite like MAS?
Just like the iPhone, MAS is segregated into approachable categories of apps.
There are user reviews to help you weed out the cruft apps from the shiny gems. Must. Have. Shiny.
For the most part, apps on MAS are not expensive. Microsoft hasn’t gone public with Office apps, but I’m sure they’ll get there by early 2016 at the latest. Adobe even has Photoshop mini on MAS.
App Store bargains are everywhere, in every category. It’s just too easy to develop the excuse habit of productivity and efficiency to justify a purchase. Browse, click, download, install. What’s not to like? Click to update? What’s not to like?
What’s Not To Like?
After you make a Mac App Store purchase, Apple sends you an email receipt. Sometimes the same week. Think about it. There’s instant gratification because the app auto downloads and installs.
But there’s no buyer’s remorse waiting for you in the way of a bill in your email Inbox. At least, not right away. Apple is shrewd.
My biggest pet peeve about MAS apps is the lack of try-before-you-buy, so we’ve harped on that issue from day one. Mac developers must have a trial option, whether a free, lite version on MAS, or a trial version on their web site.
I’ve been known to throw away 99-cents on a colorful app icon. Ditto for $1.99, especially if at least five of the reviews are four stars or above (to weed out the developer’s neighbors and friends). But I’m not forking over $9.99 for an app I can’t drive first.
The Very Ugly App Store
When Apple announced that Mac OS X Lion would be available on the Mac App Store for a mere $29.99, I was elated. Click, download, click, install. Easy peaty, right?
This poor Mac-using schmuck was charged $599.80 for his Lion download. Somehow, MAS went into hiccup mode and coughed up 20 purchases of the same product.
As it turns out, he wasn’t the only Lion buyer injured in the MAS Mass Massacre of 2011. All those extra Lion purchases probably will get straightened out, of course, but it points out the problem with instant gratification.
There’s the need to exercise some discipline. Ease of use is one thing. Debtor’s prison is something else again. Watch what you click. Check for receipts. Keep copies of everything. And never, ever, ever forget this. When Apple’s Steve Jobs says they love making great products, he was only half right. They also love making money.