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Apple’s new Mac App Store arrives on January 6 and it could be the perfect tool for small app developers and a welcome boost in hybrid web-app startups. That said — Does your business or client want their marketing and product development strategy to be led by Apple’s App Store?

Mac App Store key features for Users

Customers of the Mac App Store (eg anyone owning a Mac) will think this is a really useful new system tool.  So lets look at a few key features of the App Store

1. Purchase and pay for any app

I guess you’ll pay with your credit card linked to your iTunes account

2. One-Click Install

The Apple OSx already made it easy to install software. This should make it easier as users don’t have to figure out what to do with a .mkpg or download a .dmg and then drag the app to Application folder.

3. Redownload any purchased software

Great if you change your Mac as often as your underwear. Only slightly useful for the average person who buys a Mac and never upgrades their hardware.

4. Get software Updates Notification

Extending Apple software updates to include non Apple apps will be great, but this means that 3rd party apps which do the same thing (like AppFresh) could become redundant.

5. Easy to browse and search for Apps

Lets just assume this App Store is targeted to first time Mac users or people buying a new Mac, then an App Store makes sense to help people install the extra apps they might want. However if you prefer to search Google and go straight to an Apps homepage on the web to buy any 3rd party applications then why would you change that behaviour?

For existing owners of a Mac, the wow factor of the Mac App store will fade quickly — why exactly would you need an App store if all the apps you use are already on your machine? I would also think Mac owners do not go looking for new apps all that often.

6. An App to find Apps

Many current Mac owners at some time have used the Apple Download site and this will be closed down from this week. So the Mac App store makes a good replacement and it brings the user experience inline with iTunes App Store

All this starts to sound as if Apple will upset a few of its existing software developers who already develop, market, sell and support their own apps to help Apple users and their computers run better.

Developers Agreement for Mac App Store

A quick look at the developers site for the Mac App Store tells us

  • App Store Benefits for Developers
  • You pick the price
  • You get 70% of sales revenue
  • Receive payments monthly
  • No charge for free apps
  • No credit card fees
  • No hosting fees
  • No marketing fees

Here then is the same business model which is used by iTunes / iPad / iPhone apps and similar to other mobile appstores developed by Vodafone, Blackberry, Android.

At first glance, it’s hard to see why any existing application from a 3rd party developer would be added to the App Store if 30% of the RRP goes to Apple. Would this lead to a two-tiered pricing model - and developers increasing their prices for Mac App Store?

You can only assume that existing developers will not close down their existing ecommerce sites and jump into bed with Apple!

What do you think? Are you ready for Apple Mac App Store?