Monday, January 10, 2011

Another year, not just another update

The first impressions I have of the 'App Store' - now available on an Intel Mac / Snow Leopard desktop near you - are favourable.   The installation comes part and parcel with the latest (and possibly the last, in its current form) update to the OS, namely 10.6.6  Accept and download the update, and one restart later, there's a new icon in the Dock - the 'Spend It' icon, leading to the App Store, which is essentially a version of the iPod apps store for grown-up computers.

We've come a long way from feeding DVD installation discs into a slot to install software.  Not that it's called 'software' any more - apps it now is.  Finding apps is as easy as finding music in the iTunes store - as is paying for it.   Your existing Apple ID will do just fine!

What I liked:

- the interface is attractive, easy to use

- finding, downloading and paying is equally easy to do.  (though the download speeds seem slower than the dedicated downloads from the apple site of old).  Maybe the easy payment isn't quite such a good point !

- apps are priced down from previous incarnations.   For instance, iPhoto is available (at £8.99) separately from its buddy apps in iLife (iMovie and Garageband) and even if you want all 3, it's cheaper than the previous boxed set price.

- updates are handled automatically (they promise) through the app store.

- purchased apps can be loaded on to any other mac you own.   (In effect, this is limited to Intel macs though).  This can be done by running the app store on another mac you own (with your apple ID), where you will find the app marked as 'purchased' and so available for download free of charge.   I believe it's also permissible to copy the app across and authorise through the app store.   Of course, both macs need to be running snow leopard for this to work, too.

There appear to be some issues with apps you already own:  the only path to upgrade seems to be to re-purchase.   Maybe this will be sorted.

One app which is a bargain (and which I was about to tip for 2011 anyway) is 'Pixelmator'.   It's a great image editor (ideal for designing caption cards for use in FCP) with a neat cutting-edge interface, at an unmissable price of £17.99  Highly recommended.   This app has been recently discounted widely on the web, and this even lower price apparently includes a free upgrade (via the app store) to (and I quote) their 'totally awesome Pixelmator 2.0 for free'.

You can also find Aperture, the iPhoto for grown-ups, on the app store, undercutting its previous disc-based price - and I'm already reading rumours that FCP would have to / could go a modular route for sale there.   Interesting year already.