Apple discovered with iOS that one of the best features of the platform was a system native App Store that made purchasing applications, music, and video quick and easy. After the success of the App Store on iOS devices it did not take long for them to bring the App Store to their desktop and notebook line of computers. The Mac App store was first available in OS X Snow Leopard but is a built in feature to Lion, Apple’s latest operating system.
Overall, the Mac App Store has been a huge success. It offers great flexibility for software distribution and gives users the ability to make sure they have the latest and greatest version of the software they have purchased.
As soon as the store opened, publishers submitted applications to Apple to have them reviewed and included in the Mac App Store. It did not take long for thousands of copies of software to be purchased and distributed over the internet. But despite its quick and instant success the Mac App Store is still without some of the best free made for the Mac.
Missing From the App Store
When ever I bring home a new Apple computer I quickly connect to the internet and download a few pieces of software that I feel are essential to every Mac. Previously, this process included navigating to each of the sites that host the software that I want to install onto my new Mac. However, with my most recent Macbook Air purchase I figured I would be able to install all of the software I use most through the Mac App store. Unfortunately, the apps listed below were no where to be found in the Mac App store:
Dropbox is essential for any Mac user that has files they need to access on multiple computers. The service is a cloud and local file storage system. When you copy files into the Dropbox folder on your Mac it is automatically synced up to the cloud servers and then pushed to the dropbox folder on every other computer you have the application installed on. It saves time, makes sharing files quick and easy, and lets you keep the most important documents with you all the time.
Cyberduck is one of the best open source FTP clients available. It allows connections via FTP and SFTP and also has built in capabilities to to connect to Google Docs, Amazon cloud storage, and other cloud file systems. Cyberduck is free to anyone that navigates and downloads it from Cyberduck.ch Cyberduck is available in the Mac App store but you will have to pay $23 for the ability to download it from Apple.
One of the best Instant Messaging platforms on the Mac. Adium is highly customizable, free, and allows you to connect to almost every Instant Messaging network. The platform is Open Source and because of some aspects of the license its under it looks like distributing it through the Mac App Store is not allowed. You can download it yourself at adium.im.
Why All Apps Should Be in An App Store
Applications that are only distributed through a website quickly becoming an old practice. In reality, the approach in many ways is quickly becoming similar to sharing files with your friends by burning them a CD. Software is continually update and these updates need to be easily distributed to all users. The Mac App store makes that process even easier than the notices that are built into the applications.
A single location to find, download, and update software makes more sense and is easier for the end user. It does not matter to me if its Apple’s Mac store, Amazon’s App Store, or Microsoft’s Software Locker; users should have the ability to browse, buy, and update from a single location.
Notices from each app that it needs updates means that people will not update their software quickly. The notices are presented when users need to access the application and so they often cancel the request to download updates so they can quickly get their work done. Being able to click 1 button and update 300+ apps is much more likely.
Its too bad the applications listed above are not found in the Mac App store. The fact that they are missing creates an opportunity for any software developer to build similar features and quickly try and compete by being distributed through the platform. Hopefully Open Source applications will find a way for free distribution through online software stores.
What are your favorite apps that are missing from the App Store?