Firstly, to use the Mac App Store, you’ll need to upgrade to OS X 10.6.6 via Software Update. Once installed, you’ll have access to the App Store via a blue App Store icon in your Dock or via your Menu Bar. The new icon looks a lot like the new iTunes icon. Start the app and you will be greeted to a view which would remind you of the iTunes store. On the top you have a simple bar with forward backward controls on the left, icons to the five main categories of the store in the middle and a search bar on the right.
Apple’s new Mac App Store will also drive the average market price for Mac applications downward, because price point will largely factor into total downloads and, by association, whether or not apps make the top charts and get featured more prominently. We’ve already seen that race to the bottom occur with iOS applications, where the average price of apps is around $4 (less if you include games).
The act of downloading an application couldn’t get easier. You just click on the download button and the App Store will ask you for your Apple ID, which is the same one you use in iTunes. If you don’t have one you can make one within the app itself. This ID is required even if you want to download free apps. Once everything is done and you press download, you will see the app icon just jump out of the App Store window and go to your dock. There you will see a download bar on it and once it finishes downloading it will bounce once to alert you. One thing we noticed is that apps downloaded from the Store will go straight to the dock, whether or not you want them there and you will have to manually remove them later.
Overall, the Mac App Store will make the process of finding and downloading applications that you want or need much easier for the end user. Now it remains to be seen how well the developers respond to the Store and whether they would choose to put their apps there, knowing they will have to pay 30% of the cost of the app to Apple, which they can avoid if they just continue the way they do now through their own website. And unlike the iPhone, the Mac is not restricted to downloading apps only through the App Store. But if Apple’s track record is anything to go by, we feel that the Mac Store is going to be a success.