Mac App Store
The App Store on OS X Mountain Lion
|Initial release||January 6, 2011|
|Stable release||1.3 (201) / October 22, 2013|
|Operating system||Mac OS X 10.6.6 and later|
The Mac App Store is a digital distribution platform for OS X applications. It is developed by Apple Inc. The platform was announced on October 20, 2010, at Apple's "Back to the Mac" event. Apple began accepting app submissions from registered developers on November 3, 2010, in preparation for its launch.
It was released on January 6, 2011, as part of the free Mac OS X v10.6.6 update for all current Snow Leopard users. After 24 hours of release, Apple announced that there was a total of more than one million downloads.
Like the iOS App Store, the Mac App Store is regulated by Apple. Applications must be approved by Apple before becoming available on the store. Disallowed types of applications revealed by Apple include:
- Software that changes the native user interface elements or behaviors of OS X.
- Software that does not comply with the Apple Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines.
- Software that is similar in look or function to current Apple products (e.g. Mac App Store, Finder, iTunes, iChat, etc.).
- Software similar to other software that is already released in the Mac App Store. Examples given: Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw, Photoshop Lightroom & Apple Aperture, Cinema 4D and 3D Max, etc.
- Software that contains or displays pornographic material.
- Software that is or installs shared components (kernel extensions, browser plugins, QuickTime components, etc.).
- Software that provides content or services that expire.
- Software that does not run on the currently shipping version of OS X.
- Beta, demo, trial, or test versions of software.
- Software that references trademarks unless the developer has explicit permission to use them
- Open source software licensed only under the GPL (because the App Store Terms of Service imposes additional restrictions incompatible with the GPL)
- Apps that use software libraries that are either optionally installed or deemed deprecated by Apple for OS X users. Examples given:
- New apps that are not sandboxed (as of June 1, 2012). At WWDC 2013, Apple announced that this rule no longer applied, and that so-called "temporary exceptions" may be used when the app has a reason not to be sandboxed.
Usage by Apple
Since the opening of the App Store for Mac, Apple Inc. has increasingly used it as the primary means of distribution of its own in-house software products at the expense of Apple-branded software applications being sold at Apple Store locations. This position was perceivably increased with the July 2011 release of OS X Lion, which was the first release of OS X not sold in the boxes of DVDs which had been traditionally used to distribute the operating system at the Apple Store.
This method limited the reach of distribution of the operating system to those who currently use Mac OS X 10.6.6+, although other means offered by Apple after the release included a USB flash drive containing the operating system and a digital in-store download of the operating system through Apple Store locations.
This has also affected Apple's prior means of distribution through its own website, with the Downloads gallery being removed in July 2011 and replaced with links to the Mac App Store information page. However, it has not affected the Dashboard widget gallery, nor has it affected the Safari Extensions gallery, both of which remain online and web-based. The Apple Support Download section also remains online, as it provides mostly security updates for current and older software applications and operating system, many dating back to before 1998.
Not long after independent game developer Wolfire Games placed its game, Lugaru, on the Mac App store, as Lugaru HD for $9.99, the developer noticed a counterfeit copy of their game also being sold on the App Store for $0.99 USD. The developer contacted Apple on January 31, 2011, and on February 10, 2011, the counterfeit copy of the game was removed from the App Store.
A number of news sites have remarked that for all the scrutiny Apple places on apps listed in their store, a counterfeit copy of an existing app should not have made it through the process, and the days it had been since the developer had alerted Apple to the counterfeit software is disconcerting to developers.  Issues like this have yet to be fully addressed by Apple Developer.
The Mac App Store launched with over 1000 programs on January 6, 2011, including Apple's own iWork '09, iLife '11, Aperture and third-party applications ported from iOS, such as Angry Birds, Flight Control, Things and Twitter for Mac. Most of the apps belonged to the Games category, which had nearly three times as many apps in the next largest category, Utilities. The most common price point was $20–50. Angry Birds, a popular video game on the iOS App Store, was the number one paid app on the Mac App Store on the first day.
An update to the Mac App Store for OS X Mountain Lion also introduced an Easter egg in which, if one downloads an app from the Mac App Store and goes to one's applications folder before the app has finished downloading, one will see the application's timestamp as "January 24, 1984," the date the original Macintosh went on sale. This is the first time an Easter egg has appeared in a piece of Apple software since Steve Jobs' ban on Easter eggs when he returned to lead Apple.
- Darren Murph (December 6, 2010). "Apple Mac App Store: open for business starting January 6th". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved December 16, 2010.
- Muchmore, Michael (January 6, 2011). "Apple's Mac App Store: Hands On". PC Magazine (PC Magazine). Retrieved January 6, 2011.
- AppleInsider Staff (October 20, 2010). "Apple's new Mac App Store coming to Snow Leopard within 90 days". AppleInsider.com. Retrieved October 31, 2010.
- Mac App Store Review (November 3, 2010). "Apple Now Accepting Submissions For The Mac App Store". MacAppStoreReview.com. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
- "Mac App Store Downloads Top One Million in First Day" (Press release). Apple Inc. January 7, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
- Dan Frakes (October 23, 2010). "The Mac App Store: The devil will be in the details". Macworld.com. Mac Publishing, LLC .. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
- AppleInsider Staff (October 20, 2010). "Apple issues review guidelines for Mac App Store". AppleInsider.com. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
- GPL and the Mac App Store
- "More about the App Store GPL Enforcement — Free Software Foundation — working together for free software". Fsf.org. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
- "Packaging a Java App for Distribution on a Mac". Oracle. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
- Dinacci, Marco. "Take your Java application to the Mac App Store.". Retrieved January 20, 2013.
- "News - Apple Pulls Counterfeit Lugaru From Mac App Store". Gamasutra. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
- Tan, Maurice (February 3, 2011). "Lugaru shamelessly resold without consent on iTunes". Destructoid. Retrieved February 4, 2011.
- Frommer, Dan (2011-01-06). "Surprise, Surprise: "Angry Birds" Already The #1 Paid Mac App". Silicon Alley Insider. Retrieved 2011-01-06.
- Gaywood, Richard (2011-01-06). "Mac App Store by the numbers -- almost 1,000 apps on Day One". TUAW. Retrieved 2011-01-06.
- Gravilux: An iPad App Moves to the Desktop via the New Mac App Store, prMac, January 6, 2011
- "The Easter Eggs Are Back in OS X—And This One Is Insanely Great". Gizmodo.