Everyone expected an announcement at some point today, and it seems that it’s come a few hours ahead of the anticipated time of 9am PST. I’m really excited to let you know that the latest OS X update (10.6.6) is now available for download through Software Update.
The main addition is support for the newly released Mac App Store, that allows you to quickly find, download and update software on your Mac. It’s a revolutionary new way to handle the process of finding and downloading desktop software, and has received a warm reception from many popular Mac developers.
Read on to find out more about how to install and navigate around the all-new Mac App Store!
Having problems downloading software through the store? Just click Store > Sign Out, reboot your Mac, and you should be good to go!
Download and Install
Weighing in at just under 115MB, the update downloaded and installed quickly for us with no problems at all. After rebooting, you’ll be presented with a new icon in your OS X Dock that looks something similar to the following:
Clicking it will launch the new Mac App Store, and showcase some of the new applications available to download and purchase. We’ll be looking at a selection of these in greater detail later today, so stay tuned to read about some of the best new software available in the Mac App Store shortly.
The Mac App Store streamlines the process of browsing for and downloading software, and splits this process up in a similar way to the existing iTunes Store for iOS devices.
After launching the app for the first time, you’re presented with a page of featured downloads and popular apps:
I’m impressed by the range, number and quality of software that’s already available through the store. Over 1,000 applications are available to download right now – a surprisingly high number, and one that will no doubt give you hours of fun flicking through different pages of the store.
Top Charts & Categories
There are two other ways to browse new applications: through the “Top Charts” page, that showcases Top Free, Paid and Grossing apps, or via the breakdown of different Categories:
Experiencing Download Issues?
Many people are reporting problems with downloading software at the moment, and up to this point, I haven’t been able to succeed with this process on either the US or UK App Store. This could be due to congestion over at Apple servers, or just the process of the whole system gradually scaling up to meet initial demand.
It’s worth downloading the software update purely to browse the Store at this point, even if it’s going to be a few more hours before you can actually download and install new software through it.
Picking Up Your Existing Software
On the whole, it seems that the Mac App Store does a fairly poor job of determining which software you already have installed on your system. I’m a proud user of many of the apps available through the store at launch, but most of them (with the exception of Apple’s own software) do not show up as already installed.
This is understandable to some degree, but it’s a problem I had hoped Apple would be able to find a solution to. Frustratingly, it means that we won’t be able to use the automatic software update service unless an app has specifically been purchased through the App Store.
What Do You Think?
So, after downloading and trying out the new Mac App Store, what do you think? Is it going to be the new way to purchase and download all your new software, or are you still wishing that it had never been announced?
I think it can only lead to good things for Mac software developers, and the general application ecosystem. I can’t wait to download some of the new software that has been announced today, and rest assured we’ll be bringing you all the latest news and updates as we find out more!