Its been about a week since the App store has come to the Mac. There are somethings that we have already learned about it, both good and bad. First it is available only for Snow Leopard and comes as part of the latest update 10.6.6. If you are on Leopard or a Power PC it is not available. After you finish the update the app store icon will appear in your dock. Any application that you download from the store will also appear in the dock. If you want to remove it from the dock simply drag it too the desktop.
When you open up the App Store across the top are starting at the left the navigation buttons, featured applications, top chart, categories, purchases, updates and finally the search area. If you have used the Itunes store then you are familiar with the idea of featured applications, top chart and categories and the search area. When you click on the purchase button (1) any application you have purchased from the store will appear there. When you need to update an application if you keep the icon in the dock you will see a small number on the icon, telling you how many updates there are. If you are in the app store you will see the same indicator next to the update icon(2). You can search for a app through the search box(3).
Once you find the application you want, you can purchase it by simply clicking on the purchase button. You then have to provide your apple id and password and then the applications will download and appear in your dock. There are a lot of positive things to say about the application store. First like most apple products it looks nice and is easy to use. It is easy to find things using the search box. Many applications have great introductory prices, like Aperture for $79.99, normally over $200.00. Once you download the application you can use it on multiple machines
To prevent your kid from downloading in appropriate applications you may need to set up parental controls Go into System Preferences then Login and then the account you want to limit click on Parental control.
Once you click on parental controls, then click on limited application, then click on app store and under Allow App Store Apps choose the appropriate rating from access to all to access to none.
There are a lot of good things to say about the application store, however it is not without its faults. First it is Snow Leopard only so if you are on Leopard or before you are out of luck. Second it comes as part of an update so you have no choice you get it whether you want it or not. If you purchase or have purchased an application outside the App Store it will not show as a purchased item within the store, so check before you buy. When you buy an application in the App Store it is a final application there is no trial mode. If you see an application you think you might like, I recommend going to the application Web site and see if they have a trial period. You can go to the Web site through the App store by clicking on the name of the applications.
That will bring up a full page of the application which includes further information, reviews, ratings and on the left hand side the links(1) to the application web page. If you do download a trial mode from the web page and then decide to buy the full application, I recommend doing that from the App store, so it shows up in your purchases.
Finally the app store was hacked within a few days, allowing paid applications to be downloaded for free using bogus receipts. This the fault of both the developers and Apple, but it will probably be patched fairly quickly. Also applications that fun under the GPL license such as VLC will not be allowed in the App store.
I am reserving judgment on whether I think the App store is a good thing or not. I do believe it will help non-tech consumers find the application they are looking for more easily. Developers who are in the App store will sell more applications. However there is the chance that people will begin to think that the App store is the only place to get an application. Those apps developer who choose not to be a part of the store for what ever reason will loose potential customers. It is important that there are multiple avenues to purchase and download an applications and that people are aware of them, so they always have an option.