Once again, I called it. Apple’s software download site? Dead.

A few months ago, I dared to predict Apple would be slowly herding developers and users to their new app store for the mac in place of the ability to download apps of their choice from other sources. One such other source, which is currently accessible on Mac OSX, is apple’s software download website–that site, effective in two weeks when the app store launches, officially dies a horrible, bloody death. Or, gets redirected to the app store. whichever you prefer. Someone going by the name Myron Byron left me a nice little comment on that entry a few hours after it was posted.

Really? So providing a curated App Store means they’ll also *remove* the existing ability to install software that isn’t provided via that store?? That’s quite a stretch.

This isn’t the same situation as the iPhone/iPad, in which customers knew they were buying in to both a curated AND a locked-down store, and in which there has never been any other way to install apps. Do you honestly believe Apple would be willing to alienate their millions of existing Mac customers?

In fact, if you read the pc-mag link you included in your article you’ll see that Steve Jobs refers to the Mac App Store as the “best place to discover apps”. “Best” not “only.”

Steve Jobs may well be a control freak, but he’s not an idiot.

I responded to that comment, and he’s not been back to the site since.

Given Apple’s tendancy to classify installing an app when and how you want, if it just so happens that when and how you want may be outside of the app store, as voiding your warranty, no, I personally don’t think it’s much of a stretch at all. You’re right, though–Jobs is a control freak, not an idiot. So expect in another version or two after that for them to come up with another way to say “not recommended”.

It didn’t take that long.

Apple first announced the iPhone/iPad-style App Store for Macs at its “Back to the Mac” event when it gave the industry a peek at its next Mac OS version, dubbed OS X Lion. Apple has already made one feature of that upcoming OS available in the current version, FaceTime for Mac, and the App store will be the second. The intention of the Mac App Store is to make installing apps on the desktop as simple as it is on iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads. This includes easy discovery in a gallery with ratings and stats, a one-button install, and automatic updates.

Mac developers will still be able to make their programs available via download from their own or third-party Web sites, but it makes sense for them to rejigger the apps to fit with the new App Store, since this will deliver them the largest audience of Mac users. As with the iPhone/iPad store, the Mac store will give Apple more gatekeeper control over what’s allowed in, enforcing whatever restrictions they deem fit. It also means developers will hand over 30 percent of the purchase price to Apple.

Once again, I called it. As of January 6th, you will no longer actually own your mac any more than you actually own your iWhatever. You work faster than I thought, Apple. Awesome. But not really.

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