Cydia moves from jailbroken iPhones, iPads to the Mac - can it succeed?

Cydia, the unofficial app store for jailbroken iPhones and iPads, is planning a Mac version. As Macs aren't a closed platform, is it something Mac users need or want?

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As a result of these complaints, the creator of Cydia is planning to offer Cydia for Mac as an alternative app store for Mac users. If you're not familiar with Cydia, it is an alternate app store for jailbroken iOS devices. It has a very app store-like feel and lives as an application on jailbroken devices (and is installed by default by almost all jailbreaking tools). Cydia offers developers that choose not to adhere to Apple's development guidelines and App Store restrictions a place to showcase and offer their apps to users who have jailbroken their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.

Although jailbreakers represent a small minority of iOS users (estimated to be about 10%), there is more than enough interest and demand among users and developers to have made Cydia a success. And, if you're willing to jailbreak your iOS device (which will void your warranty and could cause problems with the device in the future including exposure to malware, but which the Library of Congress ruled legal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act), there are a lot of innovative applications available via Cydia.

The question that I can't help asking is: what's the point of Cydia for Mac? Cydia for iOS meets a very clear challenge in that there is no other app store alternative for locating, purchasing, and installing non-approved iOS apps. This is because Apple is maintaining iOS as a closed platform.

Mac OS X, however, is not a closed platform and isn't intended to become one. Apple's motivations for keeping it open may be varied, but the potential loss of major developers (Microsoft and Adobe come immediately to mind) if Apple cuts off non-App Store installation of software or enforces stringent guidelines would be disastrous for Apple and a death knell for the Mac.

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