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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With scores of excellent online sources for Mac software (commercial, shareware, and free/open source) including an existing app store like option in Bodega, there's no clear need Cydia. Developers who eschew Apple's terms still have plenty of options for selling their software. Sites like Mac Update, MacAppStorm, Pure-Mac, Mac Softpedia, MacShareware.com, FreeMacWare, and even Apple's own Mac Downloads directory are all excellent places to find Mac software of all forms (and often with ratings and reviews). Tools like App Updates, MacUpdate Desktop, and App Fresh can even handle maintaining applications as up to date (regardless of where they were found/downloaded from).

Ultimately, there's nothing inherently wrong with Cydia for Mac joining these ranks, though some users may avoid the service simply because of it's association with jailbreaking iOS devices. Similarly, given its jailbreaking associations, it seems likely that Apple would try to dissuade users from Cydia (fearing that comfort with the service for Macs might lead to more jailbreaking). Whether this would be some type of explicit ban (which I don't think would be wise or enforceable) or more subtle, like Apple Store employees discouraging its use isn't clear. In the end, the plan just perplexes me because it just doesn't seem like something that users are lacking or are demanding to have for the Mac (unlike on the iOS front). Put together, these reasons lead me to seriously wonder what, if any, kind of success Cydia for Mac might enjoy.

What do you think? Is there a need or potential demand for Cydia on the Mac? Is Apple going to far by banning demo titles from the Mac App Store? Share your thoughts in the comments

Ryan Faas writes about personal technology for ITworld. Learn more about Faas' published works and training and consulting services at www.ryanfaas.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanfaas.

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