Is that hypothetical Mac App Store-only OS Apples panacea for the Mac? iOS, of course, famously supports only running third-party apps purchased from its App Store. Does Apple hope to one day make Macs run the same way?
Mountain Lions new Gatekeeper feature lets users limit which apps can run on their Macs; the default option limits Macs to running Mac App Store apps and apps from identified developersdevelopers whove registered (for free) with Apple, but whose apps arent subject to Mac App Store restrictions. Could a more restrictive, Mac App Store setting become the new defaultor perhaps, the only option?
Arments guess: I dont think it will happen for a while, but I do think that [restricting Macs to Mac App Store apps is] Apples eventual goal. And if it does happen, no matter how far in the future that is, I bet well all scream that its too soon.
Thomsons take: Yes, I can completely see Apple locking things down more in future. But, I would expect them to first completely remove the ability to run non-signed code, and I dont think too many people would complain about that. Were a good couple of years away from only allowing App Store apps Id sayprobably not in 10.9, but after that it wouldnt surprise me.
And Kafasiss perspective: I think that would be disaster for everyone. It would be bad for developers who dont fit into the Mac App Store, certainly, and thats a growing number. It would be bad for users, who would no longer have access to a wide range of very useful products which simply dont fit within the Mac App Store. Ultimately, I believe it would be very bad for Apple as well, as their now-thriving Mac platform would be damaged.
What Mac users should do
Perhaps, at this point, youre wondering what you should do. The first step is concluding how you feel about the Mac App Store and Apples increasingly strict rules regarding the apps that can be sold there. If you dont mind them, keep contentedly shopping in the store.
But take pause. When we talk about the importance of backing up, we often say that its a question of when, not if, your hard drive will fail. With the Mac App Store, its nearing certainty that if you havent yet been stymied by the impact of one of Apples Mac App Store rules, you will be soon.