Results tagged “Mac App Store” from Bill's Words

If you use an app that is critical to your ability to conduct business, should you use the Mac App Store to buy that app?

Though the support article here says:

Apps you purchase and install from Mac App Store can also be copied to an external hard drive, USB Flash Drive, CD/DVD, or backed up via Time Machine. 

…it also says this:

…you can use Mac App Store to reinstall the app (if it’s still available) without incurring additional charges to your account.

It also says this:

If you save a copy of an app to removable media (such as an external hard drive) or file share, simply drag the app back from its storage location to your Applications folder. When you open the restored app for the first time, you may be required to sign in with the Apple ID account that was used to purchase the app.

(All emphasis is mine.)

Two very important questions arise:

What if your business-critical data requires an app which suddenly becomes not available and your favorite computer illiterate user accidentally deletes the app? Apps have been known to disappear overnight for terms and conditions violations, so this is not an unrealistic possibility.

The second is, What if you are unable to “sign in with the Apple ID account…” for some reason? Here are some scenarios that would lead to that problem:

  1. Your business got struck by lightning. Sure, your data are all backed up on an external drive in your trunk at your house, but, alas, your Keychain or 1Password file on your Mac which faithfully stores all your passwords—including the one you can’t remember to the Apple ID account—is fried.
  2. Your cable modem got struck by lightning and took out the computer. You remember the Apple ID and password, but can’t connect to the Internet until some future time that the technician can bring you a new cable modem.
  3. You have access to the Internet via iPhone tethering, so you have access to the Mac App store, but since you have to restore from the original 10.6.0 DVD, you have hundreds of megabytes to download and install. That’s slow, but certainly not insurmountable unless, of course, you are stuck in marginal 3G territory and connections are iffy at best—good enough to sign in, but not good enough for hundreds of megabytes of updates.

Possibility 2 assumes that reauthorizing the app requires an online transaction. It may not—I do not know. Does anybody know definitively?

There are certainly some production apps which require online authorization to work, most notably the Adobe Creative Suite, so this is not a problem unique to the Mac App Store. However, Adobe most likely can help you out if you are in a jam. I doubt that most Mac App Store publishers are set up to handle something like that (such as shipping you an unlocked copy of the app via FedEx or 56K dialup modem or who knows what).

Granted, it doesn’t look like there are a lot of mission-critical apps in the Mac App Store—at least in the charts, anyway. But I’d be very hesitant to buy mission-critical apps from the Mac App Store until two things occur:

  1. The activation/reactivation process is well-understood and the limitations and workarounds are known.
  2. The backup process is clearly defined in such a way so as to not be reliant on any activation process at all.

Other than that? I already love the Mac App Store. I can see that I will be much more likely to make a spur-of-the-moment purchase impulse buys than ever before—and, in fact, already have. Instant gratification is instant and seamless—no unstuffing disk images and mounting them and agreeing to licenses and… Prices are much more dynamic because sales will happen more frequently. And the interface is just as slick and easy to use as the iOS App Store.

Oh yeah, Apple has a good thing going on with the Mac App Store. No doubt about it.

But I’d think long and hard about buying CS5 from it.