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Mac App Store launch day: roundup of TUAW's coverage


If you somehow missed the news, yesterday the Mac App Store went live (somewhat earlier than the midday ET that had been rumored, which caused an amusing all-hands-on-deck scramble in the TUAW newsroom!), and as you'd expect, we were right there in the thick of it reporting the news as it broke. If you missed some or all of our posts, never fear -- here's what you need to know to get caught up on Apple's latest assault on your wallet.

First off, the basics. We showed you how to find the Mac App Store (including the useful tip that you can get to it from the Apple menu if you remove it from the Dock), a gallery of the basic UI and another one walking you through the app downloading experience. We were also happy to see that the store itself is its own app, rather than yet another thing crammed into iTunes. A big launch-day release exclusive to the Mac App Store was Twitter (formerly Tweetie) v2.0, and Steve took a look and liked what he saw.

The Mac App Store also has a number of nice features that aren't immediately obvious. The DRM scheme is about as pleasant to deal with as such things ever are, and it seems to be modeled after the Steam gaming service -- once you buy an app, you can install and use it on all of your Macs (for non-commercial use, at least, and you do need to sign into the same iTunes account on the different machines). In another neat touch, if you try to open a file type your Mac can't cope with now, the Finder will offer to search the store to find apps you can use.

It wasn't all good news, though. Some users had problems with an "Error 100" message when downloading apps, so we showed you how to fix that. We had some worrying reports that some devs haven't implemented their receipt checking correctly, which has led to a wave of "Mac App Store protection cracked, piracy rampant" stories across the 'Net (which isn't true -- it's the individual app that is vulnerable, not the store itself). There were a number of apps we'd hoped to see that weremissing -- not least of which was iWork '11, long rumored to be a launch day release, but not present (although hinted at on a now-vanished ad on Apple's own website). Finally, a common source of user confusion was apps not bought through the Mac App Store sometimes -- but not often -- showing up as "installed" in the store UI.

There was some grumbling about pricing all over the Web, with many users accustomed to iOS's rarely-more-than-$5 price points suffering from sticker shock. Our own analysis shows price points falling into two broad ranges, with a lot of sub-$5 programs (most iOS ports fall into this bracket) and a lot of $20-50 programs (most traditional Mac software is in this range) -- an observation Erica made, too. However, we also saw some steep discounts on a few key apps, notably are Pixelmator for US$30 (it's $60 on their website) and Apple's prosumer photo management app, Aperture, for $80 (previously this was $200). Also, because iLife and iWork have been de-bundled into separate apps, users who previously only wanted one or two of the parts can now save money, too.

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