The Mac App Store has been around for almost six weeks and has become phenomenally popular with Mac users who are looking for a one stop shop for their software needs. The Store, built on the same idea as the iOS App Store, allows users to easily discover and purchase new apps, using the tried and tested user review model. However, there is one area where the Mac App Store really excels, and that is the manner in which developers and consumers can interact using the Mac App Store as a hub.
Transparency when it comes to user review of software has, in the past, been a rather delicate issue. More than a few times, users have been seduced into buying software by the glowing reviews on a developer/publisher website which state, with a relatively high frequency, if you do not purchase a given application then it would be to the detriment of not just your Mac, but your entire existence. Cherry picking glowing reviews for a crap app does not really solve the inherent problems in the app. While this still occurs infrequently on the Mac App Store, the sheer volume of consumers puchasing apps and reviewing them means that you get a much more honest picture of how an app performs.
It is not simply the transparency that comes from user reviews, but it is the motivation for developers to make their apps better. It is possible to find yourself commenting on many apps that you’ve bought in a prolific manner, suggesting fixes and tweaks to improve them for other consumers. This is the kind of feedback that can fall between the cracks when a developer releases an application to a relatively niche market, but the sheer sales volume and exposure that a developer gains on the Mac App Store can force them to become more competitive.
The app that prompted the thinking about this is Sparrow, a new e-mail client for Mac with a Twitter-like interface. A cool new application, but in its first version and therefore still in need of a couple of tweaks. The Mac App Store is not the only place where users should hunt for great new applications but it should certainly be the first stop. And while you are there, take a look at Sparrow.