Following on from today’s Developer release and announcement of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, a few details are beginning to emerge which give some indication of Apple’s future plans for the Mac. One of the more interesting things to appear is that Apple has packaged the Software Update process inside the Mac App Store. The move, spotted by iClarified, indicates the importance that Apple is placing on the Mac App Store for managing Mac software in the future. The Software Update function is still available in the Apple menu but clicking it launches a new section within the Mac App Store.
The reasons behind this are probably related to the unification of the Mac software with iOS devices and, more readily, a more logical process for users. Currently, in Lion, users have to use two software update functions; one core software update command from the Apple menu and one from the Mac App Store for installed apps. With the update, users still have to click the Software Update function but I’m wondering if this will disappear in future releases so that the Mac App Store update button will be all that remains. The update will also bring the Mac more in line with iOS devices in that the iOS App Store is the central area for updates.
However, the one complaint I would have about this move is that the Mac App Store update mechanism still leaves a lot to be desired. The interface for the existing Software Update mechanism seems to be a little more responsive and, when it comes to the Mac App Store, a spinning beach ball, if only for a second or two, is still commonplace on my iMac and MacBook Air. Hopefully the stability and efficiency of the Store will continue to improve as Apple moves it more to the forefront of the OS, as they appear to be doing with this latest change to the Software Update platform.