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The Mac App Store launches

The Mac App Store launched yesterday.  As a staunch Mac girl, I am pretty excited.

The Mac App Store is just like the App Store for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. So it’s as easy to find and download Mac apps as it is to add your favorite magazine to iPad or a new game to iPod touch. You can browse Mac apps by category, such as games, productivity, music, and more. Or do a quick search for something specific. Read developer descriptions and user reviews. Flip through screenshots. When you find an app you like, click to buy it.

I had to do a little software update to make my MacBookPro App Store-ready. Click on the little Apple on the left, perform the update and a new little A icon will appear on your toolbar.

The App Store allows you more easily manage the software you own on your personal Macs.  Updates are more convenient.  If you buy a new workstation, it would be easy to load it with those apps you already own.

Just open the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen, choose Software Update, and follow the instructions to download the latest Mac OS X update, which includes the Mac App Store.

Apple’s standard suites are available for purchase in their smaller components, allowing you to avoid hefty investments for tools you may not really need.  For instance, you can purchase any or all of these iLife suiters–iPhoto, iMovie, GarageBand–for $14.99 each.  For my student Mac users, this makes a huge affordability difference.

The site launched with more than 1000 titles and a promise to grow substantially.  Among the current third-party offerings are Pixelmator, Comic Life 2, Flight Control HD, Evernote, and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, as well as lots of games, utilities, and some interactive Shakespeare.

In my quest for free Apps–there’s a Top Free Apps menu–I discovered Swackett: A Different Kind of Weather App.  It’s not only useful for classroom discussions of climate (especially, on the elementary level), it’s also kind of adorable.  Thanks to my student Sam, for her recommendation!

The Swackett app provides current conditions, radar, and detailed forecasts combined with peeps dressed appropriately for the weather. International versions are currently in development.

I’ll keep you posted as I continue to explore those free apps.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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