Head to Head: Intel AppUp vs Apple Mac App Store

App stores aren't just for smartphones - they're now invading our desktops. But which model should the industry follow - Intel's netbook-focussed shopfront or Apple's tightly-policed App Store?

Mac App Store

As with AppUp, it's tricky estimating how many apps are currently available on the Mac App Store, but some peg it at around 1000. Many apps are clearly ports of iOS favourites, such as Angry Birds or the official Twitter app. There are plenty of free and sub-1 apps, as well as some that cost hundreds of pounds.

Several existing, if small, Mac developers are already selling their apps through the App Store. There are also a few apps from big name developers, the most prominent of which is Apple itself. Apple has set some bargain prices for its professional software. The Aperture professional photography program costs 128 from Amazon, but costs just 45 from the App Store. Apple Remote Desktop costs 90 from Amazon, but just 45 on the App Store. Apps from other giants, such as Microsoft and Adobe, are conspicuously absent which we suspect may be to Digital Rights Management issues more on this later.

Unlike the iOS devices, Macs apps can still be bought from other sources such as shops and developer's websites. This is just as well as Apple doesn't allow demos and beta versions on the App Store. Apple also doesn't allow apps that modify the system at a low-level. There are numerous rules and they are clearly more numerous and more restrictive than Intel's since there are already plenty of longtime Mac programs that can't be admitted to the App Store in their current form.

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Purchasing an app is as simple as clicking on the Buy button next to the app's name. It's almost too easy, since it doesn't ask you for confirmation unlike the iOS App Store which does. Conversely, if you accidentally delete your app, you can always download it again later.

Payment can be made by Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards as well as Maestro and Switch debit cards. Click And Buy is also supported, but not PayPal. It's also possible to download free apps without having to submit any card details.

Since it's possible to log into the Mac App Store using your iTunes Store account, iTunes gift cards/codes can be redeemed on the Mac App Store too. Oddly, despite all this, it doesn't support certain features supported in the iTunes Store, such as gifting an app to another person or setting a limit on how much can be spent.

Winner: Mac App Store, but only just. Apple's store has more payment options than Intel's, but it also more restrictive acceptance criteria which could affect the range of available apps. Nevertheless, while AppUp has a greater number of apps at present, a greater variety appear to be available on the Mac App Store.

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