For years, people installed software onto their computers by buying disks: floppies, CDs, and, later, DVDs.
But starting with the iPhone, people installed software onto their phones by downloading it directly from the Internet. Once everybody saw how convenient (and profitable) that system was, it didn’t take Apple long to realize it could bring the same convenience to the Mac.
So now there’s the Mac App Store—or, as the program is called in your Applications folder, just App Store. It’s an online catalog of software from huge software companies, tiny one-person software companies, and everything in between. You can read about the programs, check out customer reviews, and download them directly to your Mac. (As you probably know, Mavericks itself is an App Store download.)
There are some huge advantages to this system. Since there’s no box, disc, registration card, shipping, or stocking, the software can cost a lot less; Apple’s own programs certainly reflect this price advantage. Plenty of programs in the App Store are actually free.
Furthermore, Apple controls the transaction on both ends—it knows who you are—so there are no serial numbers to type in. The installation no longer interrupts you with warnings like “Please enter your password to install this software” or “This software appears to have been downloaded from the Internet”; once you click Buy, the software downloads and installs itself automatically, without any interaction from you at all.
And there are ...