Apple's app-happy Mac App Store

According to Rob Bamforth, of analyst firm Quocirca, another benefit is the ease of updating apps that an app store offers. Smartphone users have already become used to seeing notifications of app updates pushed to their phone. Although Microsoft and Apple both have this function for operating system updates, it doesn't extend to third-party apps. The app store fixes this, removing what is often a large support burden for IT staff.

Perhaps in a future release, Apple could go further and allow businesses to download apps to a central server, perhaps via a future release of the server version of Lion, the next release of OSX. Another option would be to allow enterprises to manage the apps their staff can use, via a private area on the app store, effectively putting software distribution and updates into the cloud.

And, although Apple currently only allows Mac OS 10.6 users to access the Mac app store, there is a precedent for supporting other platforms: the Windows version of iTunes. Quocirca's Bamforth suggests that an Apple-run app store for Windows cannot be ruled out.

Stephen Pritchard is a contributing editor at IT PRO.

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