OS X 'Mountain Lion' unifies software update into Mac App Store

Summary:Apple has ditched the traditional 'Software Update' utility in favour of bringing fixes, changes, and updates to the Mac App Store instead.

Not only has Apple's latest incarnation of OS X --- as it is now known without the Mac prefix, which is reserved for hardware --- unified a series of features from its mobile iOS platform into the desktop and laptop operating system, a few more surprises are still being discovered.

Apple confirmed to ZDNet this evening that it is streamlining third-party additions and software updates along with operating system releases, with updates and fixes, into the Mac App Store.

Where one would normally hit "Software Update" from the Apple logo to update their machine with bug fixes, software updates, and even entire operating systems, the Mac App Store will become the central hub to all necessary updates.

The Mac App Store, introduced when the recently announced operating system's predecessor 'Lion' was first thrust into the media limelight, was reserved for Apple products and third-party developer applications. It was in effect what iTunes was for music, but for applications and games.

Apple's Mac App Store in December last year, just over two months ago, had more than 100 million applications being downloaded from it, all in the space of a year. Without doubt, as ZDNet's Larry Dignan noted, it has emulated the success of the iTunes App Store.

Mac users who have either adjusted from Windows or Linux recently --- like myself --- or experienced users who have been with Apple for years, may be nonplussed by the lack of obvious overall change. There are clear changes and they lurk beneath the surface. But unlike Windows --- perhaps an inappropriate paradigm to compare to --- users can often find themselves worried at the aesthetic change, the feature shifts, or searching for the Menu bar (hint: Vista, Windows 7).

With any luck, Microsoft can take this framework model of application stores and apply it just as successfully as Apple has. This isn't a point of throwing Apple vs. Microsoft into a cage and forced to fight to the death. Ultimately, seeking equality for all users, whether Mac users or Windows users, should benefit from Apple's success. If Microsoft can learn something, it's from its old adversary, Apple.

Also take note that 'Mountain Lion' will be download only through the Mac App Store, something previously seen with ‘Lion’. It’s like a self-eating cake, or a piece of self-unboxing Ikea furniture.

Image source: ZDNet.

Related:

Topics: Linux, Apple, Hardware, Microsoft, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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