The Best & Worst of Apple’s New Mac App Store

Did you get a new Macbook or iMac for Christmas? If you had previously been a Windows user, you may be at a bit of a loss right now over what to do with this fancy new machine. Lucky for you, this is easily the best time ever to have just gotten a Mac. That’s because Apple just made it crazy easy to find and install some killer applications.

If you have an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, then you already know how to use the Mac App Store. If you’re an Android person but use an Apple computer, the Mac App Store might take an extra 30 seconds to understand. That’s about it though.

With the Mac App Store, getting the apps you want on your Mac has never been easier. No more boxes, no more disks, no more time-consuming installation. Click once to download and install any app on your Mac. The Mac App Store is now available as a software update for any Mac running Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

How To Get It

In order to check the store out for yourself, you’ll have to download the lastest Mac OS X update (v10.6.6) (just go to “Software Update” by clicking on your Apple icon), or visit apple.com/mac/app-store.

Once downloaded, you’ll be able to surf around the shop — the desktop version of the same experience that iOS users have been enjoying for years — and pretty easily start amassing apps.

Click here for a brilliant walkthrough from the folks over at Mashable.

Education Apps

There is a terrific education section (below) where you can download a host of helpful (and pretty cheap) apps that will make learning fun.

There’s also the usual suspects like iMovie and GarageBand in the new store but what really sets it apart is the iOS games that could only previously be found on mobile devices.

Compartments

Compartments is an easy-to-use home inventory app that speedily catalogs everything you own, prints inventory reports with a click, and keeps a record of your possessions for insurance purposes — or just to help you remember where everything is. Learn more in the Mac App Store

Flight Control HD

Drag aircraft to their landing fields and avoid collisions in this deceptively simple-to-learn yet challenging game. Aim for your personal high score or compete against others. Learn more in the Mac App Store

rubiTrack

An activity tracker and exercise journal for the Mac, rubiTrack displays, analyzes, and organizes your workout information for sports such as running, biking, and walking. It reads tracks from many GPS-enabled devices, displays them on a map, and analyzes workout details. Learn more in the Mac App Store

SketchBook Pro

This drawing and painting app turns your Mac into a digital sketchpad. It’s easy to use with fast, reactive drawing and productivity-enhancing tools to help you express your ideas. Great for product design, illustration, storyboarding, and more. Learn more in the Mac App Store

Things

Meet Things: a task manager that strikes a perfect balance between simplicity and power. Effortlessly manage to-dos, notes, due dates, and projects. With a smart Today list and intuitive scheduling feature, Things allows you to get the most out of your day — every day. Learn more in the Mac App Store

Keynote ’11

Create your presentation in Keynote, and you’ll be a hard act to follow. Powerful yet easy-to-use tools and dazzling effects put the show in slideshow. Learn more in the Mac App Store

iMovie ’11

Turn your home videos into epic movie trailers. Create TV-like sports highlights and news segments. Add special effects. And edit sound, too. iMovie makes you an indie filmmaker instantly. Learn more in the Mac App Store

The Big Problem

You’ll need iTunes (download here) in order to essentially use the Mac App Store. Once you upgrade your iTunes on a Mac, you’ll notice a new icon on your toolbar that is the App Store app. Why it’s a seperate app is beyond me. It looks, feels, and acts like iTunes.

To me, this is a huge pain and I personally hope iTunes goes the way of the dinosaur. The software is clunky and takes up a lot of space and time to organize. Hopefully those ginormous data centers in NC that Apple is building will let us all keep our music in the cloud. Until then, you need iTunes to use the Mac App Store.