Written by Ronald Lye
You may be surprised to learn that there are other alternatives, besides the official Mac App Store, where you can download Mac Apps. The Mac App Store is heavily regulated by Apple, and only those that pass their scrutiny are made available for download. While this strict criteria helps to ensure that only the best apps, at least according to Apple’s standards, are open to the public, the very same criteria may see consumers turn towards other options.
Apple are well-known for wanting to have as much control over the user experience as they possibly can, but today’s connected consumers are shunning that approach in favour of more liberal mentalities. The Mac App Store is still the market leader and will probably retain that position barring an unlikely meltdown, but a few pretenders are making their voices heard in the Mac community.
Bodega requires you to download their desktop app before you can sample their wares. This may be a turn off to some users, but trust us, it’ll be worth your while. The first thing about Bodega that wowed us is the design and layout. Lots of icons and information are featured in just about every section, yet it appears wonderfully clean and simple. Colours are shamelessly exploited, yet it still retains a sense of professionalism and credibility. App selection is vast and varied, with a mix of widely used titles and some less mainstream ones which you won’t find in the Mac App Store. App reviews are available, which serves as a more user-centric way of determining the value of an app, rather than Apple’s “my way or the highway” approach.
2. The HackStore
The HackStore hosts Mac apps that for one reason or another, did not gain Apple’s approval. The design is similar to the official Mac App Store (which we found mildly amusing), and navigation is a breeze. However, despite having a few useful apps, the overall selection available is quite limited. That being said, do check out The HackStore for some hidden gems, and perhaps a chuckle at how blatantly they plagiarised the Mac App Store’s design and layout.
For gaming fans, Gamefly is a haven. Unfortunately, they only accept customers from America. Their main business comes from renting and selling console games. However, members get to enjoy free Mac games from their game library, including renowned titles like Assassin’s Creed and Bioshock. We hope that they will expand their operations to include more regions, so that people around the world can cash in on this value deal.
Credits: Complaints List
In the meantime, Steam is a great way for gamers to purchase and download Mac compatible games. The cool thing about Steam is that once you buy a game, it will be permanently lodged in your account, allowing you to download it as many times as you want. This makes life more convenient for users when they upgrade to a newer Mac.
Credits: Rack Space Cloud
Most times, when prompted to update our apps, we hesitate. We know that it’s necessary, but we rather spend the time doing something else instead. With MacUpdate, things get a whole lot easier. It is basically an app that helps to update your other apps. If you’re an app fanatic with tons of apps installed, MacUpdate will save you lots of time and headaches.
MacHeist has a really cool website, and even cooler marketing strategies. They understood the power of social engagement before the term even existed. They sell bundled Mac apps at discounted prices, which increases in size as more customers make purchases. The developers also device challenges, or heists, that entitle successful customers to free software licenses or discounts. This awesomeness is not available all year round, only during selected event periods. The fourth MacHeist ended in 2012, and we are eagerly awaiting the next round. Oh, and all proceeds go to charity, yet another reason to take part in this innovative challenge.
Don’t get us wrong, the Mac App Store is great. With around 15,300 apps, it is rightfully the place most users turn to for downloads. But don’t neglect the alternatives, as they have some really cool apps that will enhance your user experience. If you’re a new Mac user, use the Mac App Store to download all the essentials first. For seasoned users, do check out the alternatives, as some of the apps there may pleasantly surprise you.