By choosing to use an app like TextExpander, Moom, and others that lift up OS X’s britches is to make the choice that you want that functionality. It’s not something that you need to make things work, it just makes things work better. Schechter wants these apps in the App Store, but they should not be there — plain and simple.
Users should be able to make the reasonable assumption that anything they download from the App Store cannot and will not mess up their computer in any way that uninstalling the app won’t fix their computer. Now, TextExpander probably won’t screw up a persons computer, but then again, what if a user can’t figure out how to stop TextExpander from launching snippets, because they hid the dock icon and menubar icon — perhaps they don’t even know that TextExpander is the culprit? And there’s your problem.
I see where Ben is coming from, but I’m not sure I agree. Just as with iOS, it’s safe to assume that Apple will eventually include their own text expansion options in OS X. This would be just as likely to confuse a novice and just as hidden once it’s setup. He’s right that it would likely be easier for Apple’s customer support to identify this, but I don’t see how there is any problem that could be created by TextExpander that “uninstalling the app won’t fix”.
The App Store is for the average user. Apps that don’t fit in the App Store guidelines are simply not for the average user. That matters because the apps that don’t fit those guidelines can/will/could cause a massive support headache for not only Apple, but for the resident family geek.
The thing that concerns me most is that there’s a difference between novice and average user. Excluding apps like TextExpander and Moom seems aimed at the former, not the latter. I see the desire to protect these users, but can’t understand why the best way to achieve this is through strict limitations. It’s likely that Ben is right and I’ll have to re-embrace a pre-Mac App Store world, but this seems like a case of Apple taking the easy solution (limitation) over a more challenging one (protections).
Part of what makes the Mac ecosystem so special is the developer community. There are just so many who push the boundaries of what our computers can do. While this may only appeal to above-average users, it’s part of what drove many of us to the Mac. When I purchased my first iMac its simplicity was a draw, but the underlying power and possibilities are what led me to stay (and convert my entire family over, btw). It also gave me the courage to test my own limits, a gift I’d hate to see others lose out on.
People might arrive at the Mac as a novice or even an average user, but does Apple have to go out of its way to we have to ensure they stay that way? Apple is not an average company, so why should they encourage their users to be? Comfort is a good thing, so is security, but I just hope that the need for this level of protection does not come at the cost of the creativity and innovation we’ve seen from Mac developers. The Mac App Store has helped to drive down the cost of apps and has ramped up innovation, hopefully it won’t crush what it has created.
So am I just a disappointed geek or maybe, just maybe is Apple going too far?