Mac App Store launched… and cracked!

On January 6, 2011

Apple launched the App Store today which brings the process of buying apps for your Mac OS X operating system on the same level as buying apps for the iPhone and iPad. Jobs announced this months ago and finally it is here! To buy and install applications and games, you simply click on the app and plop it’s installed (if it wasn’t installed already). No problems with dependencies and whatever.

To get the new App Store installed, you simply click on the update functionality of Mac OS and update to the latest 10.6.6 release. There you go, a shiny App Store in your dock! He Apple! Now that we have an App Store in it’s own seperate place, can we remove the iOS App Store from iTunes and add it to this one? Thanks.

Currently there are thousands of apps, but we are waiting, of course for the 100s of thousands to come in! At least the free Twitter app is there, which was, apparently downloaded by everyone on Twitter with a Mac. Probably not a bad score for a first day!

The advantages of the App Store are many; besides easy searching, easy installation, there is also a hidden advantage. Because the iOS App Store apps are so cheap, it is becoming obvious that ‘traditional’ Mac OS X application publishers cannot keep their prices as high as they are used to because App Store buyers are ‘quick buyers’. They decide on a whim after reading one or two reviews. So we speculate prices on traditional apps going down fast.

Another great point is that it detects of many applications you bought before, that you already have them and so you won’t have to purchase them again. For many apps this means you can now auto-update. However a number of readers reported that it is not working for several apps, which, to auto-update, you will need to re-purchase. We assume this is a bug and will be fixed (some publishers already adapted their pricing to accommodate users wanting to update now).

Now for the ‘crack’ (and it’s solution); a major disadvantage that is named often is the DRM. Your apps are now bound to your laptop like the iOS apps are bound to your device. And there comes the scoop we received via one of our readers; run any App Store application without paying and without having it bound to your system. The recipe has been published anonymously on (Note that acting on this information is violating copyright and Apple App Store rules). This of course technically does not mean the App Store has been cracked itself, but it’s a way to circumvent the DRM/payment system which allows people to copy and run these apps like any ‘traditionally’ distributed software. This was one of the things Apple was trying to prevent.

The problem is a known problem according to our App Store developers and exists because of laziness (or ignorance) on the side of the app developers. Technically apps check if the signature on the bundle is valid and they also need to check if that signature is for the right app. Apps that do not do this are vulnerable to the above workaround. We have no statistics how many apps are affected and how many will be in the future, but developers can fix this by validating if the enclosed signature belongs to their app and not another one. The Angry Birds creators apparently didn’t do this.