This goes under the category of “Things You Didn’t Even Know You Wanted.” It never even occurred to me that there might be alternatives out there to the Mac Store. It was just fulfilling a need. Up until a few years ago, we didn’t even have a Mac Store, and just having one seemed to be great all on its own. But to now have an alternative is just an unexpected bonus.
Bodega is a Mac app store that gives just a different experience than what you’re used to with the standard Mac Store. It offers much the same apps, and even works with the apps you have already downloaded from the Mac Store. It also includes a few extra options that I didn’t even know I wanted in the Mac Store until I found them on Bodega.
First and foremost, the app isn’t available in the Mac Store, for obvious reasons, so you’ll nee to download it direct from the website. Opening up the Bodega app, you’re greeted by the bright yellow awning, not to mention the rest of the very colorful interface, a stark difference to the Mac Store. The focus here is obviously on making the app look like a “store” and giving you that total experience. Similar to the Mac Store, it features the New Releases on the main page, along with “Shopkeeper’s Picks,” Top Free Apps, and Top Paid Apps.
A worthwhile addition to the front page of this store is the news area. It features the most prominent tech news at the current time, along with a section of apps in the news. This is great if you’re looking to download the apps that are hot and that everyone else is talking about. If you’re just browsing for a new app and don’t have anything particular in mind, it’s a great place to start.
Another great feature, and different from the Mac Store, is the short summaries of each app that are visible in the app listings. As they sit on their shelves, if you click once on the app, it gives you a short summary of what the app is all about. In the Mac Store you have to open every app listing to see what it entails, but with Bodega, you are shown the price, a short summary, and options to download it right away, if you wish.
If you double tap on the apps, you’re taken to even more information. Provided here is a more in-depth explanation of the app, as well as detailed version history. Sometimes apps in the Mac Store tend to give you too much information in their quest to sell themselves to you. It can be hard to find the information you really need. This solves that by only telling you what you need to know. As with the Mac Store, reviews by other users are included. Bodega also includes any published press about the app.
Despite the fact that the apps I have on my Mac were either from a website or from the Mac, they show up here in Bodega in an easy-to-access Applications list. If the apps have updates available, that information is not only available, but they can be updated directly through this list. Mac Store doesn’t have any listing of the sort.
I saw the sub-heading “Wishlist” in the left-hand margin of Bodega. That sounded great, but I couldn’t figure out how to add apps to my Wishlist. It turns out I was trying to make it much harder than it needed to be. While I thought there might be a button in each app listing to add it to Facebook, that wasn’t the case. I perused the menu bar and everything else, and finally I realized it was much more simple than that. I simply had to drag the desired apps into the Wishlist.
Because Bodega doesn’t include Apple apps, it can’t completely replace the Mac Store. However, it’s still a great way to look for new apps, as well as managing your apps to see which ones need to be updated. The next obvious step is for them to release a similar app for iOS.
What do you think? Can Bodega be a great alternative to Mac’s App Store?