Making it easier to install Mac apps

Limi and Gruber recently wrote about what application developers can do to make installing Mac apps easier. All the choices have serious downsides:

  • Disk images take many steps, and many things can go wrong.
  • Zip files leave you wondering what to do, especially if you use a browser other than Safari.
  • Installers have a reputation for being sneaky (on Windows) or indicating that an application will require elevated privileges (on Mac).

What can browsers do to make some of these choices suck less, and make installing Mac apps easier?

Here's what I'd like to see: when you download a zip containing just an application, the browser offers to "install" it for you rather than just leaving it in the downloads folder. It could even do the same for disk images that contain nothing other than an application and a shortcut to /Applications.

Install applications only from authors whom you trust.

Malicious software can damage your computer or violate your privacy.

You clicked a link from that downloads an application called "Adium". Move it to /Applications and:

[x] Add to dock
[ ] Add to desktop
[ ] Launch now (if unchecked, reveal in finder)

Cancel / Install Now

Done right, this could be both easier and safer for users than leaving software in the user's Downloads directory.

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