Tag Archives: macappstore

Piezo and Dash without the App Store

Great post from Paul Kafasis of Rogue Amoeba about Piezo sales for the year after leaving the Mac App Store, and how it suggests that Dash’s post-MAS sales weren’t a fluke. Rogue Amoeba’s data points to this key point:

Far from the Mac App Store helping drive sales to us, it appears we had instead been driving sales away from our own site, and into the Mac App Store.

For me, the question of whether to use the Mac App Store is also closely tied to using in-app purchases in addition to Stripe. As I work to get Micro.blog shipped to Kickstarter backers, and eventually launched to a wider audience, I’ve wondered whether there should be an in-app purchase to make subscribing to Micro.blog from iOS easier. Of course the Mac App Store and in-app purchases are different things, but both require juggling multiple payment systems with the hope that it will be easier for users.

And it would be a little better for customers in the short-term. The problem is that it would be much worse for me as a solo developer trying to do too much. The backend systems would be more complicated, and I think the product would suffer because of it.

Mac App Store developer survey

DevMate surveyed 679 Mac developers to put together a report on who is using the Mac App Store vs. selling direct, what concerns developers have, which tools they use, and more. On why developers leave the Mac App Store:

If you’re thinking giving away 30% of your hard-earned revenue is the deal-breaker, you’d be surprised. Revenue share is not the main reason developers flee. The main reason is the long and unclear App Review process, closely followed by revshare and the absence of trial versions.

While sandboxing does show up on the complaint list, it’s ranked low as a reason to not use the Mac App Store, even though it was why I pulled my app Clipstart from the Mac App Store 4 years ago. And not much has changed since I wrote about Sketch and other apps leaving the Mac App Store last year.

For anyone who has been following blog posts and conference talks about the Mac App Store, there won’t be many surprises in this new survey, but I found the details interesting. The survey appears to be a good snapshot of how the Mac community is feeling about selling software.

Too late to save the MAS?

You’ve probably heard the news about Sketch. I found this section of their announcement the most interesting, because it highlights that this isn’t just about technical and strategic problems with the Mac App Store, but also about having a direct relationship with the customer to provide the best experience:

“Over the last year, as we’ve made great progress with Sketch, the customer experience on the Mac App Store hasn’t evolved like its iOS counterpart. We want to continue to be a responsive, approachable, and easily-reached company, and selling Sketch directly allows us to give you a better experience.”

Of course, Sketch joins a growing list of apps unavailable in the store. From John Gruber:

“Sketch isn’t the first big name professional app to be pulled from the Mac App Store (Bare Bones Software’s BBEdit, Panic’s Coda, Quicken, just to name a few). But Sketch is the poster child for Mac App Store era professional Mac software. It’s the sort of app Apple might demo in a keynote — and the winner of an Apple Design Award.”

Federico Viticci writes that Apple has to do something:

“The simple reality is that, gradually, developers of the best apps for OS X are finding it increasingly hard to justify doing business on the Mac App Store. I hope Apple also sees this as a problem and starts doing something about it.”

Daniel and I talked about this on Core Intuition recently. Developers have been complaining about the Mac App Store for years without seeing any progress. It was over 3 years ago that I pulled my app Clipstart from the Mac App Store to sell direct-only instead, because of my concerns about adapting to sandboxing.

All this time, Apple could have been iterating on the Mac App Store, improving sandboxing entitlements, improving review times, customer interaction, and more. Yet they have not. At this point, Apple can’t just do “something”. They can’t just improve the Mac App Store a little. They have to significantly improve it, addressing many issues at once. And even then, some of these great apps — Sketch, BBEdit, Coda, RapidWeaver — may not come back.

Core Intuition 206

Yesterday we published episode 206 of Core Intuition. From the show notes:

“Daniel returns from Amsterdam to find Mac App Store issues abound. Manton buys an iPad Pro but has to wait for the Pencil. The two discuss the Mac App Store’s 6-year failure to evolve substantially, and dig into the emotional highs and lows of enjoying and surviving Apple’s platform constraints.”

I really love how this episode turned out. It hits on several themes that have run through our show since the very first episode: a little tech news, some high-level coding talk, a bit of business analysis, and wrapped up with just how we feel right now about being indie developers. I hope you enjoy it.

Clipstart 1.5

Today I released Clipstart 1.5 for direct download customers and removed the previous version of Clipstart from the Mac App Store. Even though I’ve written about leaving the Mac App Store several times, actually pulling the trigger was difficult. But I believe it’s the right thing for my app, right now.

Clipstart 1.5 is still $29. Changes for this release:

  • Now requires Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. Please do not upgrade to this version if you are running 10.5 or 10.6.

  • Added “Consolidate” command for finding videos that have not been imported or duplicates outside the library.

  • Added AppleScript support for uploading videos. See the help menu for scripting examples.

  • Improved performance throughout the app, especially with importing and refreshing video thumbnails.

  • Improved error message when failing to import all videos from a camera.

  • Fixed tags field on Add Folder dialog not resetting tags value after an import.

  • Support for Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion’s Gatekeeper security.

If you’ve been thinking about buying Clipstart but were on the fence before, I’ll throw in a discount for you. Use coupon code MANTONBLOG to save 20%.

Sandbox iLife and iWork

Chad Sellers has a post comparing Mac App Store sandboxing to mistakes from Linux, with this very reasonable advice:

“I believe that Apple should have at least led the way by sandboxing all of their own apps sold through the Mac App Store (I believe they have not sandboxed a single one of their 17).”

This reminds me of Twitter. When Twitter forced third-party clients to move to OAuth, but didn’t change their own app to use it, many developers said it was a double standard. Twitter’s response: the official Twitter app was part of the service, not really a separate app, so it didn’t need to use OAuth.

Maybe Apple could make the same case for Mac OS X’s built-in apps: Address Book, iCal, and Mail don’t need to be sandboxed because they are part of the operating system. But that argument doesn’t work for Keynote or iMovie. Those apps should play by the same rules that all productivity and video software in the store does.

If Apple were to sandbox a few of these it would go a long way toward convincing developers to do the same. And it would also shake out bugs and missing APIs in the whole sandbox environment.