Talking tech since 2003

Recently the good ole boys at 1 Infinite Loop announced that in ninety days we will see an App Store for the Mac. All over the internet people were cheering, hugging and discussing world peace (not really) because of this innovation. However, dark times may lie ahead young Mac user.

Problem #1:

Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers. I think you get the point. See as an app developer myself I can’t really seem to stomach paying for a developer license to submit my App into the Mac App Store and then have Apple take 30% of my profits when I know I could with a little more effort setup my own download site, get some payment method setup and take 100% not 70%. Also we are unaware if Apple is going to allow registered iPhone developers to submit applications into the Mac App Store or if those developers will need to pay another fee. This spells disaster and I really hope Apple chooses or has chosen wisely regarding this topic. If not the fate of the Mac App Store could be at stake.

Problem #2:

App flexibility. I think we all know where this is going. Just like on the iPhone the Mac App Store will have an approval process for applications and if Apple decides to apply the same rules for submitting applications a good number of desktop application developers will need to completely rewrite their applications to fit into Apples God-like software standards. One of the largest no no’s when submitting applications to the app store currently is that no third party frameworks can be used. This allows Apple to ensure that just because of an Operating System update apps wont be left broken. This also completely cripples future development of innovative Apps without Apple getting all involved and deciding if it is a good idea or not.

Problem #3:

Goodbye Demos. You might have noticed in the iOS App Store no way currently exists to allow developers to release trials or demos of their software. Developers have to rely on reviews, word of mouth or advertising to help reassure customers that their App is worth the price. With Apple moving to a desktop based App Store potential problems arise. Sit back for a second and think about all the software you’ve downloaded and used that was originally a trial. Even some software made by Apple comes in a trial form, such as iWork. It is crucial to the way developers help distill doubt about the functionality of their App and without a potential customer spending money to try it. Developers image a world where clients can not get a trial of your App. How will that hurt your business? Without trials the Mac App Store is destine for failure.

Problem #4:

Pricing. Apple has forgotten one of the largest reasons for the success of the app store on the iPhone. Cheap single purpose apps. iPhone/iPod Touch Apps seem to be the cheapest. Followed by the iPad applications and with that model the OS X versions will be the most expensive.

Sorry Steve if for one second you believe that simple applications are going to make their way at the same price to the desktop you are sadly mistaken. Expect apps in the Mac App Store to cost 10x or more than Apps for the iPhone. Without cheap or free Apps to support growth I can not see this getting big.

Problem #5:

What about software piracy. Is the software you download tied to an iTunes account? Also currently on iOS jailbreaking allows access to apps without paying for them. OS X is basically jailbroken from the start so what is going to stop anyone from copying the software? If some DRM style protection is enabled how long before someone hacks it and allows Mac users to get access to millions of dollars worth of Apps for free? Apple you need to rethink this. DRM can’t help the developers forever. Without something else how do you think developers will feel when their Apps are being downloaded for free?

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