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The new mac app store explained (last three months)

03-24-2013, 11:53 PM
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Victoria BC
Posts: 1,169
The new mac app store explained (last three months)

We are on the frontline of the mac app store and it has really changed drastically. Our company iLifeTouch will be moving in on 100 mac apps and here is what is going on in point form.

+ sandboxing and other technical issues are very limiting, time consuming and pretty much annoying. (Limiting creativity) We have about 10 apps that will never be approved. (Sandboxing I guess is an evil necessity)

+ We don't start many good projects because we already know it will be a logistical problem getting them approved by Apple

+ once a mac app is built certain clues on how you built your app are transparent and enough information is presented, you will be copied.

+ almost daily the same apps are appearing over and over again (some free) cutting sales in half the same day. If an app is successful it will be copied quicker.

+ the same apps get featured by Apple over and over again for the last year as some apps have been featured 10 times. It has gotten better recently some very creative apps were rewarded with a feature.

+ apps are very visible on the store which is a great thing, the issue is the weight of reviews on the mac store is enormous. App launches, first review out is condemning the app is pretty much doomed.

+ Two types of apps are present graphically polished and graphics created by programmers. Polish seems to be less important than on IOS but still is appreciated.

+ Apple needs to throw mac developers a few new bones by providing new (more)technologies and API's

+I think there is very little communication between mac developers and it is very cutthroat and outright nasty at times.

+ pricing is definitely very different on the mac app store you can demand a higher price than on IOS but how do you keep making money when a similar app all of a sudden appears and it is free.

+ designing mac style apps that are very simple, intuitive and easy to use are appreciated a great deal by mac fans. We get hammered on this point all the time.

+ There is a huge audience of "new mac users" ( baby boomers) " that will flood your help lines with questions> I try to fend off roughly 40 requests for help daily.
Always the same issues. Your app doesn't launch! How do I...your instructions aren't clear! etc..

+ The rest of the mac users are like bald eagles finding every little issue your app has and they will let you know about it with a passion ( best testers you could ever ask for)

+ we find some apps simply don't work for certain users and we have no idea why? Really makes it tough answering requests for guidance and help. Very odd stuff can go on for certain users out of the blue with no explanation possible.

+ dealing with customer complaints is the lifeline of being a mac app developer if you don't respond, wham a negative review will appear explaining how terrible your customer service is. Some questions are next to impossible to answer. The wish lists get so large that it would be impossible to add all those features. Most requests again would hit sandboxing issues.

+ it seems Apple is starting to make sure new apps add value to the store and apps are being rejected more frequently for not being up to snuff or the store has too many similar
apps already (good thing)

+ new developers have this strange idea that they need to make their mac apps free and kill the marketplace with this attitude. Our feeling is mac users are happy to pay good money for good apps, if you can, make great apps that make their life easier. ( great crowd if you try your best to provide value)

+ our sales have dropped in half even though we keep adding new apps.

+ the sales numbers on the mac app store are really low. With twenty sales a day it is possible to break into the US top 150 apps sometimes. We find some days the app store is completely flat even though your apps might be climbing the charts sales are dead for some reason. We have days were apps sales drop 40 % for no reason.

+ some new apps that appear on the store really are ground breaking and deserve a lot of respect. Probably involved a team working for over a year to pull the app off. That type of investment, energy and money is scary when selling 200 apps a day puts you in the top of the charts, really nails the point home that IOS and OSX have to go hand in hand to make money. ( cross pollination)

Our strategy and focus has changed drastically and we are now going to build fewer apps but with greater substance that are going to be closer to the 9.99 $ mark. We also understand that apps that use iCloud and connect IOS with OSX are the future of the Mac App Store. The problems are getting names to match up between IOS with OSX and the fact that iClouding apps is a painful time consuming learning curve.

Apple tends to feature the bigger expensive builds now and we are after that market. ( good to see creativity being rewarded)

If we were starting out today to enter the mac app store would we do it ? Probably if we didn't have the experience we gained over the last year, we would jump head first. I guess one thing is for sure if you have a good IOS app make sure to get it up on the Mac App Store if you want to build simple apps that are already on the store forget about it.

I hope this opens up our world and sheds some light on a marketplace that is getting very competitive and money is harder to find.


Last edited by Syndicated Puzzles; 03-25-2013 at 08:59 PM.
03-25-2013, 06:50 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 48
Thanks for the detailed breakdown of the current state of the Mac App Store. I'm particularly interested in this as we are starting to port our latest iOS game over to the desktop. The biggest question that I have right now is how to price the game. We'll be adding in some visuals that you can't do on the phone, but all in all it'll be a straight port. On the iOS app store it is listed for $0.99 with IAP. What would be the equivalent on the Mac? You said that apps are more expensive, and I've also noticed that by casually browsing the store, but I don't want to be too expensive for what is basically a port.

Developer of War Evolved | Terminal Escape Twitter: @Opsive
03-29-2013, 01:18 PM
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Philadelphia, Pa
Posts: 124
This is awesome info so we dont waste time worrying about Mac Apps right now.

Might I ask you to organize it with some headers along the lines of:
good news
bad news
future plans

It would make it an easier read and more digestible for other members. Great info for devs to mull over.