The Mac App Store has three major issues which Apple needs to address. The first is search. It sucks. Search on MAS is helpful for developers, not for Mac users trying to find the best apps.
The second major issue is free trial versions or a way to try an app and pay later if you like it. App developers get around that limitation by creating an additional free trial version with limited functionality. Or, they limit the free app, but put add-on, in-store purchase options with extra features, but for an extra charge.
That’s messed up.
The third major issue is the inability to upgrade an app to a new version. Updates, yes? Upgrades, no. So an app on MAS can be updated from, say, version 1.5.1 to 1.6, but not the typical upgrade route to a full-on version 2.0 with substantially new features.
That’s messed up, too.
Apple’s convoluted method requires developers to create entirely new versions to go the upgrade route, and that spawns a number of other issues. A good example of that is Flare, a terrific photo and image enhancement app from a few years ago. Instead of being upgraded to version 2.0, existing MAS customers are forced to pay the full retail amount for the new version. To their credit, Flare’s developers, the highly acclaimed folks at The Iconfactory, put the new version ‘on sale,’ discounted for a limited time.
The new version isn’t just the old version with a few tacked on features and a new user interface, though anyone having to pay a non-upgrade price might think so. After all, the ‘on sale’ discounted price is available to all Mac customers, not just those who purchased the first version.
Flare 2 comes with a host of new photographic filters not available in the original. These include the increasingly popular tilt-shift, Bokeh rings, plus paper, highlights and shadows, and more standard options like saturation and vibrance.
Those new filters work well with the existing filters– exposure, tint, duotone, gradients, blurs, grains, glows, halftone, pixelate, sharpen and many, many others.
Flare 2.0 looks more like a Yosemite app than Mavericks, and that’s by design, so the user interface is lighter, friendlier, simpler than the original. Still, it contains the basics– advanced edit, batch processing options, a dark interface to match Yosemite, and Flare even handle RAW photo formats but still exports JPEG, PNG, and TIFF images.
If you don’t want to spend much money on a very good photo and image enhancement app, Flare is a good choice. There’s even a free iOS version of Flare filter extensions for iPhone and iPad which work in concert with the Mac app. It’s called Flare Effects.
Maybe Apple has great plans for the the iTunes and Mac App Stores, but for now, search, trial versions, and app upgrades are anything but beneficial for the customer, and that messes with the app store economy.