On the surface, the title doesn’t seem to make sense. If the Mac App Store is not for Mac users, who is it for? Honestly, I’m not sure. As a Mac user I find the Mac App Store to be so full of inconsistencies, oddities, and downright crazy functions that I’m sure Apple is going to great lengths to make it cumbersome for Mac users to find good apps.
On the other hand, Mac developers have a place to display, sell, and update their applications while giving up 30-percent of the revenue to Apple. Even that seem fair enough, yet Apple bolts on a bunch of restrictions which force developers to publish two versions of their apps; one for the Mac App Store to adhere to Apple’s sandboxing rules, and one they publish and sell on their own website which has the features savvy users want.
If the Mac App Store isn’t really there for Mac users, and Mac app developers have trouble with Apple’s policies and restrictions, then the Store must be for Apple, right? 30-percent commission seems like a healthy amount, but Apple incurs some healthy costs for storage, distribution, promotions, and management which takes up the majority of their cut of the pie.
Worse, Apple seems intent on making it difficult for Mac user to find the best apps on the Mac App Store. Yesterday I check the Top Free apps in the Graphics & Design section. #2 was Paint 2, a somewhat crippled but paint and drawing app with an in-app purchase price of $4.99 to unlock all features. Why is it #2 on the list? All versions of the app garnered and average of only 2.5 stars, and the most recent version, which had 17 reviews, 12 of them only one star. That’s broken.
Select a category and you can view all the most recent apps, all apps, Top Paid, Top Grossing, and Top Free apps. What about most popular by rating? A simple search for ‘graphics & design’ turned up 10 apps, sorted by relevance, half from the same app developer. That’s broken, too. Take the ampersand (&) out of the search and more apps appear, sortable by Relevance, Most Popular, Release Date, and Customer Rating. How does Customer Rating differ from Most Popular? Downloads?
This weekend we did a bit of spring cleaning (I’m not sure if we’re early for spring next year, or late for spring cleaning this year) and tossed out a gazillion CDs and DVDs purchased over the past dozen years for various apps, Mac OS X versions, and more. Why? Everything I need for my Macs can be downloaded, installed and updated with a few clicks, and the Mac App Store is the easiest way to keep on top of updates; except it takes Apple days to weeks to approve a new update for release. Why? Developers cannot be trusted and each app needs to be scrutinized by Apple’s review staff.
I want to like the Mac App Store. I want to use the Mac App Store. But increasingly it’s become the place of refuge for inexperienced app developers, and a cumbersome place to search for apps.
These days, the Mac App Store app on the Mac is more like iTunes on the Mac.