TUAW says the Mac App Store will Rock for Devs

And in one way I agree with them. It does provide a very simple and straightforward channel for developers to access users. No argument there. However, what I do wonder is what it might do to Mac application prices? You probably remember the app store ‘race to $0.99’ that happened relatively early on in the app store’s life. Will that be the case for Mac applications? And if it does happen, will it necessarily be a bad thing?

http://static.evernote.com/noteit.js Clip to Evernote


  1. I guess devs could always just not participate, but I also feel like there's a reckoning in software prices that's been a long time coming, especially with how easy high-quality piracy is across the board. I've probably spent more on iOS apps than I've ever spent on legitimate boxed/retail desktop software, because they're sanely priced (often a steal, like Nanostudio) and the app store is convenient and standardized. I bet that Apple would sell way more legit licenses of Logic at $49.99 in some sort of App Store format than they'll ever sell $500 boxed licenses because past a certain threshhold people will just pirate it. Which is why you always end up back at that weird circular argument – “Isn't this app worth more than $50? Absolutely. Will people pay what it's “worth” for it instead of pirating it? No way in hell. Is it technically “worth” it then? Well, yeah – with how much you can do with it and how much R&D goes into it. But will people way that price? No, it's “too much.” etc.


  2. The real winners, though, are going to be those smaller/single-dude developers that have really rotten “1987” systems of sales and distribution. There are all sorts of apps like Numerology, Klee, or Soundtower's editors/librarians that are really great but have antiquated “paypal me some money, then I'll e-mail you a license when I get around to it”-style ways of doing business. In a standardized app store, these guys have a great infrastructure ready to go.


  3. I worry a bit about the race to .99. In single purpose iPhone apps that run in a very very controlled environment, supporting that app is relatively cheap. In desktop software, it seems there is a ratio of app cost:number of people to support:number of people on staff.

    The $.99 thing makes think about some of the developers crushed under the weight of the MacHeists. Devs made something like a buck a pop and got thousands and thousands of new customers but to suddenly have that many people demanding support – for which you've only received a dollar towards costs – isn't trivial.

    I have a feeling it'll work out.


  4. I think that there will be a competition for price. But what will be cool is that developers will have a way to make software and sell it directly to Mac users.

    As well some programs could use advertising (like angry birds on the Android) to suppliment their income.

    What could also be good is the ability to purchace certain features as you need them as opposed to having to pay for all features at once to own the software. I think that the full price model lends itself to people excusing themselves for buying priated versions.

    For example I use Photoshop a lot. None all of the features I uses were in the 1990s version of the program so every few years I have to upgrade the suite to have the version compadable with my operating system and present computer but I don't use a lot of the new tools. It would be nice to have a base LE product at a resonable cost and charge extra for new features as is done now in some of the music apps.

    This would give you a chance to give the software a test drive to see how usable it is and a way for the developer to make additional money as they add new functionality.

    Also it would give a level marketplace to small developers a lot of the great apps are coming from small developers doing inovative things. I know that there is a lot of music plug-ins and software I use for scanning that I now must buy off of the persons site which means I have to go there or be told about the software to find it.

    So I think this is awsome and will make millionares for some small entrepenour developers.


  5. I will probably have good sides and negative ones. Devs will probably be able to sell apps instead of having to give them away for free, users will have to spend more money.

    Who really will profit most from this will be Apple of course.

    I would not be fooled, Apps will certainly cost more than 0.99. If you look at the pricing of iPad apps you can see the direction.

    What I don't like at all, it the idea of having one company controlling the whole thing. This is a tendency I don't like, and I don't think this will have positive consequences.

    Though of course it will work, since people always seek the easier way of doing things, which is not always the better one.


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