I feel bad when I read tales from developers such as this:

As a Mac App Store developer whose apps have been in the store since the beginning, it’s not a great feeling to know that any critical update might be held up because Apple decided to get more uptight about something that was OK for the past 8 years. - Daniel Jalkut on Micro.blog

I feel even worse because it was the same weekend that Daniel emailed me to say he had changed some code which would hopefully remove an image uploading issue I was having with MarsEdit. And I had opted to purchase MarsEdit via the Mac App Store that very same day.

It hadn’t even occurred to me to purchase via his web site, even though he might have made a few extra dollars or cents that way. Like I have done so many times, I checked where it was available and defaulted to my purchase via Apple.

Woe is the Store of Apps for the Mac

I have read many an article telling us why the App Store is broken. And I am on board with those for the most part. I am sure it’s not perfect. Okay, I know it’s not perfect.

From the 30% cut that Apple takes from all sales, reduced to 15% for subscriptions lasting more than 12 months, to the technical restrictions with iCloud, sandboxing, etc. Not to mention1 the lack of contact developers have with their customers. The list is long.

There have been well publicised cases of high profile companies leaving the Mac App Store, and then equally well publicised stories of some of them returning - no doubt, one has to think, with a little encouragement from Apple. I am sure this to and fro will continue for some time.

But…

Let’s hear it for the Mac App Store

The Mac App Store provides users with security. Of different sorts:

Not every Mac app is the greatest example of app development, and there is an argument that a greater degree of quality checking should be included in the app review process, but at least I can be reasonably assured that anything I install will play nice with my system and other applications. This means I am less likely to be installing a keylogger, virus, etc. I am less likely to putting the data on my Mac at risk to unexpected appropriation. My system and my data is safer.

I can more or less trust Apple with my banking details, at least in so far as I can trust anyone. Financially - compared to the wide range of developers that they represent who have not built up any relationship with customers - I am confident sharing credentials with them.

And as much as developers the world over would love to have a database of thousands of potential customers to leverage for marketing upgrades, their other apps, or other services, I am glad that this is something I have to opt into by signing up to a mailing list or otherwise connecting with the developer.

None of this is to suggest that Mac developers should not be trusted to write software, process payments, or manage a mailing list. Just that there are millions of people out there making software, and I think it’s good to have a proxy in place that can be trusted. I mostly don’t have to consider who the third party developer is.

And for those Mac owners who are new to the platform, or who lack confidence in the complexities of installing computer software, the App Store model offers all of the above alongside a unified search system2 and one-click installation.

Thanks to Daniel

I would like to see changes to App Store policies, for both developers and users. But on balance, where possible, I will mostly likely continue to support developers through via the App Store rather than purchasing direct.

While we wait until Apple lowers their fees and is more transparent their app review processes, I am grateful to the developers who jump through the hoops to keep their software available in the Mac App Store. Thanks, Daniel.


  1. Sorry, I know, I mentioned it. [return]
  2. Okay, yes, the App Store search tool is not the best, but it’s what we have and for many people it’s all they use when looking for software. [return]

article    tech