Releasing Outside the App Store

Mac App Store

Matt Gemmell:

I recently released a new little Mac app, Sticky Notifications. It’s not currently in the App Store, and accordingly I went through a process that many Mac developers face: deciding whether to release software on the App Store, or outside of it (or indeed both).

In recent months, the illusory appeal of the Mac App Store has steadily begun to deplete. Beyond its initial allure, Matt Gemmell has demonstrated that there are perfectly reasonable, accessible, and uncomplicated means for attaining similar levels of ease when distributing paid Mac apps. For all of this, however, Gemmell cautions that he is not explicitly opposed to the Mac App Store, but that there are simply scenarios in which its use is obviated by Apple’s strict guidelines.

Such ambivalence concerning the Mac App Store has come to characterize much of the critical response to the service. Although the guiding concept is affable, most serious Mac users have grown encumbered by Apple’s ruleset — with powerful apps like TextExpander forced into self-removal from Apple’s restrictive environment.

I tend to share such feelings regarding the Mac App Store. The ability to delve into a centralized list of apps — particularly when dealing with multiple Macs — is an absolute pleasure. Conversely, as a well-entrenched Mac user, I’m not particularly keen to subvert my workflow for the sake of Apple’s draconian guidelines.

At the end of the day, hypotheticals aside, I’m irrevocably in the business of supporting independent creators. If the Mac App Store inhibits my ability to do so, then I will simply forego the service altogether. For now, though, it’s — perhaps problematically — become a matter of discerning the best course of action on an app-by-app basis.

Apple Acquires Chomp

Writing for TechCrunch, M.G. Siegler reports that Apple has acquired app search and discovery service, Chomp. M.G. writes:

With the countdown underway to 25 billion total app downloads, there’s no disputing the success of Apple’s App Store. We live in a world of hyperbole, but Apple’s entry into this space really has changed the entire mobile world. But the App Store is far from perfect. And with its immense scale, a few problems have been revealed. The biggest one is app discovery. There are now over 500,000 apps — how do you find anything?

Right now, it’s hard and getting harder by the day. The strong get stronger while new apps often have trouble breaking in. But with an acquisition that Apple has just made, they hope to change that. Apple has bought the app search and discovery platform Chomp, we’ve learned.

Such an acquisition bodes well for forthcoming iterations of iOS, iTunes, and the Mac App Store - particularly considering the widely publicized struggle to sift through the growing swathes of apps and knock-offs.

Following this week's scam app controversy, it's good to see that Apple is - and has been - working to improve the indexing, presentation, and discovery of good apps. Let's hope such improvements continue.

The Windows Store

The Windows Store seems to be shaping up surprisingly well.

If we gloss over the claims that a Windows Store is a "natural" decision for Microsoft, and move swiftly to the feature set and revenue details, Microsoft actually offers a fair amount that Apple does not. Time- and feature-limited trials, an improved revenue split, in-app purchases, and externally managed subscriptions are all available. There's even a localized version for enterprise software distribution.

The Windows Store will arrive with the Windows 8 beta in February 2012, just one month prior to Apple's sandboxing rules going live in the Mac App Store. Although the two are fairly different, it'll be nonetheless interesting to see how the two stack up in practical use.

(Via DaringFireball)