A cold splash of water on Mac App Store sales

Sam Soffes released his new product, Redacted for Mac. He never expected his product to quickly become the #8 top paid app in the US and #1 top paid app in Graphics. Break out the champagne, right?

Follow the link, read the blog post. The Mac App Store has become a bit of a ghost town. Is this purely a lack of compelling apps? Is this a sign that more and more apps are pulling up stakes and selling outside the Mac App Store? Do Mac users have all they need right out of the box?

  • Tom_P

    I like Mac App Store and I’ll buy app from it whenever possible. Problem is.. I don’t need many apps.

    • Moeskido

      Exactly. I only go there to find something specific or directly referred. It’s not like a mall I visit because I’m a bored tween.

  • Jeffery Lay

    With the Mac App Store, are the sales results you see as a publisher live and immediate, or delayed by a certain amount, such as a week, month or payment cycle?

    • You see sales roughly 24 hours later. Basically, you can see everything other than the current day.

      • Jeffery Lay

        Thanks for the answer. Looks like this is indeed as bad as it initially sounds. I was hoping there was some small but vitally important detail meaning it wasn’t as it seemed, but I guess it is.

  • Having developed for both iOS and Mac I do feel the Mac App Store is a sorry place. It makes me wonder though… with OS X we see both sides, a dearth inside the Mac App Store but thriving and innovative apps outside the official store. With iOS are we just seeing the boring, non-innovative apps… and are unwittingly missing out on tons of innovative and great apps if there was another outside channel? Sure there is Cydia and we see innovation there, but with OS X the outside channel is open to everyone, whereas with iOS Cydia is only available to those with technical knowledge and desire to jailbreak.

    • Oh, I have the technological knowledge to jailbreak. But there’s no way I will ever do that to my phone and open myself up to the vulnerabilities that come with it. On my Mac, I don’t worry. On my phone, it has to work. Period.

      That might sound like it contradicts my argument against the Mac App Store. But it doesn’t. I use my Mac for different things than I do my phone.

    • so youre saying the iOS app store only produces “boring, non-innovative apps” because on OS X the MAS only produces non-innovative apps? thats a tough claim.

      i dont think we’re missing any innovation in iOS apps, and i dont think we’re missing out on anything, nor do i think iOS apps would increase in quality if Apple opened its walled garden to any app from anywhere. to the contrary — see android.

      • I’m not saying it as if I believe it as a fact, I’m saying I wonder if we are missing out on anything. I do think Cydia has innovative apps, and I wonder if the walled garden was completely removed then would we see more innovation than we do in Cydia alone? Again, not saying this as definite fact, but I do wonder about it.

  • JimCracky

    I’m there a lot. Problem is, I have all the apps I use regularly. Desktop functionality goals are met. Update cycles are longer and less compelling with mature apps.

    • Sigivald


      The only new Windows software I buy (I’m multi-OS) is … games.

      The Awesomest Graphics App ever could come out, but I don’t need it, thus would not buy it.

  • Joe Bob Briggs

    Part of the problem is that desktop apps are pricier than iOs apps.. At the price of a Starbucks vase, full of caffeine and carbohydrates, I can get a copy of Camera+ instead.

    I think a good way for Apple to bring life to the Mac App Store is to actively court indie game developers. It will provide a couple of benefits. One is that you help develop the game market on the Mac, never a bad thing. The second is that indy games can cost a lot less than you average Mac App store product which will encourage impulse buying.

  • Sandboxing that limits functionality is the main reason for this, and developer flight from the store. It’s not the 30 percent cut. That actually isn’t that burdensome, I would think, because it lets you develop and not maintain a web store.

    Still, I never buy anything at the App store I don’t have to, I prefer fully functional software.

  • Pelted

    This worries me a bit. Since the arrival of the MAS I’ve purchased most of my daily non-dev apps and tools from there. I do it because it is the most convenient approach when I work between several different Macs. I use homebrew-cask for everything else. Panic’s stuff is about the only thing I’ve run into and use that I purchase directly, but install with cask. In the end though I don’t visit the MAS often. I have my tools and like others have said the upgrade cycles are just different in this environment.

  • rick gregory

    Like others here, I have most of what I need and add new apps sparingly. I don’t think the MAS vs earlier more freeform ways to buy have affected this – I never loaded my Mac up with 200 apps.

    What this means, though, is that I might be missing out on new apps that I simply don’t hear about. I suppose that’s some fault of Apple, but it’s also a fault of Mac sites for not highlighting cool new stuff from people who aren’t already big names in the Apple universe (I’m thinking here of all the press Overcast or Vesper got because of who created them. Nothing wrong with that but face it, most apps (Mac and iOS) are not created by high profile people. We need some way to find those, but the volume of new apps makes it hard and no site can realistically give real reviews to everything.

  • As a paid user of Pixelmator at $29.99, Redacted at $4.99 hardly seems like the right case study to illustrate MAS problems. That price/functionality ratio is simply off the chart.

    IMHO, issues with the MAS are mostly an indication that the software market has changed, and change radically. Apple is mostly being incorrectly blamed for this.

  • I simply don’t buy many apps on either iOS or Mac. I have one screen of apps on my phone (and only 5 folders one being a junk drawer for all the apps I don’t use but can’t delete that keeps getting bigger and bigger). I’m just not that interested in junking up my phone with yet another app I can do the same thing in by opening a website in Safari. On the Mac I largely have software that serves my needs, and for me to buy an application it has either to be something new that I can’t do already or something that does what an application I have does but better.

    The MAS has an additional problem in that if given a choice between buying there or directly from the developer I’ll choose the latter every single time. I don’t get the easy install the MAS provides, but I get updates quicker and often times more features because apps sold outside the MAS aren’t limited by Apple’s artificial rules. The MAS is a bed of crickets because Apple made it that way and nothing else.

  • Manti

    My last best buy, Viper FTP was outside MAS. After I found it’s available in MAS but not all features are activated – probably because of silly sandboxing requirement