Does the App Store Model Work?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by mic j, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    Seems like I have started noticing a trend in apps for both Mac & iOS. Create an app. Update it once or twice to work a few bugs out and develop a couple key features. Then abandon major updates after that.

    I have a significant portion of my apps that seem to have fallen into this situation. What is the incentive to the developer to continually develop an app with new features (not just bug fixes), if they don't make any additional money from the update? It would seem like this the current app store model, you're better off abandoning an app that has been developed and moving on to develop a new app which you then get another round of payment for.

    I have a few apps I really like using and would gladly pay a couple bucks to the developer to get a few new features not in the original version(s). Anyone else notice this plateau of app development?
  2. kemperman macrumors regular


    Jul 15, 2009
    Personally I see the big Devs going the way of Adobe and 'renting' their software. This way they can keep you updated with the latest features and still make money. Not sure I see the App Store working in the long run for the Mac. It's great for iOS but not for 'real work' apps
  3. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA

    I have non-MAS apps that have never seen anything but bug fixes and updates for OS X releases. That doesn't bother me.
  4. omnimoeish macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2010
    The App store model was kind of a solution looking for a problem. The internet was already a great way to distribute apps. The reason app stores are necessary for iOS is because Apple prevents you from downloading iOS apps from the internet. Therefore Apple created a problem and created a solution to said problem. The fact that it works so well is because it's the only game in town. The fact that they're selling billions of dollars worth of apps a quarter is because mobile device sales took off in the last 8 years faster than just about anyone imagined.

    The lack of continual updates thing in the Mac app store is possibly because there's so much competition it's like spitting in the ocean to make apps and unless you're really staying on top of the downloads charts it's commonly not worth improving things as much maybe?
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I disagree, I think the intent of creating the MAS was to duplicate the success that the iOS app store was enjoying and also have apple receive a cut of the action. In the short term, I think it had some positive results in seeing more apps be developed, but in the long term, things have dropped off.

    To the OP's point, I recall seeing a story here and elsewhere about an application that was fairly popular on the MAS, that made a very low amount of money for the developer. The issue is, does the app generate enough income to make it viable for the developer to continue to working on the app, or should he dedicate his resources and time on another project that has a greater chance of making money.

    I think many medium to large developers are either avoiding the MAS, or just leaving as they already have the resources to handle the promotion and selling of the app, so that leaves the smaller devs. I do think there's still a lot of developers in the MAS, but I don't think the model is a huge success. I usually go out of the MAS to see if I can get a better deal or the app is more functional due to apple's requirements. For instance Ember (lowly rated in the MAS) is 32 dollars. On the vendor's site its 25. Additionally, if I wanted to upgrade an existing app, its fairly easy outside of the MAS, there's no mechanism for upgrades and upgrade pricing on the MAS. Basically there's some rudimentary issues in the MAS that have confounded developers for years and have not been addressed by Apple
  6. mic j thread starter macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    I don't want to get into a discussion of specific apps, not wanting to slam anyone. Just wanting to discuss the general thought. But generically these are apps I have that have basically stalled out:
    -a recipe database app
    -weather app
    -a couple of audio tagging apps
    -financial tracking app

    And these are all paid apps, not free.

    I think you can make a case for a lack of feature improvement even for Apples own apps, such as:
    Pages, Numbers, Aperture, Garage Band, etc.

    These apps are really pretty good quality but each lacks certain functions that would really make them even better. Just started making me thinking about the incentive for a developer to continue to work on app development when the only benefit would be to gain a few new users.

    It's been interesting reading the different perspectives in this thread. Thanks for contributing.
  7. DavoteK macrumors 6502

    Jan 5, 2012
    iOS App Store seems to be going down the route of abandoning a version of the app for a v2 or v3 which you pay for again. In some instances, quite happy to do that to support the developer and see more updates, but some companies take the mick with it.

    Mac App Store, personally, I like the convenience it brings with regards to updates and if I get a new Mac, which I've done a fair few times since the Mac App Store was launched, I can just go to my purchases and re-download everything without the need to search for various sites and download a shedload of dmg files and run through various install procedures.

    Sure, there are a few apps that ain't in the app store, but if I had the option, I'd app store it all day long.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 11, 2016 ---
    In regards to what the OP posted, I think he has a point which I was leading to with the iOS store. Its not limited to the Mac App Store and a version upgrade within the app needs to be brought in, to avoid have multiple versions of the same application, which would probably solve an issue for most developers.
  8. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    That's usually the way it works. But its like saying the App store only does it... No... everyone does it is the same,,

    There must come a time when an app stops being developed, because no developer will support version 1,x of an app. Sure, we'd like it to work on all iOS devices dating back to 2007 of the original iPhone, but we know that's not gonna happen. As long as a given app works on a few models back from the latest phone/tablet, is all thats needed, then when u move on, abandon the old ones..

    That's how everything works... including operating systems. While MS has more backward compatibility than Apple, even they don't support Windows XP anymore. Even when u abadon something, something that is very popular download, will get the most attention of angry uses when they realize its no longer available.
  9. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2015
    While the Mac App Store is nice in theory in practice it has too many limitations and bugs. Some examples:

    1. No demo versions or upgrade pricing. Purchasing software directly from developers is most cases cheaper and you can test the product before paying.
    2. Finding software is too complicated because search isn't working as well as it should and categories are badly defined.
    3. Software is completely at the mercy of Apple and like the recent plunder with certificates demonstrated Apple doesn't have clean track record in this regard. Compare to software purchased directly from developer which has no such limitation. If Apple decides to pull software permanently from Store (or manages to mess with certificates again) there is nothing you can do about it.
    4. Too many restrictions on what type of software is allowed to Store, as a result most of the long term developers have left the Store.

    While the ability to install everything from Store is nice it just isn't worth the downsides (especially point 3 which is simply unforgivable!) and I wont be purchasing anything from the Store unless Apple radically improves it!

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