The Mac App Store

January 6th, 2011

I am happy to announce that MarsEdit and Black Ink are now available for purchase on Apple’s Mac App Store.

As I expected, the Mac App Store is both an exciting new platform for reaching new customers, and a somewhat frustrating and difficult to explain territory when it comes to existing customers who are interested in the benefits of the Mac App Store, but who already own licenses to my software. Allow me to answer some questions that I have already been hearing quite often.

I already own your software, how can I migrate my purchase to the Mac App Store?

So far Apple has not indicated that there will be any mechanism to migrate existing paid customers into the Mac App Store update process. For existing customers, my applications will continue to receive regular updates outside of the App Store mechanism. I hope that Apple will come up with a solution to allow us to migrate folks who prefer the App Store into that workflow.

Some of you may have noticed that apps from some companies show up in the App Store app as “Installed” even though you purchased them outside of the App Store. I believe this is a quirk in the way the App Store works, and for example you will not be able to review or update these apps through the store. In a nutshell: the App Store app is confused into thinking that you bought the app through Apple, and this is causing many customers to believe that developers have found a way to “migrate” them onto the store. I don’t believe this is the case.

Is the Mac App Store version different from the version I can download from your site?

The Mac App Store and site versions are identical in core functionality and features, but there are minor differences having to do primarily with the update mechanism. The version I sell directly still updates itself, while the version from Apple can only be updated by Apple and is dependent on Apple’s approval schedule.

I have an older version of your software, can I get upgrade pricing on the Mac App Store?

At this time the Mac App Store does not allow for variable pricing based on customer qualification such as a previous purchase. Discounted upgrade prices are still offered from our own store.

Is it possible to download a trial of your software before I commit to buying it on the Mac App Store?

The Mac App Store doesn’t have an official mechanism for downloading trial versions of software, but you can download the standard trial version of my applications from the respective product pages. If you decide to purchase the application on the Mac App Store, you will be able to download and install a separate, authorized copy from Apple through the App Store interface.

I have another question that you haven’t addressed.

I am always available to answer your questions. Please get in touch by email or through the forums.

8 Responses to “The Mac App Store”

  1. Paul Says:

    Thanks for that update. I’d been wondering why some, but not all, of my existing apps showed up as “Installed.”

    It’ll be interesting to see how Apple handles the issues of upgrades and migrating bought-outside-the-App-Store apps to App-store apps. I don’t know what the solution should be, but I think most customers will expect their existing apps to “just work” with the App store, so Apple will have to do something.

    Thanks again.

  2. kidslow Says:

    To be honest, there is little advantage to you or to me if I purchase an app through the Mac App Store. I have to pay sales tax on the purchase through Apple, and you get cut out of 30% of the deal.

    That’s not to say there is no advantage for you to list your apps there. It opens you up to a whole new market.

    There’s not really any convenience factor with the App Store either. With a DMG and Sparkle, the download and update process has worked well for years. Sure, the App Store is “one-click” and pulls from my iTunes store account, so the purchase is a little easier. Then I have to remove the app from the Dock and authenticate so I can move it out of /Applications into my preferred install location for 3d party apps.

    I don’t get why Apple insists on cluttering up /Applications with every app you install. It makes no sense really. You’d think they’d at least make an /Applications/App Store/ directory and put 3d party apps in there to sandbox them from the system apps.

  3. Rui Carmo Says:

    What about promo codes? Wouldn’t those work, even though it might be a hassle to generate them in bulk?

  4. Andreas Järliden Says:

    Apple decided to not have promo codes on the Mac App Store, which is annoying to say the least!

  5. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Rui, Andreas, so far there are no promo codes, but I wouldn’t rule out Apple adding them at some point.

    Rui, the thing is, if the iOS is any example, you only get 50 promo codes for each separate version you release. As you can imagine, for any app with a substantial, long-term installed base, it would take a long time (and be very tedious) to migrate users over 1 promo code at a time).

  6. seyDoggy Says:

    For as complex as their entire online presence is, and how advanced their entire iTunes/App Store/Mac App Store system is, it baffles the mind to think that they can’t offer these seemingly minor enhancements.

    In the past two days I’ve dropped $100+ on apps I’ve already licensed.

  7. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    > It’ll be interesting to see how Apple handles the issues
    > of upgrades and migrating bought-outside-the-App-Store
    > apps to App-store apps.

    I believe Apple expects developers to drop their Mac App Store price to their upgrade price, and expects users to purchase the next version on Mac App Store for example for $29.99, instead of buying an upgrade to the next version for $29.99. Pixelmator v1.6.4 may be the canonical example: it was $59 previously, and now it is $29.99 on Mac App Store with a free upgrade to v2 when it ships. So in a sense, all users are paying the “upgrade price” for v2, and all users of v2 will be a part of Mac App Store.

    > With a DMG and Sparkle, the download and update process
    > has worked well for years.

    No, it sucks. You’re just used to it. Most users can’t navigate it and so have zero 3rd party native Mac apps. They just use what comes on the Mac plus Web apps. I have 2 friends who just purchased and installed their first 3rd party Mac apps yesterday. That is an expansion of the market for Mac developers.

    Also, being bugged to update at app launch could not suck more. That is when I need the app to function, not when I want to administer it. I want to simply approve all of my app updates at once, like on iOS. Imagine you have 500 Mac apps. One reason you don’t is they would take 10 or more hours per month to administer.

    The thing is, you can’t go back to a nerdier Mac community. The current Mac community had more consumers and non-IT/CS people than ever, and many of us have been spoiled by iOS apps. Yes, I want to buy and use native Mac apps, they are some of the best apps in the world, but no, I do not want to do IT work, I do not want most of my interactions with a valued but rarely used mini-app to be updating it.

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