"This most recent submission, we've had some issues, and that's because [Apple is] going toward a stricter
process where they're sandboxing all their apps," says Arnstein Teigene, a product manager for the Opera Web
browser, whose latest version has yet to receive Apple's approval. "And that becomes quite challenging for us to
get all the different plug-ins to work, because we need to talk to third-party software."
Unlike with most mobile app stores, developers and their users have an alternative on the desktop: They can
release their apps for direct download via the Internet, and bypass restrictive app stores entirely.
But going direct has its own drawbacks. Microsoft's Windows Store, for example, will be the only place for users
to find Metro-style apps. Developers who skip the store won't be able to take advantage of Windows 8's unique
features, such as side-by-side apps, universal in-app search, or the charms bar for sharing content. On the Mac,
only software from the App Store will be able to use iCloud for syncing data between devices.
App Update Fatigue
With a centralized app store, users not only get a single source for app discovery and billing, but they also
get a one-stop shop for app updates. Although this arrangement could cause some headaches if you have a few dozen
apps to redownload, it also means fewer notifications popping up at startup or cluttering the taskbar, and
potentially faster delivery of new features and bug fixes.
Kevin Foreman of Inrix says that he was surprised to learn how frequently users hit 'Update All' on their mobile
devices instead of rebelling against so many updates. He now expects that trend to continue in desktop software,
and he thinks users' willingness to update is largely about trust and convenience. "They know ... that it's
approved by somebody, and it's not going to hurt them," he says, "so why not get the latest and greatest?"
OfficeDrop's Healy Jones is happy to bring more updates to desktop users, because new versions drive additional
engagement. "The app stores let people know, 'Hey, that thing you tried a while ago has actually been improved,'
and then it prompts you to go check it out again," he says. "So the strategy of releasing something and then
improving it over time actually is a successful marketing strategy."
On desktops, though, some developers are accustomed to launching paid updates. Unfortunately, neither the Mac
App Store nor the upcoming Windows Store has mechanisms in place for this. Developers who want to charge for a
much-improved app will have to release a separate version of their software or sell additional features as in-app