July 31, 2012, 10:30 AM — Customers love the Mac App Store. At least, it seems like many of them do. But as Apples one-stop shop for Mac apps grows older, it becomes increasingly more restrictive to the developers who sell apps there.
In a post on his blog titled The Mac App Stores future of irrelevance, Instapaper developer Marco Arment asked: How many good apps will be pulled from the App Store before Apple cares? He continued: My confidence in the App Store, as a customer, has evaporated, since he can no longer feel certain that an app he buys today will remain available in the store later. Arment argues that the App Store is no longer a reliable place to buy software, at least for him and other Mac App Store customers who buy apps that developers later feel forced to pull from the store. His conclusion: The Mac App Store is in significant danger of becoming an irrelevant, low-traffic flea market where buyers rarely venture for serious purchases.
Arment references the most common Mac App Store concernits sandboxing requirement that can limit what functionality developers may include in their apps. By requiring that developers sandbox their apps, Apple can ensure that apps wont poke around where they dont belong on users Macsbut that limitation can potentially require apps to incur significant changes.
Arments post touched off another round of Mac App Store debates. He believes that because the Mac App Store is bad for app developers, that the overall quality of apps in the store will steadily decrease, which will be bad for developers, customers, and Apple alike.
The case against the Mac App Store
Of course, the Mac App Stores restrictions come with at least some precedent. All its limitationssandboxing, lack of upgrade pricing, and so onwere part of its older, more popular brother since day one: The iOS App Store. But, Arment tells Macworld, precisely because its always been that way, there arent huge classes of [iOS] apps that people have grown accustomed to using that are suddenly not available anymore.
The iOS App Stores restrictions work (for the most part), Arment says, because the platform has grown around them. They mostly dont get in the way. But on the Mac, the App Store policies are being retrofitted into a well-established environment that theyre fairly incompatible with.