Mac App Store

gato

状元
Interesting articles. Mabye the iPhone is a trojan horse for bringing more developers to the Mac. Hehe.

http://www.marco.org/1432156914#
The Mac App Store isn’t for today’s Mac developers
Appeal to iOS developers
Much of what made the App Store so compelling to developers will begin to apply to Mac software with the Mac App Store:
* Most Mac owners will be encouraged from prominent places on their Macs to buy apps. The potential audience is huge, and will be much easier to reach.
* Payment processing will be much simpler.
* Software websites won’t need nearly as much functionality.
* Two of the most common support issues for desktop software vendors — installation support and serial-number issues — will almost completely disappear.

http://danieltenner.com/posts/0019-mac-app-store.html
The Death of the Web?
Posted on October 29, 2010
by Daniel Tenner
1 Yes, of course, the Mac App Store doesn’t run on Windows. And the iOS app store doesn’t run on Android. That hasn’t stopped anyone.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
gato said:
* Most Mac owners will be encouraged from prominent places on their Macs to buy apps. The potential audience is huge, and will be much easier to reach.
True, but that assumes Apple's search algorithm puts you on top for whatever people are looking for - in some cases, the best apps in a given category may be better off not listing in the Mac App Store and relying on people to find them from a Google search instead after realizing that whatever need they wanted met isn't well-covered by anything there.

Should be a real boost for Mac gaming, though Steam may be well on their way to cornering that market...

gato said:
* Payment processing will be much simpler.
* Software websites won’t need nearly as much functionality.
There are already sites which will do all of the payment processing stuff for you for much less than a 30% cut (and no approval needed).

gato said:
* Two of the most common support issues for desktop software vendors — installation support and serial-number issues — will almost completely disappear.
I don't really think those are much of a problem on Mac - installation generally consists of clicking on a link to download something, seeing the disk image auto-open on your desktop, and dragging the app icon into your Applications folder; how much simpler can Apple make that?

Most major Mac apps already auto-update, and there's lots of open-source code available to help with that. And there are tons of ways to simplify the serial number problem - with our Registration ID system for Palm/WM-to-iPhone transfers we get a support question from maybe one in 200 users. Many Mac apps include links in their order confirmation emails that automatically open / register the app when clicked on; I can't imagine those guys have a significantly higher rate of serial-number-related support questions.
 
True, but that assumes Apple's search algorithm puts you on top for whatever people are looking for - in some cases, the best apps in a given category may be better off not listing in the Mac App Store and relying on people to find them from a Google search instead after realizing that whatever need they wanted met isn't well-covered by anything there.
We don't really know exactly how it'll pan out on the desktop (probably very well), but what the App Store has demonstrated is that people are far more likely to spend money when you make it as easy as possible. This is why so many developers have flocked to the App Store - because people are spending money there like crazy. I'm an iPhone / iPad developer also and I know many developers have abandoned the desktop platform entirely because it's so difficult to monetize. Relying on people to Google you and go through the steps to purchase your software from your website is an antiquated practice that will be gone in the near future.

I don't really think those are much of a problem on Mac - installation generally consists of clicking on a link to download something, seeing the disk image auto-open on your desktop, and dragging the app icon into your Applications folder; how much simpler can Apple make that?
I'm not sure if this is a rhetorical question but I'll answer it anyway: much, much easier. Search in one place, find what you need, purchase and install it with a single click. Every step you add to purchasing makes it less likely that a potential customer will complete the sale.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
justcharlie said:
We don't really know exactly how it'll pan out on the desktop (probably very well), but what the App Store has demonstrated is that people are far more likely to spend money when you make it as easy as possible. This is why so many developers have flocked to the App Store - because people are spending money there like crazy. I'm an iPhone / iPad developer also and I know many developers have abandoned the desktop platform entirely because it's so difficult to monetize. Relying on people to Google you and go through the steps to purchase your software from your website is an antiquated practice that will be gone in the near future.
That depends on the type of software. We relied pretty much entirely on Google and word-of-mouth back in our Palm/Windows-Mobile-centric days and we actually made about as much money then off of Palm/WM as we do off of iPhone now; the increase in sales from greater exposure on iPhone was eaten up by lower prices (due to competition) and Apple's 30% cut. From what I hear from other old Palm/WM developers a lot of them are in the same boat - more customers but less profit per customer on account of lower prices. So much like old Palm developers, old Mac developers could find themselves longing for the days where they got to charge $30 for their software and keep (almost) all of it.

justcharlie said:
I'm not sure if this is a rhetorical question but I'll answer it anyway: much, much easier. Search in one place, find what you need, purchase and install it with a single click. Every step you add to purchasing makes it less likely that a potential customer will complete the sale.
Unless the customer can't complete the sale because Apple's system is declining their credit card, which happens a lot for us on iPhone (they don't seem to like people using their US credit card in China) - I don't even want to think of the number of sales we've lost from people who had their credit card declined and then gave up trying. There's also the problem of a lack of flexibility when you're selling stuff through someone else's catalog - we'd really like to offer a way for people to buy a single Pleco add-on module and then upgrade later to one of our "bundles" for the difference in price, but we can't come up with a good way to offer that within the confines of App Store.

So having the flexibility to discount / bundle / refund / process credit cards however we like is a very big deal for us - the extra installation step might introduce a few more support problems (though I really don't think it'd be that bad - certainly nowhere near as difficult as installation on Palm/WM), but at least with those problems we actually have the power to fix all of them ourselves rather than hoping that Apple eventually resolves whatever issue it is for us.
 

gato

状元
Unless the customer can't complete the sale because Apple's system is declining their credit card, which happens a lot for us on iPhone (they don't seem to like people using their US credit card in China) - I don't even want to think of the number of sales we've lost from people who had their credit card declined and then gave up trying.
Hopefully Apple will clear that up soon now that they are formally selling iPhones and iPad in mainland China.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
gato said:
Hopefully Apple will clear that up soon now that they are formally selling iPhones and iPad in mainland China.
Apple's still figuring out China, I think... with all of the reports of scalping problems with the iPhone 4, I keep wondering why they don't just try flooding the market; divert huge numbers of iPhone 4s to China for a few weeks until competition drives prices down to the point where the scalpers are forced to start selling their vast inventory of iPhones at cost just to recoup their investment. They'd sell a gazillion iPhones and discourage anyone from even attempting to scalp their next hot product release.
 

gato

状元
I think they couldn't just flood the China market even though the phones are made here because supply is tight in many other places and everybody has to wait in line. They sold 14 million iPhone 4's in the 3rd quarter whereas even the most optimistic analyst forecasted only 12 million. In HK, unlocked iPhone 4's could only be ordered from the online Apple Store and shipped to a local address, and there was still a 2-3 week waiting period earlier last month.

I went by the Apple Store in Shanghai yesterday and didn't see any lines, so things must have calmed down. They require online reservations now for purchasing iPhone 4 to avoid the scalping problem. I see quite a lot of people using the iPad here, too.
 

character

状元
Apple's stingy sales of iPhones in China is punishment for the mucking up of the white iPhone 4. :D

Given Apple's recent moves toward Verizon and starting to sell iDevices in lots of retailers, it looks like Apple is going for marketshare, so China will not be ignored. I do get the impression Apple thinks Japan is much cooler. :wink:
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
character said:
Given Apple's recent moves toward Verizon and starting to sell iDevices in lots of retailers, it looks like Apple is going for marketshare, so China will not be ignored. I do get the impression Apple thinks Japan is much cooler.
Well they've got 60% smartphone market share in Japan, and a much longer history there - Macs were cool in Japan even during the years when they'd gotten passe in the US. China may be a big prize, but they're working up to it slowly; their current wave of success seems to mostly have to do with their having established themselves as the computing equivalent of Prada / BMW / etc, an aspirational luxury brand that rich urbanites use to impress other rich urbanites. Which is a good way to get their foot in the door, and will hopefully help them to improve Chinese support in iOS/OSX to the point where they can gradually start to reach a bigger slice of the market - a Mac Mini or a 13" MacBook isn't a completely ridiculous purchase for a middle-class family in a tiny Beijing apartment, for example, and once the wave of scalping fades an iPhone 4 shouldn't be that far away from a high-end HTC or Samsung phone pricing-wise.
 

character

状元
mikelove said:
China may be a big prize, but they're working up to it slowly [...]
Naturally; Steve Jobs can only do so much in a day. I get the impression final approval of a lot of actions rests with him; at other companies the decisions would be made at lower levels.

[...] help them to improve Chinese support in iOS/OSX to the point where they can gradually start to reach a bigger slice of the market [...]
I've not used it much on my Mac; what's missing from their support?
 

John

举人
mikelove said:
Well they've got 60% smartphone market share in Japan, and a much longer history there [...]
will hopefully help them to improve Chinese support in iOS/OSX
Notwithstanding their market share in Japan and as I understand it, the Japanese support in iOS is worse than the Chinese support (even in its current form), e.g. handwriting input for Chinese but not Japanese!
 

gato

状元
Interesting story. Kind of related to this topic.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/m ... ejobs.html
November 10, 2010 at 3:41 PM
Seattle iPad developer gets a call from Steve Jobs
Posted by Sharon Pian Chan

Frustrated by Apple's rejection of his iPad app, Seattle developer Ram Arumugam e-mailed Chief Executive Steve Jobs. Two hours later, he picked up a phone call and heard: "Ram, this is Steve." Jobs was on the other end.

The two talked about Arumugam's app, called "Economy for iPad," and why it was rejected by Apple.

Arumugam said after talking to Jobs he removed the non-public code, and the app has since been accepted to the iPad marketplace. His $2.99 app, which tracks U.S. and state economic statistics such as GDP, unemployment and housing stats, is now the No. 1 selling paid app in the iPad store's finance category, he said.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
character said:
I've not used it much on my Mac; what's missing from their support?
Biggest problem IMHO is actually font rendering: Chinese fonts look considerably less clear on Macs than on PCs owing to the fact that the type of anti-aliasing Apple uses tends to shed small details in exchange for closer adherence to each character's mathematical ideal - the same thing that makes alphabetic languages prettier on Macs makes ideographic ones fuzzier. (in Pleco on WM we actually use Apple-style anti-aliasing for English and Pinyin but Microsoft-style anti-aliasing for Chinese) So Apple really needs to get Chinese characters to look better on Macs, for one thing.

Also, their built-in Pinyin IME is far far less sophisticated than Microsoft's, and while there are a few third-party ones available I don't think they're on the same level as third-party Windows ones like Sogou. And their built-in handwriting is pretty much the same as it is on iPhone - serviceable, but a top-of-the-line engine like Hanwang's will run circles around it accuracy-wise. I don't know of any really good Chinese-speaker-learning-English oriented dictionary apps, either, no Mac equivalent of Jinshan Ciba or what have you. (they do at least have a version of QQ for Mac now)

John said:
Notwithstanding their market share in Japan and as I understand it, the Japanese support in iOS is worse than the Chinese support (even in its current form), e.g. handwriting input for Chinese but not Japanese!
True, but aren't there a lot more third-party apps for Japanese on Mac? Also I would think that the font problem is a bit less of an issue since Macs render kana at least pretty well.
 

numble

状元
It's up and it seems to already have an effect on app usage, even for apps that were supposedly already very popular and well-known:
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
And yet it's already been cracked, so probably best to wait for version 2... (hopefully featuring in-app purchases, better still with easy transfers from iOS ones).
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Henry said:
Sorry if this has been discussed somewhere else, but does this mean a version of Pleco for Mac?
Not right away, for now I'm still inclined to go with our recompile-the-Android-version-for-x86-and-run-it-in-a-VM plan; iPhone-to-OSX porting isn't too difficult, but there's still a lot of tedious redesigning of UIs and right now Android has to take priority.
 

numble

状元
Well I hope you put it on the Mac App Store. Devs have already demonstrated that they can sell on their own site as well as on the Mac App Store. You can even sell it at a 30% premium on the Mac App Store.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
character said:
http://parsekit.com/umekit/ doesn't do tables, but it's a start.
Neat, but we really need tables - I suppose we could always contribute code for that ourselves, though. Maybe after our big 2.3 UI redesign (which should really take things to a new level - we're even hiring a professional design firm to come up with a more unified visual theme for dict / reader / flash / OCR / HWR / etc and some pretty new icons to go with it).

numble said:
Well I hope you put it on the Mac App Store. Devs have already demonstrated that they can sell on their own site as well as on the Mac App Store. You can even sell it at a 30% premium on the Mac App Store.
If they fix the DRM then sure - right now I'm not entrusting content that we're contractually obligated to protect to a system which can be thwarted as easily as theirs seems to be. (there's a method floating around now that doesn't even involve downloading an external hack / utility)

As a Mac user I'm quite liking the new store, though - finally bought Aperture and Pixelmator to replace Photoshop for lighter editing / cataloging tasks. (and iMovie '11, as I've been charged with creating a wedding video for a family member) If we weren't in the process of transitioning to a CMS I'd probably spring for RapidWeaver too...
 
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