Another Popular App Leaves The Mac App Store

Apple has a Mac App Store problem. Popular vector-based design app Sketch is leaving the App Store in order to move back to a direct-selling model. The developer announced the move on its official blog this morning. This isn’t the first time developers are complaining about the state of the App Store on the Mac.

“The customer experience on the Mac App Store hasn’t evolved like its iOS counterpart,” Bohemian Coding wrote. In particular, the company cites three missing key features.

Even though the Mac App Store is much smaller than the iOS App Store, app review still takes a week once you submit your app to Apple. It would be fine if Mac developers didn’t have any alternative like on iOS, but they can also push updates on their website in no time.

There are some stricter guidelines on the Mac App Store as well. Apps need to be sandboxed for improved security. But it isn’t always possible for apps with low-level implementations. You won’t see the Dropbox app in the Mac App Store anytime soon for example.

And finally, you can’t release new major versions of your app with a smaller upgrade price for existing users. Developers have been asking for upgrade pricing for years.

For instance, Wil Shipley wrote a long post explaining why the Mac App Store needed paid upgrades in 2012. Three and a half years later, Shipley’s post still holds true.

These are all fixable problems. But Panic had to remove Coda from Mac App Store last year. Bare Bones Software doesn’t sell BBEdit in the Mac App Store anymore. And many developers don’t bother releasing their new OS X apps in the Mac App Store.

These aren’t insignificant apps. These are professional apps, and many power users rely on them every day. Fortunately, all these companies found a way to issue new license numbers for existing Mac App Store users. Nobody is getting left behind. But Apple should dedicate more resources toward the Mac App Store.

A couple of weeks ago, an issue affected Mac App Store customers for a short period of time. While Apple managed to catch it quickly, it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

Let’s hope that Apple plans to improve the Mac App Store in the next major OS X release as I don’t see today’s trend ending any time soon. The Mac App Store remains a great idea — a great way to discover apps, a centralized update system and a simple way to manage your software licenses. It just needs a bit of work.