Tuesday, November 10, 2015 [Tweets] [Favorites]

The Mac App Store: With Convenience Comes Compromise

Rob Griffiths:

A user may not know what sandboxing is, but they may wonder why a developer “chose” to put up an annoying “please grant permission” dialog box when they try to do something.

[…]

This may not seem limiting, but we’ve heard from many customers who tell us they use computers at work that are blocked from the App Store; these buyers would have no recourse if we sold solely on the Mac App Store.

[…]

App review times can be an issue if you’re trying to patch a critical bug or get a major new release in customers’ hands. Currently, the review time is about seven days[…]

More important than the average review time is its variance. A week is bad enough compared with the minutes that it takes to update a directly sold app. However, sometimes the review process stretches on for a month or two, for no discernible reason.

4 Comments

I think it's fine for Apple to restrict what it wants in the Mac App Store. It's even a good thing. The specific heuristics Apple employs for deciding what's in and what's out are counterproductive, in that they keep out good productivity app, but allow in crappy utilities, but the basic idea of filtering what's in the App Store is a good one.

The reason why it is a problem on iOS is simply that the App Store is the only way to sell iOS apps. The problem with the App Store on iOS is not that Apple filters what's allowed in, but that there is no alternative for developers if they're not allowed in.

I think we're seeing there are already problems with security in the iOS app store with Apple doing what they could. Looking at Android land I think it'd be far worse if side loading was easy.

With OS X it's a bit different. You either have fairly major players or niche utility apps done by people with a bit more wisdom. (It's not like your average person will be installing Keyboard Maestro for instance) I bet if you were to look at side loaded apps on OS X outside of the major players (Adobe, Microsoft, Google and perhaps Dropbox, Omni, and a few others) you have very few apps getting installed by most users. I do of course. I have Daylite, Keyboard Maestro, Karabiner, and a slew of others. But I'm the exception and know the risks I'm taking (and what to look for).

The biggest problem with the OS X app store is just that they were too restrictive. But the basic idea is, I think, good for casual users.

@clark: "The biggest problem with the OS X app store is just that they were too restrictive."

Actually, the biggest problem of the OS X app store for a casual user is the App Store application itself. It's a nightmare when it comes to user experience, speed and reliability.

>It's not like your average person will be installing Keyboard Maestro for instance

They won't be, but it's not because they wouldn't find it useful. The "I do this all the time, how can I make it easier" question is one I get from people all the time.

>Looking at Android land I think it'd be far worse if side loading was easy.

I really don't think that sideloading is a serious vector for problems on Android. Getting bad apps into the app store is.

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