Tuesday, October 22, 2019 [Tweets] [Favorites]

ExactScan Leaves the Mac App Store

Ashley Bischoff:

I ran into the same problem that you did with my ScanSnap no longer working on recent versions of macOS. And I ended up trying exactscan.com since it claimed to work with lots of scanners.

And not only does it work but I might even like it better than ScanSnap Manager!

ExactCODE:

With macOS 10.15 “Catalina” Apple introduced many incompatibilities and we where actually left with the impression that Apple will address some of them as well as some more bugs before releasing Catalina to the public.

After releasing the Catalina Golden Master build to developers on October the 3rd, we immediately finished fixing any new crash and issue we could find over the weekend. In our opinion, leaving developer just four (4!) days over a weekend with a public release on October the 7th is not very professional. While we still updated our applications in time, Apple did not review them for the AppStore, and instead rejected them first for a crash (sigh!), and later for requiring UI changes, including showing a Save As panel for each generated file. Now this may not sound like much, this is a serious issue for a document scan application which easily generates hundreds of files in an hour, and thousands of files a day, with file names automatically generated, either thru counters, or advanced auto-id features, such as barcodes.

It’s ridiculous for shipping a bug fix to be conditioned on making a major user interface change to an app that’s already had 100 updates approved. And, in this case, the proposed “fix” sounds like it makes the app much worse.

With seven years in the AppStore we were actually brainstorming how we could transition this to financially viable future. We would have preferred Apple to eventually support price reduced upgrades, which Apple to date did not. We could only start a completely new application, or transition to in-app purchases and subscriptions, e.g. for OCR, barcode or other features. Neither of which we are particular fans of, and it certainly does not help that Apple over the years was never really supportive, and usually only caused review drama and took 30% of our sales.

Previously:

Update (2019-10-23): See also: Hacker News.

12 Comments

This is really a bummer. Yeah, the UI isn't exactly *conventional*, but it's ideal for the task (scanning and managing tens, hundreds, thousands of pages in a workflow.) This software is far superior to any of the 1st party scanning software put out by Fujitsu/Canon/HP and this seems like a huge loss for the App Store. People who need this software already know exactly how to use it.

Maybe the App Review team’s time would be better spent testing Apple’s Catalyst applications.

Let me clarify, the developer is now going to gain 30% more per sale (not really, because there are still some remaining transaction costs, but still), reduce their angst on updates, and the app continues to be developed and supported? I am glad they wised up and changed their business model to reduce reliance on Apple's actively hostile market. I am not a fan of the Mac App Store and frankly it can continue to wither and die.

Even on Windows, I barely use the app store and it is 1000% better than Apple's version. Kudos to the developer on taking this stand and I wish them well.

@Nathan It’s 43% more per sale (100/70). So even if they go with a really expensive payment processor they’ll still end up more than 30% ahead.

I don't understand the point of the app store. Whenever I've searched for anything on the app store it either returns apps I already know about or own, or complete garbage apps. There are a few apps on my Mac that come from the app store, but that's only because the developer went to 100% app store distribution (mostly apps I already had that switched over). I could see how it'd be useful if it was somehow surfacing great apps that fill a niche need, but that has never been my experience. Not once.

@Michael
Yikes! Seems kind of scammy how bad the App Store on Mac feels. I figured it would get better since I used it over 8 years ago on, was it Snow Leopard? Then I tried it on Lion. Was not for me.

@Ben G
I met to @ you as well. Definitely scammy. And expensive and ultimately detrimental for developers. It's a shame.

An open question to all, does the failure of the Mac App Store show us that the "success" of the iOS App Store is largely illusory? Meaning, if people did not have to go through the app store on mobile, is there not a chance many developers would avoid it? Users too potentially?

I am not a fan of the walled garden approach for a device meant to be a personal computer. A safe repository for default installation would be fine, but Apple has not properly argued the value proposition of the App Store to make it worth using, on the Mac anyway, iOS users are clearly stuck.

> An open question to all, does the failure of the Mac App Store show us that the "success" of the iOS App Store is largely illusory? Meaning, if people did not have to go through the app store on mobile, is there not a chance many developers would avoid it? Users too potentially?

If that were the case, Mac applications outside the Store would have been minimally or even positively affected. Instead, my impression is that the total market for independent Mac apps has been contracting for years. If that impression is correct, it might be some combination of: the poor quality and restrictions of the Mac App Store and its offerings; Apple's ongoing efforts to make the experiences of developing, distributing, maintaining, and installing apps outside of their control onerous and scary; and a generation of mobile users who have been trained that the value of software is nil.

And to be clear, I have nearly the same complaint about the iOS app store. I *have* found some apps by searching through it that I didn't already know about, that were good, and I continue to use. But mostly it just surfaces either hugely popular apps that I already know about, or junk that looks like it's from fly-by-night Chinese developers looking to cash in on trends by making look-alike apps. It also frequently surfaces apps at the top that haven't even been updated in years and aren't compatible with my iPhone -- what is the point of that? Easily 95% of apps that have a permanent home on my iPhone I found out about by sources outside of the app store.

Sören Nils Kuklau

Let me clarify, the developer is now going to gain 30% more per sale (not really, because there are still some remaining transaction costs, but still), reduce their angst on updates, and the app continues to be developed and supported?

Yes, but also, it has to fight harder for exposure.

Whatever you think about the Mac App Store, it does lead to some eyeballs of people who may never think to look for apps outside the store. How much of a mix is that? I have no idea. But it’s probably more than zero.

Even on Windows, I barely use the app store and it is 1000% better than Apple’s version.

The Windows Store also seems to be a failure, although perhaps not as big as the Mac App Store. Definitely not a runaway success story like the iOS App Store and Google Play Store.

I hadn’t used it in years and only recently launched it to install the Windows Terminal preview. It’s a pretty poor experience. I don’t see at all how it’s ten times better than the Mac App Store; somehow they managed to make updates even more confusing than Apple.

An open question to all, does the failure of the Mac App Store show us that the “success” of the iOS App Store is largely illusory? Meaning, if people did not have to go through the app store on mobile, is there not a chance many developers would avoid it? Users too potentially?

Some would, sure. (Netflix might, for example. It would sidestep the entire revenue-sharing debate.)

It’s hard to say what the world of mobile would be like without the App Store and Google Play Store. Presumably, Google Search would be far more optimized towards discovering apps. But even if it were, that’s not an adequate answer to payment. Would paying for stuff on the web also be in a better state through sheer market needs?

Easily 95% of apps that have a permanent home on my iPhone I found out about by sources outside of the app store.

I, too, have discovered very few apps through the App Store (but rather through social media, podcasts, blog posts, whathaveyou). But I don’t think that’s representative of the masses.

@vintner
That stinks.

Funny thing, I just bought three apps last week on Google Play. Two for my use and one for my girlfriend's. I told her, when the best solution on the market is paid, I will go paid. No qualms if reasonably priced.

Two of the apps came from the same developer who had initially promised to keep all his apps, open source, minimally invasive when it comes to permissions, and free of cost. Well, the first two remain true, but apparently development costs are high enough he has now asked for small payments. Generally less than $1.50. While not perfect apps, they aR

Oops. Sorry. I meant to say, "they are solid".

@Sören
The Windows app store? It works fine. I can get whole Linux subsystems installed on there and the process is simple and quick. Updates simply happen in the background, never had a problem. A very neat feature, you do not even have to login to download free apps or receive updates on said apps. Could it really be much simpler?

The Windows App store respects per user settings. If you want apps to download on each user on a single device, you need to launch the Windows App Store and then download said apps per user.

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