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Mac App Store developers aim for low prices, high volume

post #1 of 44
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With Apple's Mac App Store scheduled to open in just two days, developers are reporting enthusiasm and cautious optimism, hoping to repeat the success of the iOS app market for iPhone and iPad.

Apple announced its intention to launch a Mac App Store less than three months ago at its October "Back to the Mac" event, which centered upon iLife '11 and the forthcoming release of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.

The company clarified that its Mac App Store was such a priority that it planned to have it up and operational within 90 days, well ahead of the release of Lion. In December, Apple announced that its Mac App Store would open to users in 90 countries starting January 6, a couple weeks ahead of schedule.

The new Mac App Store will, like its iOS counterpart, offer easy shopping with customer reviews, one click downloads and software installation, and automatically notify users when updates are available.



Looking for clues on App Store pricing

Since its first demo, the Mac App Store has generated interest in how it will differ from the mobile iOS version, where most apps are a dollar or two, and very few are more than $5 or $10.

In its own initial presentation of the new App Store, Apple portrayed its iLife apps as listing for $15, and iWork apps being sold individually for $20, roughly the same as those apps currently sell for together in their existing suite packages, but much higher than the $5 version of iMovie for iOS, or the $10 versions of iWork apps available for iPad.

The company also listed a few fictitious titles to fill space, priced between $3 for a utility, $5 for a game, and $30 to $40 for more apps that appeared to be more complex. Those figures were significantly higher than typical iOS titles, but generally lower than existing retail Mac software.



Existing iOS apps likely to remain cheap

An informal survey conducted by Markus Nigrin of the Pocket Cyclone blog suggests that many developers are actually hoping to clone the success of their iOS apps using similar prices, gunning for volume sales that can get them noticed in app popularity charts.

Four game developers Nigrin interviewed: Dave Frampton of Majic Jungle Software(Chopper 2); Bryan Duke of Acceleroto (Air Hockey); Matt Martell of Mundue (reMovem) and Craig Kemper of Little White Bear Studios (Compression) each said they planned to price their new Mac titles at or within a dollar of their existing, and successful, iOS titles.

Bringing iOS apps to the Mac App Store will be easy because, as Nigrin points out, "Apple made the code re-use for a native Mac app very straightforward. Every dev I talked to mentioned porting times of less than four weeks. Which were mostly spent on all types of adjustments, like keyboard and HD support."

Nigrin noted that most iOS game developers create their graphical assets at higher resolutions than currently necessary on iOS devices in order to future proof their work in anticipation of "HD" devices on the horizon. That makes bringing their titles to the Mac easy and cheap, supporting their ability to offer Mac apps at similarly low price points.

Mac vs iOS developers

On the other hand, some Mac developers are stuck in the mindset that programs should be priced at $50 to $100. "I heard some stories from classic Indie Mac Software developers," Nigrin wrote, "who think their whole strategy will be to determine if they add the 30% Apple cut to their old price or if they should just keep their price levels."

Apple charges developers a flat 30 percent cut of the software sold through its App Stores; although that fee is less than most retailers charge for any product, it's something app developers could sidestep by selling their own work directly. The problem is that setting up a digital store and finding buyers yourself is challenging and potentially expensive to do.

Nigrin also described a 'technical battleground' between existing Mac developers and iOS shops, with Mac devs trying to "push the notion that 'ported iOS' apps are somehow inferior to native Mac apps."

That is a "very questionable claim," Nigrin said. "We are not talking about a cross-platform approach with ugly design elements, a meta compiler and three daisy-chained interpreters to get these apps to run. This is as native and as natural as it can get and Apple did a great job paving the way."
post #2 of 44
My only concern is that there will be three price points for 3 different platforms. I know that iPad and iPhone use iOS, but we all know that angry birds is .99 on the iPhone, $4.99 on the iPad and if they ever develop a Mac OS version, maybe even $7.99. However I actually use my MacBook Pro for work (remote desktop, citrix, as/400) than games or heavy entertainment.
post #3 of 44
It will be interesting to see if the general price level declines for software we are used to paying $49 and $79 for. A category of great software at fairly good prices. With Apple's expanding base, I would think most developers could make up the reductions in price by a hefty increase in volume. I hope to see some test the under $20 range.

I wouldn't expect photoshop to appear in the app store any time soon, but perhaps Adobe will get the message that lower prices can often result in higher revenues. I love Photoshop, but even keeping up with the upgrade cycle is painful.

Adobe is at the upper end of the Laffer curve and would almost certainly experience far more robust sales at lower price points, enabling them to broaden their base and improve their bottom line.
post #4 of 44
Though not strictly a comment on the article, what this does say, VERY LOUDLY, is become an App developer
(developer - developer - developer) AND MAKE BUCKETS of M-O-N-E-Y

The title, of the link below, is 10 Worst Tech Predictions
and the gist of the story is "do whatever it takes to get in on the App revolution"

and the guy only wants $US79.00 for the whole story
yeah - right!

or buy an App? - or invest in one - or MARRY A DEVELOPER !!

http://blogs.marketwatch.com/cody/20.../?mod=yahoo_hs
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post #5 of 44
I can see Angry Birds......right now, flying across my 20" iMac screen........yahoooooooooo !!
post #6 of 44
This is great news. The OSX developer business model has been dead for years. I am very stoked about the new business model for serious computing, not just iOS vege-tainment.

I don't own an iPad. That $$ would go to a Macbook Air. Drool.
post #7 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Fred 1 View Post

I can see Angry Birds......right now, flying across my 20" iMac screen........yahoooooooooo !!

Well - good point, however, I've seen some dumb stuff flying across users screens.

What about Flying Toasters - that'd be a GREAT IDEA ?
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post #8 of 44
This is "Apple" guys.......you want cheep bye a Dell. Mac users will pay for quality, we always have.
post #9 of 44

deleted


Edited by MacRulez - 5/4/12 at 12:43pm
post #10 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by OzExige View Post

Well - good point, however, I've seen some dumb stuff flying across users screens.

What about Flying Toasters - that'd be a GREAT IDEA ?

Talking about dumb ideas... a hospital that will remain nameless has all of their computers displaying a screen saver after a short period of inactivity ... the text of the screen saver encourages everyone to 'THINK GREEN' and has some web address for information on how each employee can do their part.

I just giggled... THINK GREEN?!?!!? how about PUT THE SCREEN INTO POWER SAVER MODE?!?! Thousands of computer screens all burning energy to promote the idea of thinking green.
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post #11 of 44
Man, if I could write an App and charge a $1 and I sold a million of them. I'd make.....uh!

Errr! Help me with the math, Solipsism!

Best
post #12 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

The "low cost, high volume" strategy is really smart because now that there's an app store there will no doubt be a hundred times more Mac users than there were last month.

Way to completely miss the point.

Scenario: Acme developer makes a useful little app that he sells for $5 on his site, but his site doesn’t get much drive, he’s never high in page hits for the task his app performs because it’s such a clever app people don’t even know this would help them. He sells a few on his website but most are stolen because he doesn’t have the resources to go out of his way to protect it from piracy with an excessive number of individual licenses. He also knows that many users don’t want to give the CC to some unknown website even though he and the service he rents is on the up and up. He has PayPal as an option but that isn’t a very common way to pay for good for the people the app is geared toward. He’s a in pickle.

This is where the MAS comes in. There are innumerable devs who fall under one or more of those exaggerated things I mentioned above. They can sell their at the price they want (in intervals of $1). They can make it easy for users to search various app types. They can make users feel assured that using the CC Apple already has on file won’t be a potential issue it could be from an unknown site. Finally, developers get to sell protected apps that can and will be hacked, but that will require more effort from the user and therefore be done less often.
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post #13 of 44
This native .dmg store is a win win either way. One place to do a quick search for something I'd like to have or something better before i go searching across the web for what i need and then question if the site a secure place to shop at.


And dev can see wheres their room for growth like FTP servers, god i'd like a good ftp server like filezilla ftp server, but for mac. Maybe a dev with some time will be looking for their next project and know they can do better and BAM we win with more choices.

just like ios, theres plenty of chat apps cause each dev thinks they can do better. so either way we win. we'll have a native library of .dmg to search and web. HURRAY!
post #14 of 44
Will apps that need access outside the User account be allowed? For example, iStat Menus. How about apps like Senuti for recovering data off iDevices?


Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

If I could write an App and charge a $1 and I sold a million of them. I'd make.....uh!

Errr! Help me with the math, Solipsism!

Best

$1 x 1,000,000 = $1,000,000 x 70% = $700,000

That makes me want to become a developer.
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post #15 of 44
After viewing Apple's success in the desktop App Store, Microsoft will be introducing their own Windows App Store.

Ballmer is thanking Apple's R&D department and recognizes them as an excellent method to provide product R&D outsourcing at zero cost.

</sarcasm>
post #16 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Do apps that need access outside the user be allowed? For example, iStat Menus? How about apps like Senuti for recovering data off iDevices?

$1 x 1,000,000 = $1,000,000 x 70% = $700,000

That makes me want to become a developer.

With Apple providing all infrastructure support for Apps, hopefully that will lower the cost of all software now that the developer / company does not have to deal with Brick & Mortar headaches.

And yet... there will still be folks thinking that Apple is ripping-off the developer with the 30% hit. Like they know what is involved in product marketing and distribution.
post #17 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Do apps that need access outside the user be allowed? For example, iStat Menus? How about apps like Senuti for recovering data off iDevices?




$1 x 1,000,000 = $1,000,000 x 70% = $700,000

That makes me want to become a developer.

Thanks...I didn't have a pencil and paper at hand!

Best
post #18 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

With Apple providing all infrastructure support for Apps, hopefully that will lower the cost of all software now that the developer / company does not have to deal with Brick & Mortar headaches.

And yet... there will still be folks thinking that Apple is ripping-off the developer with the 30% hit. Like they know what is involved in product marketing and distribution.

Hit the nail on the S. Now all we need is a good idea for an App!

Best
post #19 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by bugsnw View Post

I wouldn't expect photoshop to appear in the app store any time soon, but perhaps Adobe will get the message that lower prices can often result in higher revenues. I love Photoshop, but even keeping up with the upgrade cycle is painful.

Adobe is at the upper end of the Laffer curve and would almost certainly experience far more robust sales at lower price points, enabling them to broaden their base and improve their bottom line.

Interesting comment... Replace Adobe software with Apple computers and see if you still agree with your own comment.
post #20 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Interesting comment... Replace Adobe software with Apple computers and see if you still agree with your own comment.

The only problem with this is there is not comparison (or replacement) of Adobe and Apple.

Apples to oranges....
post #21 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by bugsnw View Post

II wouldn't expect photoshop to appear in the app store any time soon, but perhaps Adobe will get the message that lower prices can often result in higher revenues. I love Photoshop, but even keeping up with the upgrade cycle is painful.

Would most of there software even qualify if they wanted to sell them on the MAS? I assume that apps cant use installers and put files all over your system the way Adobe and MS products do. I think the only apps from each company that would work are Flash and Silverlight since theyre browser plug-ins.
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post #22 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Would most of there software even qualify if they wanted to sell them on the MAS? I assume that apps cant use installers and put files all over your system the way Adobe and MS products do. I think the only apps from each company that would work are Flash and Silverlight since theyre browser plug-ins.

Plug-ins are not allowed either. The other main problem is the use of activations codes, serial numbers, .. etc is not permitted. I can't see MS and Adobe counting on Apple for security. Those companies spend huge overhead on software security, which is not that much effective anyway.
post #23 of 44
As an indie Mac developer, its hard to imagine running a reasonable business at these price points.

iPhone app store has driven prices so cheap the user can buy it without trying it. Not a big waste of money if they don't like it.

Thats not a reasonable approach for more complex software.

I'm sure users like the idea of cheap software, but if nothing else, support costs don't go away.

You are not going to see Photoshop for $5.99, etc.

Apple can afford to give away iWorks to sell the platform. In the same way that Microsoft gives away IE to push Windows. That doesn't help anyone else.
post #24 of 44
I'll be curious to see if Angry Birds jumps in (and possibly in some form for Windows too) or sticks with its brand as a distinctly mobile game.
post #25 of 44
So I clicked thru to the original article -- the author's "survey" consisted of asking 4 of his developer buddies what their plans were. That's a pretty small sample for such a bold title. Instead of "Mac App Store developers aim for low prices, high volume", I think it would have been more accurate to state that "4 developer buddies aim for low prices, high volume". All 4 of these developer buddies are iPhone game developers. Nothing wrong with games, but pricing in that area will not necessarily correspond with pricing in other areas. Judging from the threads on the Mac Dev forums (open to developers only) I think most of the more serious apps are going to be well north of $10 - mostly $15 to $40, I think. We'll see in 2 days.
post #26 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

...how it will differ from the mobile iOS version, where most apps are a dollar or two, and very few are more than $5 or $10.

... Apple portrayed its iLife apps as listing for $15, and iWork apps being sold individually for $20, roughly the same as those apps currently sell for together in their existing suite packages, but much higher than the $5 version of iMovie for iOS, or the $10 versions of iWork apps available for iPad.

The company also listed a few fictitious titles to fill space, priced between $3 for a utility, $5 for a game, and $30 to $40 for more apps that appeared to be more complex. Those figures were significantly higher than typical iOS titles, but generally lower than existing retail Mac software.
...

I hope that companies such as Omnigroup will take the hint. Even for their iOS version they are currently charging more than what is customary for desktop shareware.
If they ever want to achieve the high sales volumes that indeed may be possible, they should shape up and adapt their prices to the new ecosystem.

If the idea takes off, in the future, we may not have to pay twice (once for the desktop and once for iOS) for software such as Pages, Keynote, etc..
Hint, hint, Apple: show the others how to do it.
post #27 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Porchland View Post

I'll be curious to see if Angry Birds jumps in (and possibly in some form for Windows too) or sticks with its brand as a distinctly mobile game.

Angry Birds was released for the PlayStation 3 this week. It looks like Rovio wants to be on every platform. I can't wait to see the ZX-81 port.

I think the Mac store is going to be a great thing. I know a lot of less techy Mac users who've downloaded and installed far more apps onto their iPhone than their Mac. This is a great thing for Mac developers, even if they will need to adjust their business model.
post #28 of 44
I hope Apple offers an auto-update feature. It really simplifies the process on the iPad to tap a single button to get this done. But it'd be even better if this happened at a set time.

Think about software like Vuescan that's updated nearly daily. Far fewer trips to MacUpdate and Versiontracker.

I wonder what will become of the excellent Macheist offerings...
post #29 of 44
It was already announced that it will have Auto-update features in the MAS.
post #30 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Thanks...I didn't have a pencil and paper at hand!

Best

If you needed a pencil and paper to figure that out you might find it a wee bit difficult to develop a app.
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post #31 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

My only concern is that there will be three price points for 3 different platforms. I know that iPad and iPhone use iOS, but we all know that angry birds is .99 on the iPhone, $4.99 on the iPad and if they ever develop a Mac OS version, maybe even $7.99. However I actually use my MacBook Pro for work (remote desktop, citrix, as/400) than games or heavy entertainment.

You're concerned about that? That only makes sense, you pay more for Need4Speed for PC than you do for the iPhone version, & even more for console. Pricing has always differed by platform & hardware, there is nothing new about that.

The good news here is that it appears the App store will both help drive prices down & increase title availability for the Mac platform. How is any of that bad?! If Apple ever turns the AppleTV into a console capable device Apple will have an unbelievable arsenal in their armada & the competition has got to be shaking in their boots.

When Apple decided to expand outside the computer business into phones companies should have seen the writing on the wall. Apple saw that the cell phone market was held hostage by companies that were just putting lipstick on pigs & trying to sell them as new product. Their decision to do something about that opened up the reality to them as a company that there was a need out there much greater than just the phone market, a lot of tech categories are held hostage by companies who are content making & selling crap rather than truly advancing technology. Apple isn't the only company that can do it right, they are just the first to make that their focus rather than just throwing random garbage at people & waiting to see which garbage sells.

Hate or love Apple, everyone has to admit they have changed the tech market for the better by pushing other companies to get off their arses & innovate.
post #32 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Will apps that need access outside the User account be allowed? For example, iStat Menus. How about apps like Senuti for recovering data off iDevices?




$1 x 1,000,000 = $1,000,000 x 70% = $700,000

That makes me want to become a developer.

I know he said $1, but that really isn't an option, so

$0.99*1,000,000=$990,000
$990,000*.70=$693,000
post #33 of 44

deleted


Edited by MacRulez - 5/4/12 at 12:43pm
post #34 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

Consider solipsism's missive on how wonderful the App Store will be for putting script kiddies who can't market well on equal footing with the hardest working names in the Mac dev community.

  • Textwrangler by Bare Bones. Script kiddie?
  • Soulver by Acqualia. Script kiddie?
  • ScreenFlow by Teleflow. Script kiddie?
  • Movist by some Korean developer. Script kiddie?
  • Mactracker by some Canadian developer. Script kiddie?
  • Angry Birds by Rovio. Script kiddie?
  • Dropbox. Script kiddie?
  • 1Passowrd by Agile. Script kiddie?

You sure have a funny definition there.
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post #35 of 44

deleted


Edited by MacRulez - 5/4/12 at 12:43pm
post #36 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

Not at all. All of those you listed are among the best names in the business I noted above, and have nothing in common with the marketing and customer relationship incompetence you described as being the problem the App Store will solve.

I gave a scenario. Heres another one...

Scenario B: A fairly large well known Mac developing group will create a version of their app to sell on the MAS. This is will be a free and/or paid version of one or more of their apps. They will also continue to sell their apps on their own websites but use the MAS as a way to increase their marketshare, revenue and profit. They wrote on their MAS entry to check out their website for a trial version.

Funny how that works. BTW, since when is Acqualia and Teleflow, not to mention some unnamed Korean and Canadian developers, the "best names in the business? Your trolling is even weaker than usual today.
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post #37 of 44

deleted


Edited by MacRulez - 5/4/12 at 12:46pm
post #38 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

...until Apple makes MAS the only way to install apps it's a good option for developers to retain at least some of the revenue they currently enjoy.

I think they make medications for paranoia.

Quote:
Cute: so you added some unknowns in a list that included TextWrangler and Dropbox. Okay, mea culpa, I thought you had some sort of point to make but I'll admit that I fell for what turned out to be some weird trick question.

I tricked you by making you not read the comment you replied to.

Quote:
I envy the amount of free time you have on your hands.

I earned it by working smarter. You should try it sometime.
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post #39 of 44

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Edited by MacRulez - 5/4/12 at 12:45pm
post #40 of 44
"All the crew at the Pixelmator Team is very excited about the new Mac App Store, as users and, especially, as developers. I believe (and it’s not just me) that the Mac App Store is going to be an absolute hit."

"Specifically for us, the good thing is that once we are in the Store, we will finally be able to focus completely on Pixelmator improvements, quality, and new features instead of worrying about how to reach our customers. We would be very happy to be able to simply focus on creating the best image editor for the Mac."

"......we won’t need to spend time and energy developing our own update systems, Web store shelves, licensing systems, anti-piracy measures, and other things like that. We are good at creating the best Mac apps – and should do only that.


Pixelmator
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