When was the last time you bought anything in the Mac App Store? Was it longer than 6 months ago? It has been for me. In your recent recollection you may be confused, thinking you had paid for something, when it was a free download, or an upgrade. Did you used to download from the Mac App Store more often? I did. When it came out I thought it was the bees knees. I thought that finally I could do away with entering serial numbers, and holding on to digital receipts, and software updates that you had to go get manually — five miles uphill, in the snow, both ways. What a relief it was to have it. Indeed, initially developers seemed to be relieved as well. It solved many things for them. The Mac App Store was our last, best hope for peace.
Then Apple just decided to bulldoze over fucking all of it. It served their purposes to enforce a sandboxing requirement. Then, as time went on, it became increasingly clear that wasn’t going to work so they just kept extending the deadline. And then they extended it again. And again. Then they said, “this far, no further!” and everyone bailed on their fucking shit. I mean, seriously, how many apps have bailed to go back to the shitty way things were before? How many stories have there been? SPOILER ALERT: A lot.
I open the Mac App Store today because there’s a red badge-thingy on it. “Update this number of things!” It cries out, in its circle of crimson blood. “Sacrifice your time to me!” It commands. The majority of things I’m even downloading updates for are Apple’s OS X fixes. Of the last 13 (ominous number choice) updates it displays, just five aren’t OS X updates. Shouldn’t I be using this store so often that I barely see Apple listed anywhere at all? Shouldn’t this be a profitable system for developers to get people in to buy things in volume since they can no longer get me to buy expensive things? Wasn’t that the whole point of this system?
Indeed, even Apple has applications in the store that predate the store. They are still selling software that they made over 4 years ago. Aperture — the dead horse I like to beat every now and again — was released February 9, 2010. I gladly bought it on DVD, which was SHIPPED to me. For several of Apple’s apps, Aperture included, Apple just authorized it to appear in the Mac App Store, eventually, for updates. That was the grand solution they had for their pro developers. Just suck people in to a nightmare world of incrementally bug-fixed software for the low-low price of “we’ll never do anything good with this again because this doesn’t even make business sense for us and we made it.”
Currently, on the “Featured” pane of the store, there is a game that was released last calendar year for iPhone, a RSS reader that is the editor’s choice, an application that lets you bookmark things on the internet, a game that looks like it would never make it on the Xbox or PlayStation stores, and an application for planning what you need to do in your day. I do not want to belittle those applications any further than that. They are fine at what they do, and they are very useful to people (with the exception of the one game, that’s a head scratcher). Where are the big apps? Surely, OmniFocus will let you do things, and Reeder will let you catch up on your subscription services, but where is the BIG stuff? And of those things that have some use to you, how much time would you say you use them for? Hmm? I certainly don’t have much practical need for anything they are featuring, but that might just be me. Even contrasting the apps on the Mac with the apps for the iPhone or iPad, there’s no comparison that there is an overall dip in desirability between these apps.
In the Best New Apps, the best app is Pixelmator, which isn’t really new, it’s an updated version of Pixelmator. I love Pixelmator, and I love the updated Pixelmator. There are things for timers, home inventory, notes, little things you need a small solution for. All the big software you need, all the powerful stuff, isn’t here. Nowhere to be found if you search hither and yon.
The Mac App Store offers very little promise to developers, which in turn, offers very little promise to me. I’m still using web downloads, serial numbers, and — for fuck’s sake — Creative Cloud. I hate that. Words could not possibly do justice to the caustic bile that wells up from within my blackened soul when I think of Adobe’s Creative Cloud and it’s update for it’s update process. It spews forth excrement in to the world, and I gladly sup it, because I need it.
I hope that after Apple’s WWDC event next week they release an “App Store”.