Today, Office 365 is available for the first time on the Mac App Store, making it easier than ever for Mac users to download Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and the whole suite of Microsoft’s popular apps. Users can also purchase a subscription for Office 365 from within the apps, so they can get up and running instantly.
Office 365 for Mac has been designed specifically to support features that are unique to the Mac experience — features like Dark Mode and Continuity Camera in macOS, as well as the MacBook Pro Touch Bar and the Mac’s industry-leading Trackpad.
I can’t help but wonder what Apple’s cut on Office is. 70/30? 85/15? It surely can’t be 100/0‽
John Gruber, on Daring Fireball:
One of the things I’m most looking forward to next month at WWDC is seeing this sort of treatment on the Mac App Store, too.
I’ll go with coy remark and put John’s comment down as one of the new “tentpole features” of macOS 10.14.
Dan Goodin, for Ars Technica:
The app is Calendar 2, a scheduling app that aims to include more features than the Calendar app that Apple bundles with macOS. In recent days, Calendar 2 developer Qbix endowed it with code that mines the digital coin known as Monero. The xmr-stack miner isn’t supposed to run unless users specifically approve it in a dialog that says the mining will be in exchange for turning on a set of premium features. If users approve the arrangement, the miner will then run. Users can bypass this default action by selecting an option to keep the premium features turned off or to pay a fee to turn on the premium features.
I believe Apple is currently not commenting on the issue until they establish a policy — they jumped the gun often enough in the past few years. Ultimately, these will probably get banned, since they degrade the iOS and Mac experience, which is what Apple cares about — I’d be surprised if they didn’t. There will be a handful of users who knowingly accept this sort of “subscription”, but most will think the app is running their battery and complain. Oh, and then there’s the matter of Apple’s 30% cut…
From Information Architects’ blog:
No matter how good your product is, you need to be found. We send all our traffic to the stores. In return, we get higher sales and higher rankings. Recently, some of the numbers left us guessing. The more traffic we get the higher the sales. But, somehow, our ranking suffers.
This insightful post from iA details surprising behaviour from the App Store algorithms. They also mention skipping the Windows Store for their Writer début on Windows 10, which I’m guessing signifies that they’re considering leaving the Mac App Store. While developers have no such choice in terms of iOS apps, I’ve been recently reconsidering my stance that this is a good thing. Perhaps the option to install apps directly from trustworthy developers would be a net win, even at the risk of less security for less tech-savvy users…
Mark Gurman, writing for Bloomberg:
The Mac App Store is a ghost town of limited selection and rarely updated programs. Now Apple plans to change that by giving people a way to use a single set of apps that work equally well across its family of devices: iPhones, iPads and Macs.
Starting as early as next year, software developers will be able to design a single application that works with a touchscreen or mouse and trackpad depending on whether it’s running on the iPhone and iPad operating system or on Mac hardware, according to people familiar with the matter.
If this is true, I’m guessing the road will be rocky for developers, but the benefit for users could be huge, especially those that use the same apps on both iOS and macOS, relying on iCloud or other services for the syncing of data. I do wonder how this will influence pricing, however.
Paul Kafasis, on Rogue Amoeba’s blog:
I certainly won’t state that every developer will have this same success if they remove a product from the Mac App Store and distribute it exclusively through their own site. Your mileage will undoubtedly vary.
In our case, however, it’s clear that we were serving Apple, rather than Apple serving us. By removing Piezo from the Mac App Store, we stopped paying a commission to Apple for the many customers who had found Rogue Amoeba on their own. Better still, we were able to improve the quality of the product while simplifying our work considerably. Ultimately, that alone was enough to convince us that leaving the Mac App Store was the right move. The subsequent revenue increase we’ve seen is merely a nice bonus.
Paul’s whole analysis is worth taking a look at — the results surprised me. Personally, I theoretically prefer purchasing through the Mac App Store, mostly due to the fact, that if I ever need to reinstall or re-download a program, I just pull up the Mac App Store list and click one button. No need to register, no need to find my registration details. Having said that, I actually purchase software directly from developers if possible, because I know that they earn more this way, at no any real cost to me, and I also usually get more timely updates.
Most of the new software that is submitted to the Mac App Store is garbage — I don’t remember when I last found something of true value from an unknown developer that I don’t follow. I can’t help but wonder when it will be forsaken by developers completely.
What I came up with is a Python script called ipic, which I’ve put in a GitHub repository. It will search the iTunes, App, or Mac App Stores for images associated with albums, movies, TV shows, books, or apps and display what it finds as a set of thumbnail images in your browser. Each thumbnail is a link to a full-sized version, 512×512 pixels for apps, 600×600 for everything else.
Also, make sure to check this out, if you’d prefer find the images via a webpage.
Apart from the best apps and games for every platform, Apple also published a list of the runner-up apps and games of the year. The list contains a few excellent pieces of software, some of which I use, including Fantastical, Reeder 3, Ulysses, and many others.
Continue reading →
Today, we’re announcing an important change in how you receive updates to Sketch. After much thought, and with a heavy heart, we’re moving Sketch away from the Mac App Store.
I’m sad to see this happen more and more often. Ultimately, the Mac App Store will be full of the leftover “fart” apps, which have no value whatsoever. This should be a concern for Apple, because of the negative picture this paints for new Mac users who are visiting the Mac App Store for the first time. I hope something changes before it’s too late, if it isn’t already.
The Mac App Store is supposed to make things easier, but it’s also a single point of failure. Not only is it neglected, but sometimes even the existing functionality stops working. Mac OS X 10.9 introduced a code signing bug that prevented me from submitting updates for several months. In June 2015, there was a month-long iTunes Connect bug that prevented my uploaded build from entering the review queue. And I currently have a bug fix update that Apple has been reviewing for 33 days (with 8 days of waiting before that). When I inquired about the status, Apple told me that everything was normal and that I should just keep waiting. In short, the system is broken on multiple levels, and there is no evidence to suggest that things will get better.
I’ve always been a big fan of the Mac App Store as a user—it just makes things so easy—but what Michael mentions is completely unacceptable. It has been getting worse and worse over the past two years or so, and today I will actually actively spend time looking if an app is also available straight from the developer. The purchase procedure is usually much more irritating, I have to store the license information in 1Password, but ultimately it’s been worth it thus far.
Make sure to read the comments below Michael’s post too.