The difference between the Mac OS and iOS App Stores

My Close Personal Friend™ Daniel Jalkut is the developer who makes MarsEdit, the slightly-better-than-wonderful MacOS blogging tool.

He’s released an “extremely minimal” update to the app, as in: 3.2.1 is now 3.2.2. Apple has rejected the update from the App Store for “alleged violations of their policies that [DJ] can’t yet make sense of.”

But while he sorts that out…everyone can download 3.2.2 directly from

And that’s the difference between the two App Stores. When an Mac OS app gets rejected, it’s annoying, yes, and I can only imagine the Epcot of Delight that Daniel’s going to go experience as he tries to figure out what exactly Apple thinks is wrong with MarsEdit 3.2.2. But in the meantime, the gears of progress keep spinning, and he retains control over his destiny.

If MarsEdit were an iOS app, however, he’d be screwed. An iPhone or an iPad developer can’t make an end-run around the App Store. It’s bad enough when users can’t get their hands on software update that the developer feels is necessary. But when Apple says NO SOUP FOR YOU! to a developer who’s sunk thousands of dollars of real money, to say nothing about hundreds or thousands of man-hours of work, into creating what was hopefully going to become a profit-making app…yowtch. I think that experience would make this developer impatient for a day when one could make a nice living writing apps for Android devices.

Red Sweater Blog – MarsEdit 3.2.2.

7 thoughts on “The difference between the Mac OS and iOS App Stores

  1. Clint

    Good call, Andy!

    MarsEdit is awesome, the Mac App Store is awesome, and independent Mac developers who have their own independent way to get apps to customers are even slightly more awesome.

  2. Johan

    Great point, but going forward, I bet Apple will open up iOS to become more like OS X: there’ll be the “proper” way of getting apps, and then there’ll be the not recommended “other” way. Much like Android does; it doesn’t endorse sideloading but with the flip of a switch, it’s done.

    Why? Well, obviously, iOS (and the iPhone, not only the iPad) is becoming more and more like a computer OS. The way we perceive phones has changed. But, more pragmatically, because putting that little switch in, which 90% of the customers wouldn’t activate anyway, would effectively end ALL criticism about the “closeness” of the software, AND most importantly, make Apple immune to lawsuits about unfair competition. Which is a growing legal problem for them now.

    Not saying this will happen soon, but if Apple is unable to settle the next big lawsuit, this would be the easiest solution. And as they get bigger, and as they gain market share – not in contrast to someone else, mind you, but in contrast to the general population – this will be inevitable.

  3. Alex O

    Yet Apple is doing exactly the opposite. With the introduction of the App Store for OS X, they’ve made their model more like iOS. The question is, will OS X become closed the way iOS is?

  4. VaughnSC

    I was just grumbling to myself about this: often a 0.0.1 is a fix, not some ‘convenience’ the user can wait for or live without.

    Even if you don’t get an inscrutable ‘feedback’ notice (Apple’s sobriquet for REJECTED) the process can take weeks, which galls small developers who pride themselves on responsiveness, the ‘being able to fix on first notice-or-inkling that something can be improved.’

    Summarized, this ‘level playing field’ is good to a certain extent, but nullifies a historical advantage of using smaller/one-man-shop software.

  5. mrdowntown

    Every developer know where the line in the sand is with Apple. Some choose to ignore it.

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