The App Store made buying software something normal people do again — but almost as quickly, it’s seemingly turned into a marketplace of free apps paid for by in-app purchases. Marco Arment of Instapaper fame has argued that “Paid-up-front iOS apps had a great run, but it’s over”, while Joe Cieplinski, the developer behind Teleprompt+, argues that “there is a whole world of untapped potential on the App Store for developers who can solve real problems for people who are happy to pay.” I’ve always sided with the latter argument that paid apps will never die, but it only takes a few minutes of browsing the App Store to see that freemium apps have seriously encroached on the domains previously held by paid apps.
Are paid apps dead, or not — and is this just about iOS, or is it the same on the Mac? To answer that, we’ve talked with Nik Fletcher, product manager at Realmac Software, about their team’s experiences with app pricing and sales on both the iOS and Mac App Store. Realmac has recently faced backlash on the iOS App Store over Clear+’s pricing, but at the same time decided not to run discounts on their pro Mac apps, so they have a unique perspective on both markets.
To them, there’s a bright future for carefully considered in-app purchases and paid pro software. Here’s the interview:
Flat design is all the rage these days, but back in 1984, flat was all there was. And back then, the Mac shipped with an acclaimed paint application: MacPaint. The legendary app showed the world that computers could, indeed, be the bicycle for the mind that Steve Jobs wanted so desperately.
Today’s TextEdit was the successor to Mac OS Classic’s SimpleEdit, but MacPaint never got a 21st century upgrade. That is, until now. Cloudpaint is a new web app that nearly perfectly replicates MacPaint in any modern browser — and it’s a ton of fun to play with. (more…)
In-App Purchases have earned quite the bad reputation since they were first introduced to the App Store with iOS 3 in 2009. Their addition to the Mac App Store was met with dread and foreboding that it’d spell the end of quality paid apps in the wake of freemium apps filled with ridiculous in-app purchases. That hasn’t happened on the Mac yet, but on iOS, it seems like the traditional paid market is eroded more and more every day by free apps with in-app purchases.
The bad reputation is undeserved, though. I’m as critical of apps with in-app purchases as anyone could be — their very presence on free apps makes me skip the app by default unless it looks very impressive otherwise. But they don’t have to be bad.
Right now, the Mac App Store has escaped the worst of the race to the bottom in app pricing, in large part thanks to the fact that Mac developers can still distribute free trials to their apps on their own sites. It’s on the iPhone and iPad that in-app purchases have taken over, with a vengeance. Smartphone apps, perhaps, aren’t the best thing to compare to Mac apps, but iPad apps surely are fairly easily to compare, since many people today use iPads as laptop replacements. If in-app purchases are to be the future of app sales — especially on the Mac — they’d better be done right, and the best iPad apps with in-app purchases today are the best examples of how in-app purchases can be done well.
Paid apps aren’t dead, but in-app purchases are still going to be a big part of the app discussion going forward. Here’s what they need to make them work in a way that’s equal to or better than the traditional paid app market.
Trey Ratcliff is one of the most respected people in professional photography today. He pioneered the use of HDR (high dynamic range) to capture scenes in a lifelike way; he also writes one of the most detailed and well-composed tutorials for HDR on the Internet. Ratcliff is also known for some other side projects, like Stuck On Earth, a previously iPad-only app for exploring the world through photographs.
You’ve got Pocket and Instapaper if you want to save articles to read offline, but what if you want to save videos to watch offline? After all, watching the YouTube and Vimeo videos you’ve planned to watch later is impossible when you’re offline, and terribly annoying if your internet connection is slow. That’s why you need a copy of VideoGet for Mac.
VideoGet for Mac lets you download videos from YouTube, Vimeo, and hundreds of other sites without any more effort than saving an article to your reading later service. Just copy the link to your video, add it to VideoGet, and select what format you want to save your video in. You’ll find detailed settings for your saved video format, resolution, and quality so you can save space on your Mac or watch videos on any device you want.
VideoGet’s a simple tool that makes it easy to watch your favorite online videos anytime, even if your internet connection is down. It’s built by the same team as Mac Product Key Finder, and is just as simple to use.
Give VideoGet for Mac a Try This Week!
Got some YouTube videos you want to watch offline on your Mac? Go download a free trial of VideoGet for Mac and see how easy it can be to save them to watch later. You can download 20 full videos for free with the trial version, then get your own copy for $24.95 to save as many videos as you want for offline viewing.
We’d like to say a special Thank you! to our weekly sponsors from September for sponsoring our site and for the great apps they make. If you would like to feature your app on our site with an advertisement, be sure to check out our available slots on BuySellAds or register for a weekly sponsorship for your app.
If you haven’t already checked out our the great apps that sponsored our site last month, be sure to check them out now!
4K Video Downloader is the simplest way to save videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and more to your Mac. Just copy the video’s link from your browser, paste it into 4K Video Downloader’s app, pick the quality and format you want to save, and start it downloading. Minutes later, you’ll have a full-quality copy of the video for your offline video viewing pleasure. It’s like Instapaper or Pocket for the videos you want to watch later.
Ready for a new Mac or a clean new install? That means you need all of your old software keys. But what if you’ve thrown away your disks, deleted old purchase emails, and lost your paper records? Mac Product Key Finder will scan your Mac for over 180 supported programs and recover your keys automatically. You can then copy the key to use wherever you need — to activate software on a new Mac, or to purchase an upgrade at upgrade pricing. Or, you can export a whole list of your product keys for your records, so you won’t have to go searching again next time.
iDraw is a feature-packed vector illustrations app that’s been on the Mac for years, but with its latest 2.3 upgrade it’s better than ever. In addition to its already great vector drawing tools, grid and alignment options, vector brushes, stylized text, and more, it now lets you import and export complete Photoshop files, including shape layers and layer styles. You’ll also find all new blend modes to use iDraw with your photos as well, and smart image masking to help you extract just what you want from an image. There’s even dimensioning tools to help you create scale diagrams in iDraw.
Most of us already keep own files synced in Dropbox, and use it to share folders with colleagues. So why not take advantage of your Dropbox space to share one-off files online, too? That’s exactly what ShareMate lets you do. It lets you upload any file to Dropbox for sharing in seconds by just right-clicking on the file and selecting the ShareMate option, or uploading it from the menubar app. Once it’s uploaded, you can copy a db.tt short URL to the file from ShareMate and share your file publicly or directly with a colleague.
Periscope Pro turns your Mac’s camera and microphone — or a remote camera you have attached to your Mac — into a surveillance system, letting your Mac keep tabs on your home or office while you’re away. It can continuously record, take pictures or short videos every so often so you can check on your house at intervals, or detect motion and start recording whenever there’s motion near your Mac. Then, every time it records a photo or video clip, it can upload it to Dropbox or save to the folder of your choice so you can see what’s going on at your house from anywhere.
And a special thanks to you, our Mac.AppStorm.net readers, for reading and sharing our articles. We couldn’t do it without you!
Amazon jumpstarted the eBook revolution with its Kindle devices and companion apps for every platform, and Apple’s kept up with the trend with its polished iBooks apps for iOS. The Mac has lagged behind mobile devices with eBooks reading, but there’s at least been the Kindle app and a number of half-way decent apps for DRM-free eBooks.
This year, though, that’s all changing. There’s the new Clearview that’s a very nice app for DRM-free eBooks, and Apple’s finally bringing iBooks to the Mac with OS X Mavericks. And for tech eBooks, the new Safari Flow web app makes it easier than ever to learn from eBooks without spending all day reading. It’s an exciting time for eBook fans.
That’s why we’re wondering how many eBooks you read per month. I tend to read at least 2 or so a month, more some months, but how about you? Leave your answer in the poll, then let us know if you’re excited about iBooks coming to the Mac this year in the comments below.
‘Tis the season for design-friendly web tools, with Google making a free Web Designer app and Hype 2 making it simpler than ever to create beautiful HTML5 animations. But several weeks ago, a preview of an app caught my eye with its attempts to make normal web design simple for anyone with an eye for design: Macaw.
Advertised as an app with the flexibility of an image editor but designed for making clean CSS and HTML code, Macaw looks like the web design tool we’ve all been waiting for. It’s the simplicity that tools like Frontpage advertised years ago, but with the clean, modern code that otherwise would take hours in a text editor. Pulling off such an auditions project, though, isn’t so simple, which is why they started a Kickstarter campaign yesterday to fund their efforts to make Macaw and bring it to the Mac and PC.
Adobe and Microsoft — along with Evernote, Wunderlist, and other web app companies — think the future of software is subscriptions. Apple seems to think the future is lower priced pro apps without upgrades on the App Store, and free bundled apps for everything else. Game developers think the future is free apps with in-app purchases. And traditional developers with paid apps and discounted upgrades are being pushed to the side.
Is paid indie software doomed, perhaps by the very App Store that pushed so many developers to prominence?