Why I’m Buying All My Apps Again

I feel sorry for anyone who likes The Beatles. Partly it’s because the music is a little samey, but mostly it’s because I know what they keep in their attic.

Having bought the back catalogue on iTunes, fans of Ringo & Co. can now open a museum of dead formats to house the vinyl, cassette, and CD editions of the albums they faithfully repurchased, give them all away, or dump the merry lot in their lofts.

If the Mac App Store teaches us one thing, it’s how horrible it must be to be a Beatles fan. Visiting the Store for the first time with a clean Mac, my cursor hovers above the buy button as I consider repurchasing software I already own. Software like Panic’s Coda, which I use every day, and Aperture 3, which I use on days I want to tweak the joy from my photographs.

A Pointless Upgrade?

I’ve bought Adobe software for years, of course, so I know what it’s like to be locked into a hopeless upgrade cycle. Each update brings the same sorry feeling, like watching your wallet trapped in a washing machine. I’ve grown used to that. But I’ve never considered repurchasing identical software.

I waver a few minutes more. Is buying an app you already own silly? Should I wait until the next major update? Somehow, I can’t resist. I do what true fans do: I buy Coda for the second time. The app’s icon jumps to my dock and begins downloading. I feel better already, and it doesn’t take long for me to learn why.

A Brave New Format

I’m not just buying the same software again; I’m buying the same software in a brave new format. The Mac App Store’s been live for less than a month, but I already see my old Mac apps the same way I see my CD collection: as members of a dying format.

With Phil Libin of Evernote predicting that 95% of Mac Apps will be distributed through the App Store in the near future, it’s tough to see the old way as anything but the dead way. Maybe that’s not so bad.

Reaping the Benefits

New formats bring new benefits. Benefits like ease of discovery, lower prices, streamlined purchasing, centralised updates, the death of the serial number, and rapid repeat downloading. Benefits like actively supporting software development, leaving glowing reviews, and proving to developers that their apps mean something to you.

The current downsides — paying for apps again, questions over upgrade paths, exposure to currency fluctuation, forcing free trials onto developer websites, encouraging ‘lite’ versions, and restrictions on what can appear in the Store — are not small trade-offs. Young platforms are never perfect, but I think the Mac App Store is worth celebrating and supporting even today.

Recycle Your Old Software

Which leaves one question: what to do with my old Coda licence? An idea blossoms. What if I could donate it to a friend? An email to the developers at Panic brings great news: they’re happy to transfer unused licences. You just need to send them your friend’s name and email address.

I text an uncle who’s learning HTML. ‘Just made my first purchase in the Mac App Store,’ I write. ‘Fancy my old Coda licence?’ He phones me to say that he’d love it. I hear something in the background. ‘What’s that racket?’ I ask.

‘What racket?’ he says. ‘Oh! You mean the music! It’s “I should have known better,”’ he says. ‘By The Beatles.’


Add Yours
  • I enjoy readings articles by a sociopath.

  • “I feel sorry for anyone who likes The Beatles. Partly it’s because the music is a little samey…”

    I hope this is sarcasm because otherwise I have to ask: are you crazy? Do you know nothing about music? This is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard… I sputter and spit at the thought of having to rebut this, but… but… good lord, what a ridiculous thing to say.

    If you can’t see/hear the amazing evolution of these guys from “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to Sgt. Peppers till the end of their career… to paraphrase Jerry Cantrell from Alice In Chains said: they’re the alpha and the omega of rock.

    People will be listening to the Beatles 200 years from now… if there are still people.

    • I know. It killed the article for me, too. The Beatles invented Pop and later re-invented Rock. Their music is listened to by several generations worth of fans. That doesn’t happen with just any band.

      • It was obviously tongue-in-cheek quip thrown into the intro for a laugh. The entire article was written in a slightly sardonic tone. Even if he really doesn’t like the Beatles, who cares?

    • And yet Paul McCartney is utterly talentless…

      I’d probably like the Beatles if it wasn’t for that useless sod.

  • Are you retarded? Is this post a joke? You bought the same app twice?

    • Well said!

    • I buy stuff to support devs all the time!
      Instapaper, etc
      Besides, they’ll give you Perks, Like Pixelmator: Free 2.0 Update

  • “… Benefits like ease of discovery…”

    It’s true that currently its pretty easy to discover new software in the Mac App Store. However, when the store starts sporting 400,000+ applications like the iOS App Store, finding applications will be a true pain in the butt!

    Just try to find an app in the iOS App Store when all you know is what it looks like and maybe what category it belongs in. It’s near to impossible.

    • Not to talk about the “back button”. Takes you way back not just back to where you were but back to side #1…

      • No kidding, that “little” problem is probably the most annoying bug in the Mac App Store period!

  • “Each update brings the same sorry feeling, like watching your wallet trapped in a washing machine.”

    I really liked the way you put this. The feeling is very clear ^^

  • How much of a fanboy are you? (rhetorical question)
    The AppStore is terrible, another step in the apple microsystem to control everything we do.
    Fukc the AppStore, I rather get my apps directly from they’re onw websites where i can download a demo first,myers it and pay a cheaper price, where no restriction are applied to the code and functionality that is dictated by apple regime on the AppStore

  • I’ll gladly take your old software licenses off your hands.

  • “I feel sorry for anyone who likes The Beatles. Partly it’s because the music is a little samey, but mostly it’s because I know what they keep in their attic.”…….sigh……really?…… i have nothing else to say

    • thats where i stopped reading the post. I don’t know how they find these writers for sites like, gizmodo, or techcrunch, these guys have have no idea what they are talking about!

      • You should keep reading. It gets a lot worse than that :)

  • This post has forever lost me as a reader of this site, lame on so many levels.

  • Just shows Apples “stuff you” mentality on every level. Sorry, you can’t transfer your licenses, buy everything again… just give us some of the money.

    I’ve found some sweet deals on the app store, but i’m still primarily going straight to the developers.

  • What an insightful and inspired article. Kind of out-of-place in a publication like this but it’s interesting to read these kind of stuff once in a while. More power!

  • I’ll go with Mr. Michael Young up there too: “I’ll gladly take your old software licenses off your hands.” Hahaha

  • Anybody who isn’t supporting the Apple AppStore doesn’t know how to use a real computer. The Apple AppStore is great for supporting all these useless mac developers and get them to make software that people want like my angry birds game. I’m repurchasing all my software through the Apple AppStore and can’t wait till my gmail gets added there too.

  • I’m sure purists who love cassettes & vinyl cringe at the thought of Beatles MP3’s. Jeeze, don’t buy the new iTunes catalog and enjoy those pops n’ cracks as you carefully put the needle down on the plastic Frisbee. I’ll eat my rice crispies and then listen to my new MP3’s anywhere I please.

    The same is true with the App store. I sense people are pissed off about a brilliant distribution model / smart business idea and it chaps their ass Apple keeps hitting a home runs. How can Jobs get it so right all the time? He’s an brilliant marketeer that has an amazing sense of consumer desire. But let’s face it, he surrounds himself with great people who can execute. Amazing team they’ve put together, I applaud the collective bunch, not just the man.

    The day Apple ban’s installing non-app store purchased software is when people should get up in arms, until then enjoy the freedom of choice. As an Apple user from back in the Apple II era, I’m enjoying the $&%$ out of the renewed vigor of Apple, exposure of the products and the embrace of the software community. Fun times to be an Apple user! Cheer up App store haters, you can always buy some stock and get your piece of the pie.

    • You should not that Apple doesn’t sell MP3s. They use the AAC (Advanced Audio Codec) that the MPEG folks intended to become the successor to MP3. It produces higher quality audio at smaller files, with much less artifacts. Unfortunately, the public consciousness equates digital music to the MP3 format…

      And the Beatles rock. However, I’m not going to buy their catalog on iTunes when I already have it all on CD, which is easily rippable. It’s nice that it’s available, though.

      • You’re abosutely correct about AAC, I had thought about that after I wrote my blurb. To be fair, my point was made, For justification I use simple context like MP3 as a generic term, much like Levis (which is a brand, not a type of clothes), Kleenex (tissue) etc.

        As far as the Beatles, choice is where it’s at. So many formats, and so much happiness. It’s like a buffet dinner… they usually have a little something for everyone. Not everyone likes buffets though, so at some point you have to say suck-it, eat elsewhere you a$$hat. If the food aint good enough then you’re too hard to please. Move along and let there be another open booth at the buffet for someone else to enjoy.

        Speaking of buffet enjoyment, I usually like the surf n’ turf. I would equate this comparison to The Yellow Submarine. Now if I’m enjoying a yummy chocolate cake, then twist and shout would be a good compaison. Jello, that’s a stretch… i’m thinking Maxwells hammer. Sitting down and enjoying the meal would be Come together. The bill would be Taxman.

        I hope to god your not actually reading this entire post cause I’m flying on Ambien right now cause i can’t sleep. I feel one step away from writing my own beatles song – night tripper.

        Fly away little birdies and enjoy your apps and songs. It’s a wonderful world we live in. Glad I’m sharing it with you. Just don’t pee on my cornflakes. If you do, it’s alright because I’m going to be eating starbucks oatmeal, with the three toppings. Delicious and nutritious and combined with a nice cuppa Joe I’m a happy man. Speaking of happy, I hope your happy that you’ve taken the time to read my post. I’m sure it’ll put a smile on someones face. Prograbably someone stoned out of their mind, but it’s better than the mr. grouchy pants who “hates the evil app store”. Wow dude, thats just so wrong on so many levels. FIrst hate is a strong word. Not completly appropriate to use in this context. I can understand frustrated, worried about the ramifications, jealous of Apples audacity to attempt something like this. How could they take 30% from these hard working developers. I’m in the process of writing my first app and I’m more than happy with the concept of giving apple 30% to share / distribute my work. If you were here I’d give you 30% of an ambien too. This stuff rocks!

        By by blackbirds

  • OS X and the apps that you can have for it are awesome. But I’m not dumb to purchase the same application AGAIN…. for what? For close to nothing! (unless it’s a major UPGRADE)

    Some people are just too.. nevermind.

  • If some of you could take a breath and dust your yourself down a second, you might notice an article making excellent points about supporting developers and ‘old versus new’ platforms. There’s even a handy list of pros and cons.

    You might also notice a great idea that a relatively major developer has bought into which allows you to share old licenses with friends and family.

    • Yup, this is how I read it too. I think it is a nice way to support developers, even if I don’t like the idea that some of this money is going to Apple.

      Although there’s no way I’d buy a $50+ soft twice ^^ Pricing is a very important factor too.

    • One more issue is that video games usually are sreious anyway with the main focus on finding out rather than leisure. Although, it has an entertainment feature to keep your young ones engaged, every game is usually designed to focus on a specific group of skills or programs, such as numbers or technology. Thanks for your publication.

  • If anyone wants to donate me a coda licence :) great idea

  • This is the most ridiculous article i’ve read this year. I am a Mac user and now i totally understand why people call us dumb.
    You my friend are dumb, no doubt about it. The appstore is pretty much “evil” on so many levels that i don’t want to waste my energy talking about them.
    As for you, i would really love to have you as a customer in my shop :)

    • Dude you just bummed me out with all this negativity. Dumb mac users. The app store is “evil”. This is just a sad thought people feel this way.

      Man this is wrong on so many levels. Ok I have a solution, so please hear me out. Do this, take a look in the mirror. I hope your happy with yourself. If not say some affirmations and get happy. Then pamper yourself and clean up. Try and do something good today, go find someone who needs help and just reach out. It’s amazing how good you’ll feel. Make sure to breath the fresh air, look around and marvel at the amazing buildings, landscapes, automobiles etc. they were all designed & built by other human beings. Amazing stuff… just blows me away.

      When you get home, you’ve had a productive day. You’re feeling good. Grab a beer, sit down watch a little TV and get acquainted with whats going on out there in the news. It’s always good to know whats going on around you. When it’s time head to your office, backpack or whatever houses your computer. Make sure to look at the marvelous creativity and thought that went into your machine. Open the lid or turn it on… you get that whimsicle mac chime that someone had fun putting together. A beautiful OS pops up, it just looks gorgeous. You’ve already spent time cleaning your desktop, so you’re admiring a very nice desktop pictures from InterfaceLIft. You then pull up your browser of choice (nice to have choice right?). You surf on over to macappstorm and scroll through some of the new commentary. Wonderful opinions ranging all over the place. It’s nice to see individuals who don’t write exactly what you’re in tune with, so it helps offer alternate views… which you may find right or wrong. But hey that’s cool man… we’re talking opinions / choice/ intiuations. These people are sharing their thoughts with you. Wow, that is so cool. and they let you have the chance to write back in a response and add to the mojo of the thread. Tell us what you think of this, what was your expeirence on that… blah blah blah. You get the point, it’s a friendly place to get info and dialog with other enthusiasts. Finally you decide to see what someone has written about your comments from earlier. And there you read it… yep, you got it right someone says “YOUR THE DUMB %&^% user who is EVIL”. sell your computer moron, give someone else the ability to enjoy whats out there. I don’t want my bandwidth being eaten up by people like you that cant post anything positive. Move along!

      • Mate, please don’t waste your time again with this sort of bullcrap essay.

      • Wow, what a load. I had to skip over it because it was so boring. Guess you go on and on about things. Have to start putting a word count max on the comments, Appstorm.

        The MAS stinks. De-installed it from my Mac. Will not buy apps from developers who don’t provide a demo. I have over 300 apps with all the promos and bundles there have been so no rush to get more. Updated most I use before the MAS came out. Good luck finding anything you need on the MAS. It’ll be like the 100 fart apps for iphone. There will be indie developers not taking this from Apple and those are the ones I’ll buy from. No % for Apple. No 1984 for me from the Apple Reich.

  • Totally brainwashed…

    The MAS in its current form is a good idea done wrong. Buying the same App a second time with no benefits at all is insane.

  • People screaming about the Beatles comment aside…

    I would be 100% sold on the Mac App Store if only it picked up what you have licences for already.

    I’m sure the brains at Apple could figure it out for all developers because it works for their own apps (iWork 09 appeared as installed for me, matching the licensed version I already had).

    If that issue was solved I would be a happy chappy.
    Not expecting it to be solved, of course.

  • Not everyone likes The Beatles. Some say they’re genius, some say they’re some dirty hippies.

    The idea to buy it AGAIN is to:

    – Support developers (I usually make donations)
    – Enter a new platform. In that case because it’s simpler to keep updates not having to store serial numbers, (for now) finding/searching apps, reading the reviews before purchasing…

    Not everyone likes the Mac App Store. I think it’s great for users and good for SOME developers. Paying the 30% Apple’s cut doesn’t worth for some.

    What I dislike? Some developers have some very neat websites. You can see information about the app, screenshots, screencast, etc. I can open many tabs while “studying” the app. I just don’t like browsing the app store.

  • I support the developers buying their apps, but if they decide to sell in a new channel, I’m not going to buy the same app one more time, it doesn’t make sense to me.

    I bought a MAS-only app and probably will buy more in the future, but right now I feel that the store is too new and there are still a couple of problems. Panic’s idea is ok, and I think Realmac Software was giving a refund for Courier, but if the system was perfect, they wouldn’t need to come up with a plan to keep happy their old customers.

  • Wow, what a prick.

  • Wow. I know it’s the internet, but what a vitriolic load of half-baked bad-attitude comments.

    Seems to be two camps of wrong-side-of-bed commenters:
    Comment Type #1: “I wouldn’t never consider buying a small app license again to move my app to the App Store jerk!”
    Fine. But this writer obviously did. Move on.

    Comment Type #2: “But the Beatles rock obviously, you idiot!!!”
    Besides your obvious lack of a funny-bone, I have a newsflash: The Beatles don’t give a crap what you think of their music, their all either dead or billionaires (or both).

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post! Short, personal, and with a little humour.
    Let’s face it, you don’t get too many smiles from an Appstorm post.
    Keep up the good, if unrewarding, work Nick.

    • Thanks Juz. Glad you enjoyed it :-)

      I think that Nick’s opinion in this post is fantastic. It hits home how when a developer makes a really perfect piece of software, you’re happy to purchase it again just to support them.

      It’s not about loving or hating the Mac App Store, as many readers might take it, but about supporting developers that you really love.

    • Likewise I’m surprised at the overwhelming negative attitude of some readers! I personally enjoyed reading this post and it’s great to have something on here with some humour and personality!

  • So…lets get this straight.

    You’re re-purchasing the same software you already own just so you can use the Mac App Store?

    It doesn’t come with any additional functionality; you still get the same updates that everybody else did outside of the app store (most of my Apple software has automatic updates when you start it up).

    Not only that, but you take a swipe at The Beatles fan-base because they have done as you are suggesting and re-bought the same thing they already own in another format. (…and whether you like The Beatles or not is a moot point; most critics agree that they did change music significantly, liked or disliked.)

    Who are you and why do you contradict yourself so much?

    Re-purchasing music is because you want a clean, re-mastered, and re-formatted music file. Most of the Apple iTunes songs were made from golden masters; so the few I have re-purchased have actually had as-good or better sound quality then the few CD’s I have.

    Most of my music have not re-bought. I purchased a turn table / recording unit (it does 45’s too!) that allows me to record my LP’s (that’s those shiny vinyl discs to you youngsters) to a computer and then re-format them into any type of file I want.

    Maybe you should read what you write before posting.

  • This post just reflects the state of this site…..a dying site (for me at least).
    First it was the biased articles/reviews, then the “old crappy” 50 Apps to blow your mind type of article, and now this gem. Time to finally do a clean on my safari bookmarks.

  • I can’t begin to count the problems with this article. It’s just depressing someone could write such nonsense.

  • So, wait wait. You bought Coda a second time because of the Mac App Store? Why not downloading it from the Coda website and use your old licence? Are you joking?! You should have to because when not there could be a lack of thinking.

  • Only app I bought is pixelmator because it ill have a 2.0 upgrade and be Apps tore exclusive. I will buy apps from the developers them selves unless (unless they are app store exclusive). That being said, I tried a few of the free ones, they are not to bad. I just don’t like that to be updatable and seen, they need to be in the application folder, not a sub folder in there.

  • How did this get published?

  • This is a ridiculous article. As others have pointed out, most if not all non-Mac App Store apps have built-in update functionality, and with the exception of certain apps (like Sophiestication’s Coversutra, which is very cheap), existing apps continue to be updated and supported outside of the App Store. Just rebuying your apps from the App Store to see updates from there is just silly and pointless. But hey, if you want to waste your money, or simply donate money to the developers and to Apple, then be my guest.

  • I think this article would have been more successful if you focused more on the benefits of supporting new technology. Instead, it comes off more as a really bad marketing ploy from Apple to try and get people to purchase software that they already own, and which already functions just fine.

    The App Store is a GREAT addition to the operating system – but yeah… you’re not really selling it well with this article.

  • Controversy! Should have left The Beatles off the article. Everyone knows you should never discuss religion, politics, or The Beatles.

    Yes, the Mac App Store forces developers to give Apple part of their hard-earned money, but it also gives them a platform to share their apps with little effort, instead of setting up their own sale system that won’t give the app as much attention as the App Store does, and that will probably be a headache to manage.

    Also, I don’t get why everybody is mad at the author for trying to support developers. I have bought premium versions of free apps, that include stuff I’ll never use, just to support the developer, and because I really like their service. Like Evernote. I don’t use the extra storage space or the secure login feature that the premium gives, I don’t even care about the ads; but I still bought the premium version of it because I use it a lot and I would like to support the people who makes it.

  • If the author truly wanted to support the developers he would’ve purchased another license directly from the developer and not give Apple 30%.

    • Well, that would kill the incentive of getting a shiny new app from a great looking unified popular service, wouldn’t it?

  • I have to say, you have a point!
    Acutally I think you are totally righ.

  • Unfortunately some people, like myself, cannot afford re-buying applications. Even Espresso was an investment and a half for me.

    For the majority, I doubt anyone will buy their applications again.

  • I get the whole thing about loving the developers who make the SW you use but c’mon… you don’t pay your mortgage twice just out of love to the bank which gave you one.

    AppStore is just fine but this post doesn’t sell it well.

  • This is an intriguing post. When I look at Coda in the Mac App Store, it says “Installed” already though… is that not the case for everyone else?

    • Yes, that’s what happened in my case as well, although I bought Coda from the developer very close to the appstore, so could it be a minor version difference?

      • I meant close to the appstore launch date of course :)

    • From Panic’s site:

      “The Mac App Store may show software bought from us previously as “Installed”, even though they’re two different licenses. You will not get Mac App Store auto-updates unless you purchase from the Mac App Store. To re-enable the “Purchase” button in the Mac App Store, just drag the app to the trash and empty your trash. Your preferences/sites will not be affected.”


  • Nice blog!

  • If you think every Beatles’ song sounds ‘samey’, your ears are clearly not functioning.

  • Nice that this post is still getting comments. I think the main issue here is that the writer bought an app he already owned through the app store. I would agree with so many others here is saying that it is not the smartest thing to spend your money one. If you want to support developers, that’s great. If you want to use the app store, that’s great, too. But why buy the same software? You do realize that Panic makes some pretty darn good apps besides Coda, right? And aside from that, there are PLENTY of other great apps in the app store you could have bought for the same amount of money. If you don’t like what everyone else here is saying, then I wonder what your grandfather or grandmother would say?
    I know what mine told me whenever I bought something I didn’t need.

  • I could almost get the idea behind buying into the Mac App Store (Almost!) if it weren’t for some of the limitations that are placed on the apps sold there. Take for instance Postbox. It recently became available on the App Store and that version can not support any add-ons, a major selling point for that particular piece of software. Postbox says on their site you can buy through the App Store then download the add-on supporting version from their site but 1) thats a pretty cumbersome solution and 2) thay removes you from the App Store ecosystem you just bought into. Other applications are running into the problem of not being able to ship on the App Store because they store some information outside of the application folder. Granted, most of these cases are few and far between, but until a better solution is introduced for these and the problem of re-buying apps to take part in the store, I’ll only be using the App Store for new purchases, major updates and after being sure the version I’m buying isn’t missing features I can get from the same software through a different channel.

  • This simple system contrasted with the other scripts in use at the time, such as Cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs, which employed many complex characters!!

  • just wanted to say i really liked this post especially the part about crappy beatles.

  • Now if it was about like 5 or 10 apps it could be even fine. What about if you have to purchase again 50? I’m trying hard but can’t find any reason to do that.

  • With all due respect to those who lost relatives/friends in Guyana, this is just another acolyte who will drink the Apple Kool-Aid any time Apple asks for it. Moreover, he already has. Or is being paid to spread this foolishness and make Apple more bucks. The world is full of fools just waiting to get strung along by something like the MAS. I won’t be one. And I’m “unfollowing” Macappstorm now!

  • hi there why buying apps on the internet showed a prototype 500 terabyte flash ipod nano 127,000,000 or 127 million app capacity i wiched the 500 terabyte ipod nano gets released soon please thats why i am heavy on the app store got 200 apps 200 songs 4 movies my dsi ran out of storage 4 gb sd card wii has 1,300 blocks left the 4 gb sd card 28,000 blocks if nintendo 3ds e-shop opens more vertual console i speend lots of my hard earned $ too psp go used 4 gb out of 16 gb but psp go is no go sony no longer selling psp go soo that means psp 2 or ngp next generation portable wich the internet specs looks awlsoume psp 2 ngp sony says 2012 going use ps3 componits in there portable quad core cpu quad core gpu has 128 or 512 mb ram 1 gb ddr5 ram and 16 gb flash drive uses a card game like 3ds 2 5 inch screens one front side too play the back screen is your 5 inch multi-touch controler

  • hi there for buying a 256 gb ssd macbook air too with the new 10.7 ox coming out soon i can have a large app and itunes and ibook storage

  • Hey there this is a good post. I’m going to e mail this to my pals. I stumbled on this while exploring on google I’ll be sure to come back. thanks for sharing.