Yes, they afford some credibility, trust and security (even though evil devs are constantly pushing the envelope), but even simple mechanisms like search are fundamentally broken on Apple's stores.
And it's not just about devs gaming the keyword rankings (I see enough of that when my kids search for games). It's just hopeless.
So no wonder RogueAmoeba makes more money off the App Store. Even discounting other factors, their (rather specialized and very, very cool) apps are just easier to find via web search.
I've gotten to the point where I use the AppStore only in absence of alternatives.
If Apple wanted to get more into services, the AppStores would be an obvious and easy way to demonstrate their ability and willingness to provide, if not valuable, then at least usable services. And all they do is botch it.
A site that helps me (no affiliation whatsoever) that at least allows filtering based on release date and "star rating" is https://theappstore.org/
Maybe it's just me but I find it completely impossible to sift through it. The search is completely broken, there is no catalog worth going through. The only think worth looking at are the lists curated by Apple but then again usually I'm looking for something more specific.
In practice the only reliable way to find a good App, is going to be searching with Google, reading reviews outside of the App Store and eventually following a direct link to the App.
It's incomprehensible to me how anyone not just a normal customer would out of their own free will sift through this virtual garbage can. Many of the apps you'll see in search are so obviously scammy and questionable looking, you'll even get the disgust you'd get from sifting through actual garbage.
Most people can't really tell a quality app from something made in a batch — or they don't mind using a just-ok app.
This is how "normal customers" bought video games when the primary distribution channel was "a massive wall of games at Toys R' Us, sorted by title", and this is how they still buy video games in the world of Steam (which people also complain is used as a dumping ground). This is how "normal customers" rent movies (only a cinephile is sifting through the mountain of low quality titles to find the diamond in the rough); and this is even how most "normal customers" watch movies at the cinema despite the relative lack of selection: in practice people go to a theater quite rarely, and so rely on trailers seen before previous movies (which are a combination of recommendations from the theater and the production company as well as paid placements), ads on television, reviews in the Entertainment section of their local newspaper, and referrals from friends... this is why independent films flop even when they get wide distribution, as they don't do much marketing.
This is how "normal customers" buy food, and I don't just mean at restaurants (where the closest thing people have to search is Yelp, which is comically bad for most use cases--it doesn't even understand the concept "bar is open, but kitchen is closed"--and maintains the same fiction that averaging five star ratings has any meaning at all): my friends think I am extremely weird for occasionally spending multiple hours at a grocery store "browsing" to discover the moral equivalents of "new releases" and "older titles I might have missed". In fact, the only other people I know who do this are foodies and cooks: "normal customers" know what they want to buy and minimize their time at the store, and at best are persuaded by a "related product" while putting an item into their shopping cart, an "impulse buy" at the point of checkout, or something at the endcap showcases that are effectively just curated lists; I'd bet TV commercials and coupons dominate.
App developers find this surprising only because they care so much about apps and are so sure their app is so much better than all the other apps that they are totally shocked other people are not appaphiles and that there are not better tools to find their app. The "normal customer", though, finds this no more surprising than how difficult it is to find literally anything else they want to buy, and the really successful companies either came with knowledge of or take the time to learn about marketing in order to reach the "normal customer" (which includes stuff like "how to make an app "viral", but also is a lot of classic "get the word out" effort). Expecting the Apple App Store, or any any-store, to solve discoverability problems is naive: if people really believe this they should take their expertise and go revolutionize retail (though in practice tons of people think they can do this, and then try to do this by building a low quality app, adding to the noise ;P).
How do you evaluate your investment in that? (Just amusement is fine ;-)
I once bought every single kind of "alternative milk" (soy, rice, almond, cashew, etc.), trying multiple brands of each, in order to determine that the only one I like is Blue Diamond brand unsweetened almond milk. This was actually an insanely high-value investment, and one I've been able to occasionally give as recommendations to friends who were very happy.
But yeah; I mean, the only thing it has classically not been considered a "geeky" thing to actually spend hours looking for is clothing, and I'd argue that, minus "most people don't see my food choices but they do see my clothing choices (which is why clothing is a "normal" thing to care about), some of the effects are the same: you get some esoteric knowledge, you can occasionally impress someone you go on a date with, and it provides some level of variety to find and try new things.
1. Google what they want.
2. Download the first link they find.
3. If it's crap, they search again and download the second link they find. Or they just give up.
4. Repeat 3 until they find a decent app or they give up.
Most "normal customers" don't realize they can search through an app store specifically. I find that, even on mobile, they'll simply google to find something and often get confused when the app store or play store pops up.
Actually, a good start would be to have the "don't distribute an app that has the same feature as a preinstalled one" clause declared illegal.
I get people in my life to buy ios devices precisely because, even when they try, they are unable to install malware. That is not a feature any other OS has. Particularly the over-easy access to sideloading on android.
Just last month my MIL managed to get her bank account password stolen because she used it on her PC and installed who knows what from one of those fake Microsoft support pop-over ads. The solution is to only access bank accounts on ios.
It's really a major selling point of the devices.
IOS (and to a large extent, android) have genuinely found an OS paradigm that works for unsophisticated users and put more power and confidence in their hands. The appstore is a big part of that. The icon=app rule is another part, where removing an icon removes the app. Users have a much improved understanding of their phone's software on an iphone relative to a windows/osx PC.
That said, it also limits the more sophisticated user and puts more power into Apple/Google's hands than I'd like.
It's 10 years later now and it's time to fill in some of the holes. Allowing alternative appstores would be a good start and wouldn't affect most users who are happy with the app store as is. Removing anti-competitive curation rules and practices would be good too.
However, you could very well imagine apple creating a sort of "third party app store guidelines" that would make it compulsory for third party app store to check apps for security violations prior to publishing an app.
Apple would then move one layer up. Instead of directly enforcing and distributing apps, it would enforce store basic rules, and leave some rules to others. Pretty much like what you'd do if you were to create a franchise.
There are intermediate grounds between "we control everything, and are the only one allowed to push apps" to "we allow everyone to install anything they want".
The idea is just to open this part of the market (app distribution) to competition.
There are absolutely tradeoffs of buying into a walled garden. I personally have mixed feelings. An open ecosystem sounds nice in ways. For example, on my mac, I would be very frustrated if I were locked into only being able to buy software from Apple's App Store. It would be a deal-breaker. However, I've never really found myself frustrated with the iPhone app ecosystem. However, I've definitely been saved hours and hours of family IT support by family members being on iOS.
It doesn't even require prohibiting independent app stores, all it requires is that adding one prompt for a separate password which you don't give to your MIL.
How do you install independent app stores to begin with? Do you install them with he App Store? That would put them at a disadvantage similar to how Microsoft put other Browsers at a disadvantage with IE. Do you provide a choice then when you setup the phone?
Purely from an anti-trust perspective I can see why the idea of independent app stores might seem appealing at first glance. Thinking about this just for a moment brings up so many questions though and I don't see how you can possibly come up with satisfying answers that lead to good security and a good user experience.
Then don't use that one. You don't have to use any but Apple's if you don't want to.
> How do you install independent app stores to begin with? Do you install them with he App Store? That would put them at a disadvantage similar to how Microsoft put other Browsers at a disadvantage with IE.
As opposed to the status quo?
She should be thankful, not so long ago people would loose their life being stupid and those genes wouldn't pass on. I guess idiocracy is inevitable.
(I also agree that walled gardens are bad for freedom.)
Gardens (safe curated places) are nice things to have but if you erect walls preventing us from leaving they become abusive. Rent-seeking is one of those abuses. Let us have many gardens and let them compete for our presence by the value they can bring.
Abject failure for 20+ years is no reason to believe this won't work any day now.
It's an audio recorder which can record audio from other apps. The App Store introduced a sandbox which prevented the app from working, but they got around that by simply not updating the app and thus retaining the ability to work outside the sandbox. However, other apps introduced changes which broke Piezo, and which needed a fix which couldn't be distributed via App Store, finally killing that methods of distribution.
Plus there's the whole 'brew update && brew upgrade && brew cleanup && brew doctor' factor, that gives me - rightly or wrongly so - the impression that I have far more control over the software on my system than that granted me by the graces of Apple.
Clearly, Apple has dropped the ball on making the App Store compelling. It's sad that a classic indie Mac app brand like Rogue Amoeba only offers one app (Fission) for sale in it.
“Direct sales cost us just a few percent, so each direct sale of Piezo earns almost $5 more than a sale through the Mac App Store.”
That “few percent” takes into account the cost of our site and our downloads, as well as handling payment.
As far as acknowledging what Apple provides, it's simply not worth very much. The cost of infrastructure is incredibly low (nowhere near the 30% they take), and none of what you list is difficult to manage. Further, any developer who's looking to earn money is going to want to replicate most of that anyway. You should have a website you control to provide information and promote the product (see the many comments about Googling for apps, rather than using the App Store). You also ought to provide customer support for the product itself - Apple certainly doesn't help you there. Once you've got a web site, adding direct downloads is easy. Payment processing and license keys are certainly the most difficult pieces, but anyone making a Mac app can manage them as well. It can all be set up in a manner of days, if not hours. I wouldn't tell a developer that they must steer clear of the Mac App Store, but I absolutely would say they're doing themselves (and their customers) a disservice if they don't also sell their product directly.
re Payments: Have you ever seen how easy Stripe is?
I haven't used Stripe (but have heard good things), but it's still not free. With the App store you don't necessarily need a webpage and all of the costs associated with designing, deploying, and maintaining.
The App Store is also good if you want to sell app subscriptions. That too would seem complicated to do on your own.
i hear they're rewriting the entire app store backend, ditching web objects. but i'm having a hard time seeing them rebooting the bloody thing in some serious manner to adress the issues.
$200b to spend and just a few things don't get better. it's sad.
Much better to have community-curation than corporate-curation in my opinion.