The purpose of the soon-to-launch Mac App Store is to sell (desktop) apps. Some developers and very smart pundit types are concerned that Apple’s strict Mac App Store review guidelines could keep many great pieces of software out.
My best guess, though, is that Apple will welcome most of the software you know and love into the Mac App Store with open arms. The company isn’t looking to make the Mac Crap Store. And it surely doesn’t want to alienate the many great developers making awesome, beloved Mac software already.
I agree with many criticisms about the currently-published Mac App Store policies. The ban on any beta, demo, or trial software is somewhat troubling. But I suspect some developers will surely make free demo versions of their software available as direct downloads from their websites, with links to buy directly from the developer, or from the App Store, within the app. That’s not an ideal solution, and folks who shop only in the App Store might never discover the free trial versions hosted elsewhere. But I bet that those particular buyers weren’t in the market for such software, anyway. Still, I remain disappointed that Apple hasn’t figured out a solution for the original iOS App Store that empowers developers to let potential customers try free or demo versions of their apps. The overabundance of “Lite” apps in the App Store today is annoying, and developers and customers alike deserve better.
I’m far less concerned — admittedly, perhaps naively — about currently-published restrictions on apps that violate Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines, or that duplicate well-trodden areas already covered in the store. Multiple folks have pointed out that Apple Design Award winners, and Apple’s own software, could be banned for HIG violations. And there are many FTP, Twitter, and text editing clients available for the Mac today.
Apple’s intent isn’t to block any of those great apps from the Mac App Store.
My hunch is that, instead, the company’s erring by preferring to enforce its rules selectively, rather than get denigrated later for enforcing secret ones. That is, by banning HIG-ignoring apps, Apple can effectively block ugly-ass software from the Mac App Store by pointing to the rule. If a slew of developers release 99¢ desktop fart apps, Apple can start blocking those, too on the duplicate functionality technicality.
The Mac App Store is a clean slate. Apple felt its way along, learning as it went, with the original App Store. As I read the rules for the new Mac-focused one, the company’s aiming to avoid a lot more junk this time around. But there’s no way Apple blocks brilliantly creative, well-designed apps from the store.