Apple has recently decreed that there will be no demos allowed in the Mac App Store. No trials, no lite versions and no shareware apps. Each and every app submitted and available on the Mac App Store will be a for sale, full version. Developers are encouraged to offer demos and trials on their own sites, however.
This is awesome. I’ve always disliked the lack of any sort of connection between me and the companies whose products I purchase online. The transaction feels extremely impersonal when handled through a middle man (think Amazon) and the ONLY time I head to the developer’s website is when something goes wrong. That’s not the best way to start off a working relationship. But this new way is and I love it, for a few reasons:
1. Developers will have readily available beta testers for new apps
Once I like an app from a company, I’m far more likely to buy another. If they have beta or even alpha versions of their apps available, I’m very willing to test, troubleshoot and promote them. Because these pre-release versions are on their site, this helps them gain exposure.
2. Companies should own their traffic
Apple’s App Stores are great for buying stuff, but they’re really only a go-between for developers. Too often a highly-rated app takes off and iTunes or whatever gets all the traffic. Having only the pay version available via Apple will ensure potential customers will visit developer websites.
3. This will encourage developers to actually update their sites
I see a lot of developers with great apps and horrible or seldom updated websites. Having to host demos on their own sites will hopefully encourage them to keep their sites fresh.
4. We’ll get better apps
If only finished, for-pay apps are available on the Mac App Store, I bet we’ll get better apps, but not just in the sense that they’ll work well. Now that all developers are on even footing, the independent guys will pay more attention to presentation and the big guys to customer service. Hopefully.
5. I hate seeing expiring demos on pay sites
This may just be me, but when I shop for anything, I’m always looking for the full version. I want the developer to be so damn confident in his or her creation that they have no problem charging whatever they think their app is worth. 37signals is great at this.
Are you excited for the Mac App Store? Not? Let us know!