Independent developers see opportunity in Mac App Store


Apple Inc.’s  app store for Mac computer applications, unveiled last week,  could spur new apps from local independent software developers.

The new Mac store opens with more than 1,000 apps in 21 categories, including games, business productivity and education, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Mac App Store builds on Apple’s popular mobile app store, which includes more than 300,000 app titles, the newspaper  said.  But, as the Wall Street Journal reported in a separate story last month, making money on apps remains a challenge. Most apps are sold for no more than a few dollars, so sales volume is critical, yet competition is intensifying. Still, the new category of Mac apps could provide a new revenue stream for developers.

A local developer’s reaction

Jeb Ory, CEO, of the App House, on Apple's new Mac App Store
Jeb Ory, CEO of the App House, discusses the new Mac App Store

SmallBusinessChicago asked Jeb Ory, chief executive of The App House, a Chicago-based mobile software application development firm, to share his thoughts about prospects for Mac apps. The following is based on an email interview:

Q. What’s your impression of the concept of a store for Mac apps? Do you think it will stimulate new applications from independent developers, like Apple’s  mobile app store  has?

Ory:   We see the Mac Store as a disruptive force with respect to software distribution and marketing. This goes beyond porting iPhone and iPad apps to the Mac.   There’s going to be a dramatic increase in Mac software innovation, as independent developers can now feasibly reach roughly 20 million new customers.   The Mac App Store is going to do for independent software developers what iTunes did for independent musicians.

Q. Do you plan on creating Mac apps for your clients? Or will the  Mac Store  attract a totally different market from those who are looking for mobile apps?

Ory:   Some mobile apps simply don’t make sense on the Mac OS platform.   For example, one app we are developing, called DriveWise, is focused on tracking safe driving.   It’s not useful outside of a mobile device.   Our FanTaskIt task management system, however, will fit perfectly in the new Mac App Store. There’s overlap in the Mac and mobile marketplaces, and for apps that work equally well on both platforms, the opportunity is tremendous.

Q. Why do you think Apple is just launching the Mac app store now?

Ory:  Apple has known since the iTunes music store that it knows how to create and operate an effective marketplace.   It may be that they are just launching it now because Mac computers had existing marketplaces for software.   The Mac OS platform did not need such an app store in order to survive.   Mobile devices did.   Now that the store model is proven and refined, Apple is able to leverage its software store success in a new way to enhance an older platform.