November 3, 2010: Apple prepares to launch the Mac App Store, publicly accepting app submissions from registered developers — and kicking off a gold rush among coders.
After witnessing the enormous sums of money raked in by early entrants in the iOS App Store, developers flood Apple with new Mac apps.
Here comes the Mac App Store
Apple introduced the Mac App Store at its October 2010 “Back to the Mac” event, giving an onstage demo of how the online store would work. The Mac App Store opened for business in January 2011, a couple months after developers began submitting their wares for Apple’s approval.
Developers were also given the chance to beta test the OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.6 software update, which eventually landed in the Mac App Store.
One early bone of contention with developers revolved around Apple’s refusal to let them offer demo versions of apps. While demos did not fly in the iOS App Store, they were an established part of the PC software industry.
Devs argued that demo versions were vital, given the higher prices that Mac apps would demand. Apple didn’t back down on demos, but did offer in-app purchases as a compromise.
The Mac App Store transforms software
For a variety of reasons, Mac apps never spawned zeitgeist-capturing hits like Flappy Bird or Pokémon Go. As a result, many view the Mac App Store as something of an afterthought when talking about Apple’s various revenue streams.
In fact, the Mac App Store signaled a fundamental change in the history of software. When the Mac App Store launched, it transformed life for a number of developers.
Pixelmator, for instance, grossed $1 million in just its first 20 days. Another developer, who got publicity from Apple, went from selling seven copies of its app per day to 1,500.
Not everyone has been so positive about the the Mac App Store’s impact on developers. However, it clearly showed that the days were numbered for boxed software. Digital distribution was taking over.
Apple had already been speeding up the process with its hardware. Beginning with the MacBook Air in 2008, Apple began eliminating disc drives from its computers.