Mac App Store Thoughts

I haven’t had a chance to download the OS X update that enables the Mac App Store, but I wanted to jot down some meta-commentary.

The iOS app store has benefitted from low prices. Developers tried pricing early apps close to $10, but average prices quickly fell to a few bucks.

iOS developers gnashed their teeth about the race to the bottom in app pricing, but a few things have helped make up for that. For one thing, low app prices likely encourage disproportionately greater sales. People are more willing to try multiple apps in search of the one that best fills their needs. Also, small purchases slip into personal budgets more easily than larger purchases. Combine this with the fact that Apple has sold in excess of 50 million iOS devices in the past year, and you get a decent opportunity.

I had my doubts that things could play out on the Mac in the same way, but I just learned that my impressions of the relative sizes of the OS X and iOS installed base was way off. There are roughly as many Macs as iOS devices, which suggests to me that the same dynamics could take hold.

I think this is going to be great for Macintosh hardware sales. Particularly since you get the same sort of multi-system licensing that iOS apps have. I’m really curious to see if it will be possible to buy a single license that works across both iOS and MacOS X in the future (and no, I’m not talking about a universal binary).

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