Many people have discovered that the Mac App Store has some shortcomings right now. Big ones too, such as:
- No support for trials
- No upgrades
- No in-app purchases (especially a big deal for developers)
In-app purchases are a big deal, and here’s why:
Developers need the ability to offer “Pro” features to their customers that want to be able to purchase more features. Take the fantastic productivity Alfred as an example. They offer an add-on to their app called the “Powerpack.” For a small fee you can purchase this and add some really useful features.
There’s only one major problem, and it’s a big one. If you installed the Alfred core from the Mac App Store (which is free by the way), there’s absolutely no way to upgrade and buy the Powerpack from within the app itself. This is due to the fact that Apple doesn’t (at least not yet) support in-app purchases. If you want the Powerpack, you need to uninstall the version you downloaded from the Mac App store and download a different version directly from the developers website. Bummer!
Clearly we can see why this is such a disaster for customers, as many will be confused, but also developers who will have to spend more time explaining to people who things are the way they are.
It’s my belief that Apple will add support for in-app purchases at some point. It can’t come soon enough though.
Andrew Pepperrell, the creator of Alfred chimes in on how this is a challenge for developers. I definitely recommend you read the entire piece.