There are a number of reasons for Sketch leaving the Mac App Store—many of which in isolation wouldn’t cause us huge concern. However as with all gripes, when compounded they make it hard to justify staying: App Review continues to take at least a week, there are technical limitations imposed by the Mac App Store guidelines (sandboxing and so on) that limit some of the features we want to bring to Sketch, and upgrade pricing remains unavailable.
To be clear: the Mac App Store is not valueless. Last year at Çingleton, Rich Siegel of Bare Bones Software mentioned some really great bundled features: no credit card processing or security to worry about, no licensing, and no hosting fees. That should be an enticing proposition, but it’s spoiled for a lot of developers by the restrictions listed by Bohemian Coding.
But these are not new concerns, and not isolated to Sketch, or graphics software in general. They impact high-quality apps the most, and have eroded the store to a selection of Apple’s software plus a lot of crappy iOS app ports (and Tweetbot). When the Mac App Store launched five years ago, Ryan Block was skeptical of its potential:
Maybe part of the problem is that these app stores themselves no longer seem like the radical innovation they were only a couple years ago, having since become an expected, table-stakes means of distributing software to users’ devices. Is there a huge amount of potential here? Definitely, and if I were the guys at Panic or Rogue Amoeba, I’d be pretty stoked after this week. But as long as some of the most interesting consumer apps are (for one reason or another) kept out, the Mac App Store will be neither the best nor the only place for consumers to get software and developers to sell it.
The Mac App Store is rotting, at least for productivity software. There’s no other way to put it. If this hasn’t set off alarm bells within Apple, something is very wrong.
Something has been wrong for years with the Mac App Store.