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The Mac App Store’s missing apps

I noticed an interesting thing about the Mac App Store: many of the best apps are not available through it, especially free ones. While it’s only been a few days, I would have expected more developers to submit their apps. From my quick perusal, it seems to be dominated by expensive or new software. To test the Mac App Store’s selection of already-established software, I decided to see which of the apps from my list of essential Mac software were available (this was done by searching the title of each app). The results of what’s available are not good for the App Store (I’ve included Bodega for comparison):

Plex
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: Yes

Notational Velocity
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: Yes

Quick Search Box
Apple App Store: No (alternative Alfred is available, however)
Bodega: No

Picasa
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

Hugin
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

Bean
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

Skim
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

Sparrow
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

Transmission
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: Yes

HandBrake
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

Google Chrome
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

LibreOffice
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

Flickr Uploadr
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

Backblaze
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

iStat Menus
Apple App Store: No (MiStat instead)
Bodega: Yes

Jumpcut
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

CapSee
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

HyperDock
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

MenuBar Countdown
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

The Unarchiver
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

Apps in the Mac App Store: 0 
Apps not in the Mac App Store: 20 
Apps in Bodega: 4 
Apps not in Bodega: 16

How does the Mac App Store’s selection fare against another list of great Mac apps?

David Appleyard, “The Best Mac Software of 2010,” AppStorm.net (excluding duplicates):

Alfred
Apple App Store: Yes
Bodega: No

Transmit
Apple App Store: Yes
Bodega: No

Knapsack
Apple App Store: Yes
Bodega: No

Steam
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

Office 2011
Apple App Store: No (no surprise there)
Bodega: No

Arq
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

Soulver
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: Yes

Kaleidoscope
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

Alarms
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

MarsEdit
Apple App Store: Yes
Bodega: No

Firetask
Apple App Store: Yes
Bodega: No

Postbox
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: Yes

iLife ’11
Apple App Store: Yes (obviously)
Bodega: No (obviously)

Fake
Apple App Store: Yes
Bodega: Yes

Rocketbox
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

Courier
Apple App Store: Yes
Bodega: No

Cockpit
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: Yes

Permute
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: Yes

Eon
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

Billings Pro
Apple App Store: Only Billings, not Billings Pro
Bodega: Yes (both)

Watts
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: Yes

1Password
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: Yes

Nottingham
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

Dropbox
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

Reeder
Apple App Store: No
Bodega: No

Apps in the Mac App Store: 8 
Apps not in the Mac App Store: 17 
Apps in Bodega: 8 
Apps not in Bodega: 17

Totals from these two lists:
Total Apps in the Mac App Store: 8 
Total Apps not in the Mac App Store: 37 
Total Apps in Bodega: 12 
Total Apps not in Bodega: 33

This doesn’t look good for the Mac App Store (or Bodega, for that matter). Many of these apps would be (or perhaps have already been) rejected, many are still in beta, and there are various other reasons why some of them would not be allowed in the Mac App Store, or why they have not been submitted (like no longer being developed, or ideological objections). But plenty of them seem like they would be right at home. The Mac App Store aspires to one of the best sources of great Mac software, and with so many essential pieces missing, it seems hard for it to accomplish that.1

Obviously, it will take time for the Mac App Store to fill up with apps, but I would have expected more already-available apps to be submitted to the app store. After all, the developers lose nothing, and it’s an excellent way to gain exposure. There will always be apps that are not available through the Mac App Store, but it’s worrying when that includes every single app I rely on, and the majority of others’ recommended essentials. We’ll see if this problem recedes as Apple further attempts to establish the Mac App Store as the definitive source of Mac software.


  1. It’s interesting to look at my expectations for the Mac App Store from back in October:

    The Mac App Store won’t host every great Mac app, but if it aspires to be not the only source but merely one of the best, it should provide a great central source for reliable and consistent Mac software — for many people, the only source needed. And for the rest of us, a place to look with a certain level of quality guaranteed, but not a substitute for the traditional channels of software discovery and distribution that exist already.

    I don’t think this has been accomplished — currently, I don’t think the Mac App Store is one of the best sources for Mac software, nor does it provides most of the software mainstream audiences need (as evidenced by the lack of so many great apps). “All the best free (and even open source) apps will likely be included,” I predicted. Instead, I think established free software is is a category in which the Mac App Store performs poorly (for now, at least). ↩

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