Report: Apple’s Mac App Store Only Adds 15 New Apps Every Month

Posted on October 31, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Apple with 10 Comments

Apple’s Mac sales have been on the rise since the company kicked off its transition to Apple Silicon two years ago. Mac sales were up 25.4% year-over-year in the past quarter, bringing $11.5 billion in revenues to the company. However, Apple’s Mac App Store doesn’t seem to enjoy the same level of momentum.

According to the latest data from analytics company AppFigures (via Forbes), Apple’s Mac App Store only gains a meager 15 new apps per month on average. That’s not exactly great for a store that’s been around since January 2011, when Steve Jobs was still the CEO of Apple.

“If you’re developing for the Mac this might be shocking to you – The Mac App Store sees just 15 new apps every month on average. That’s what the App Store, which sees about 1,000 new apps every day, adds in 20 minutes,” wrote Ariel Michaeli, CEO of AppFigures.

According to the company’s data, the most popular app category on the Mac App Store is Utilities with 5.5K apps. It’s followed by games (5K), Productivity, Education, and Photo & Video.

Yes, seeing Games rank so high is surprising considering Macs have never been great for gaming, though most of the games on the Mac App Store as casual mobile-like games. You can find some AAA games such as the Tomb Raider trilogy or Resident Evil: Village, the latter being the first big game running natively on Apple Silicon Macs. But there’s still a long way to go before macOS can be considered a serious gaming platform.

“I don’t think Apple has a plan for the Mac App Store, but I still think there is some potential as soon as Apple starts pushing iOS apps on Apple Silicone,” Michaeli added. It’s indeed possible to download a selection of iPhone and iPad apps on the Mac App Store on Apple Silicon Macs, but these apps usually provide a poor experience.

Apple also launched “Project Catalyst” APIs to help developers port their iPad apps on the Mac, but this has yet to really benefit the Mac App Store. Microsoft went that route before with universal (UWP) apps, and it didn’t work so well either.

When Steve Jobs introduced the Mac App Store at Apple’s Back to the Mac event in Fall 2010, he emphasized that it would be the best place to discover apps. Other features like one-click downloads, automatic installation and app updates would also provide an iPhone-like experience to Mac users. What’s not to like about that, right?

Well, just like on the iOS App Store, there’s a 70/30 revenue split on the Mac App Store. Obviously, Mac developers never really had the incentive to put their apps on the Mac App Store while they could keep distributing them on their own and keep all the revenue for themselves.

Microsoft finally realized that as well with its Microsoft Store. Last year, the company allowed developers to use third-party payment systems in their Microsoft Store apps and keep 100% of the revenue. The Microsoft Store also added support for unpackaged Win32 apps that use their own update mechanisms instead of Microsoft’s.

Since these changes, we’ve already seen Mozilla Firefox, Discord, the Epic Games Store, Adobe Express, Open Office, Canva, and more appear on the Microsoft Store. “In the first quarter of 2022 alone, we saw more than a 50% increase in new desktop apps and games coming to Microsoft Store compared to the same period last year,” said Giorgio Sardo, general manager, Microsoft Store back in May.

Apple isn’t likely to follow that route, and maybe it doesn’t really need to. iPhone sales accounted for 47.3% of Apple’s revenue in the past quarter, while Apple’s services business also brought $19.2 billion in revenues. There’s much more pressure on Apple to open its iOS App Store, which remains the only way to download and purchase apps on iPhones and iPads.

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