While the Mac has its own App Store, it is not as popular as the iOS App Store, due to the fact that Mac users may install software from third-party sources.
And, while some developers place their programs in the App Store, Apple’s platform occasionally disappoints them.
This time, the Kaleidoscope app’s makers submitted a letter to Apple protesting about App Store bundles and the absence of paid app updates.
If you’re unfamiliar with Kaleidoscope, it’s a popular macOS application that has complex features for comparing folders and files.
Letter Opener just bought the app and has pledged to updating Kaleidoscope significantly to make it more current and useful.
Kaleidoscope 3 was launched in October of last year with a redesigned interface, dark mode, native support for M1 Macs, and more.
Due to the work required to keep the software updated, the team opted to charge for the upgrade. While managing this procedure through the company’s website was straightforward, the App Store version of Kaleidoscope complicated matters for developers.
The App Store’s ‘pitfalls’
A significant issue is that the App Store has never permitted paid app upgrades, which are usual when software receives a major update.
Although the developer can distribute the upgrade as a new app, everyone who has the previous version must purchase the new one at full price, as there is no option to offer current customers a discounted price.
As Kaleidoscope’s creators highlighted, App Bundles appeared to be a “possible solution” to this issue.
Developers can offer bundles of two or more apps on the App Store for a reduced price using this functionality, which was launched in 2014. Additionally, if you already own one of the bundle’s applications, the price will be reduced.
Unfortunately for Letter Opener, it was too late to recognize that App Bundles had more problems than positives. For example, if a user switches the nation associated with their Apple ID, the bundle pricing reduction is lost.
Simultaneously, developers have “very restricted price options” when establishing an App Store bundle, which means they cannot charge their clients precisely what they want.
However, this is not all. The upgrade fee varies for each client since it is determined by how much the user previously paid for a particular software. If the app was purchased as part of a promotional deal, the upgrade package will be more expensive.
Additionally, Apple demands that all programs included in the bundle be available for purchase individually on the App Store, which means that they cannot just cease offering Kaleidoscope 2 to new customers.
Is there a way out?
There isn’t one at the moment. Apple now allows developers to delist an application, which removes it from the App Store unless a direct link to it is provided. However, the bundle still says that it has two programs, even if only one is visible to the user — adding to the confusion.
The Letter Opener team has sent many complaints to Apple requesting changes in this area, but Apple has supplied no details beyond requesting further information from developers.