Why Make Mac Apps?

Why would anyone want to make Mac apps? Apple sells way more iPhones than Macs. Why not go where the people are and just develop iOS apps?

But there are valid reasons, especially business reasons, to make Mac apps.

  • You don’t have to pay an annual fee to Apple.
  • You can distribute apps from your website.
  • You can make what you want.
  • Mac users buy apps.
  • Less competition.

Not Paying Apple’s Annual Fee

Have you ever wanted to make an iOS app for your personal use? You have to join Apple’s paid developer program, pay Apple $99(US) each year and put the app on the App Store. The only alternatives are to jailbreak your iOS device or reinstall the app every week with a fresh provisioning profile.

You can make a Mac app for your personal use without paying Apple every year. Download Xcode, create a Cocoa application project, develop the project, and run it on your Mac.

Distributing Outside the App Store

Suppose you want to start a business selling software. If you want to sell iOS apps, you have to pay the annual fee, get your app approved by Apple, and have Apple take 30 percent of each sale.

To distribute and sell a Mac app, all you need is a website and a payment processor, such as Paddle or FastSpring. Upload your app to your website and create an account with a payment processor. Payment processors usually take around 10 percent of each sale. With a Mac app you can keep 20 percent more of each sale.

Make What You Want

You don’t need Apple’s permission to distribute Mac apps. If you want the freedom to make the apps you want, make Mac apps instead of iOS apps.

Mac Users Buy Apps

Mobile users want apps to be free or cost a few dollars at most. That’s a hard way to sustain a business.

Mac users are willing to pay more for software, especially if it’s an app they use to get work done. It’s going to be easier to get a few thousand people to pay $50(US) for a Mac app than to get tens of thousands of people to buy an iOS app at any price.

Less Competition

Apple sells way more iPhones and iPads than Macs. But there are also lots more iOS developers and iOS apps than Mac apps. Good luck getting someone to stumble upon your app by browsing the App Store.

Apple sells millions of Macs each year. Presumably some of these people are also buying software for their Macs. A market with millions of potential customers and relatively few competitors is easier to reach.

Want to Learn About Making Mac Apps?

I’m writing a book on Mac development.