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Mac App Store Holiday News: Store Freeze, No Demos Likely

Apple (APPL) publishers are hopeful that the Mac App Store will launch on December 13, right in the middle of the holiday shopping frenzy. Unfortunately, signs point to it not happening until right after Christmas, and some of Apple's decisions, from temporarily shutting down the store to limiting app choices, will even make developers lose money.

According to Kurt Hider of the blog AppleTell, Apple told developers to have their Mac apps ready as early as today, December 6th. Having reportedly missed that date, Apple is now aiming for next Monday, December 13th. Hider says this info comes from an inside source at Apple.

It makes perfect sense for Apple to take advantage of holiday shopping.

The problem is that Apple's actual prep for the store isn't going to be happening until the last week of December. Over the weekend the developer at Crazy Mike's Apps shared an email from Apple saying the App Store will shut down from December 23rd through December 28th for maintenance.

There are two big points to this Apple email:

  • Apps will not be accepted or updated during the week-long hiatus
  • Changing the app price during the hiatus will make the app unavailable until after the hiatus
In other words, the whole app store will be frozen during the crucial last minute shopping days. It's easy to assume that Apple would not hurt or block potential sales unless it had to do so, and, considering the company has never put a freeze on the store, the move has to be about integrating the new Mac App Store. While this launch still is ahead of Apple's expected Q1 schedule, the store freeze has a long-term benefit with awful timing.

Even less forgivable is Apple squashing all demos and lite versions of apps on the Mac. Apple says that the publisher website, not the Mac App Store, is the best way to deliver demos, and everything on the store has to be a complete product. The issue here is, as Apple Insider notes, the demo system is exactly what made the mobile app store work. Consumers will be expecting a home version of the popular Apple App Store, looking for quick, easy access to lite versions of content.

Between the delayed launch, lack of demos, and expected holiday freeze, it's doubtful Apple app developers are expecting a Merry Christmas this year.

Photo courtesy of stevensnodgrass // CC 2.0

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