Apple’s Mac App Store Lineup

As a consumer, when I’m given the choice between buying an app from the Mac App Store and buying it from a different point of sale, I will chose the Mac App Store every time.

The Mac App Store does present some disadvantages, such as the fact that critical updates won’t be pushed quite as quickly to me. However, it’s more than a worthwhile tradeoff for the exchange of having my licensing, updates, and installations all in one place. And these advantages are especially obvious when setting up a new computer or doing a clean install of your operating system.

When I first downloaded the developer preview of Lion a few months ago I was running it on an external drive. One of the first things I did was authenticate the Mac App Store with my Apple ID, and instantly I was able to download any and all of the apps which I had previously purchased.

It was a one-stop shop for updating my vanilla install of Lion into something a bit more useful.

A common sentiment we saw when the Mac App Store first launched was how nice and easy it would be for the non-nerdy user to buy and install apps. Not everyone is acquainted with how to handle .dmg files and where to move their application files to, and the Mac App Store does away with all friction involved in downloading, installing, and registering an application.

Now that the store has been around for a few months, it seems that even the nerdiest of us are happy to use the it as our preferred point of sale as well.

However, what strikes me today is not the ease of use and the convenience of the Mac App Store. Rather, it’s the pricing point of Apple’s software. With Final Cut Pro X hitting the Mac App Store today I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the store’s price points and offerings.

Apple currently has 13 applications for sale in the Mac App Store (and Lion on the way). With Final cut Pro X now added to the lineup, the apps now form an easily identifiable range of pricing categories as pointed out by Ryan Nielsen:

Classification Price Point
Consumer $15 or less
Productivity $20
Utility $50
Prosumer $80
Professional $300

The above pricing points are — especially in some cases — significantly more competitive than the traditional price points of Apple’s software and even software in general.

If you buy the iLife apps (iPhoto, iMovie, and Garage Band) from Apple’s website or one of their retail stores, then they sell as a package deal for $50 for a single-user license or $80 for a family license. In the Mac App Store, they are $15 each (thus: $45 for the suite) and you get “family licensing” by default.1 This effectively makes Apple’s Consumer-level apps 44% off if you buy them on the Mac App Store.

Same story with the iWork apps (Pages, Keynote, and Numbers): package deal on their website or retail stores for $80/$100 for single/family licensing respectively. But in the Mac App Store they are $20 each, or 40% discounted.

Aperture 3, which sells for $200 on Apple’s website, is $80 in the Mac App Store.

And today’s big story is Final Cut Pro X. Previous versions sold for $999. Now it sells for $300 and is only available in the Mac App Store.How long until all of Apple’s software is only available in the Mac App Store?

Another example of new software pricing is operating systems. Not only will Lion be the first release of a Macintosh operating system to be available only via download, it will also have a very amiable price: $30. Lion is arguably the most substantial update to OS X to date yet it is priced the same as Snow Leopard, a noteworthy but not quite as major of an OS release.

Through the Mac App Store, Apple is selling industry-standard professional applications for a few hundred dollars and operating systems for the price of a date at the movies.

  1. Technically, as most of you probably already know, you could buy a single-user copy of iLife, iWork, or even OS X and then install it on multiple computers. Because Apple doesn’t enforce single versus family licensing. However, it would seem that most Mac users were honest and still bought the proper licenses.
Apple’s Mac App Store Lineup