Developer yanks hit app Sketch from Apple’s moribund Mac App Store

Developer Bohemian Coding has pulled their hit app “Sketch” from Apple’s moribund Mac App Store.

“[This is a] deeply troubling indictment of the Mac App Store,” John Gruber writes for Daring Fireball. “Sketch isn’t the first big name professional app to be pulled from the Mac App Store (Bare Bones Software’s BBEdit, Panic’s Coda, Quicken, just to name a few). But Sketch is the poster child for Mac App Store era professional Mac software. It’s the sort of app Apple might demo in a keynote — and the winner of an Apple Design Award.”

“The Mac App Store is rotting, at least for productivity software,” Gruber writes. “There’s no other way to put it. If this hasn’t set off alarm bells within Apple, something is very wrong.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yup. It’s inexplicable. Apple treats the Mac App Store like it’s their red-headed stepchild.

Every single Mac developer on the planet who’s in the Mac App Store should get together and pull their apps on a single day. We’d love to see the reaction to that, especially Apple’s as they turn a collective groggy eye to the corpse they’ve wrought through sheer neglect.

Sometimes Apple, the world’s most profitable and most valuable company, still operates as if they only have five guys from NeXT working around the clock trying to do all the work on a shoestring budget. — MacDailyNews Take, November 23, 2015

We barely use the thing. The problem is that it’s an app, among many apps, and we only ever really use it when it pops up after we hit “Software Update” in the Apple Menu. Sometimes, rarely, we launch it to see what’s on there, but it seems, uh… less than vibrant.

For longtime Mac users, the Mac App Store is an afterthought, if it’s thought of at all. It’s like Dashboard. We know, vaguely, that it’s there, but, seriously, who really gives a shit? (Frequent users of Dashboard, please, no need to chime in. Just substitute Dashboard with something you never use on the Mac. You know, like Launchpad.)

New Mac users, do you use the Mac App Store with any regularity? —  — MacDailyNews Take, May 7, 2015

How Apple could fix their flawed Mac App Store – November 27, 2015
Apple’s Mac App Store is a ghost town – May 7, 2015
Dev pulls MplayerX from Mac App Store over sandboxing; Latest of many Mac developers to abandon Apple app distribution – August 21, 2012


  1. Meanwhile, Pixelmator is doing JUUUUST fine. I’m also making good use of Autodesk Draw. I’m sure Sketch is good for someone, I just don’t need another vector app. Especially one that isn’t sandboxed. Why would a DRAWING app need to avoid a sandbox, can someone say here?

    1. Same here. I guess this the real problem is that Apple won’t let them get at customers details. A couple of things they could fix: allow for upgrades, and allow developers the opportunity to respond to negative comments.

      Still a couple or tool developers leave and the whole thing is rotting? Exaggerate much? And MDN wants developers to pull their apps as a protest. Well I might need some of those apps so in response I’m going to block ads on MDN for a week or two, just as countermeasure.

        1. The biggest problem is a non-problem. That is, the Developers cannot get detailed information on the people that bought the software. They WANT that data, and Apple won’t give it to them, so they are leaving. If a Dev becomes too dependent on App Store sales, and can’t get at the customer data, they are in big trouble – in their eyes. For me, I love the fact my information is tucked away. The more privacy from everyone the better. Especially those taking money from me, or using me to sell.

      1. I don’t think you guys get it. The problem is that developers are delayed in pushing out updates (including bug fixes) due to Apples vetting process. Developers want to ship the best product that they can. Imagine how frustrating it is to learn of of a bug, fix it in one day, and then have to wait more than 2 months for Apple to approve the update on the store. Apple isn’t devoting enough human resources to properly manage the App Store, and the developers of the products sold through this mismanaged outlet are fed up. This is clearly an Apple failure for not scaling properly with the demands of the Store.

        1. The example they mentioned, that it takes a week for updates to be vetted and appear on the store…. is the same generally for iOS. Even if you follow iOS devs like Mojang, they submit it to the store and, about a week or so (maybe more) later, it appears. So I don’t get why they say that 6 days is painful.

          If it’s 2 months, REALLY two months, it’s probably because previously they tried to use some undocumented API and now Apple has to go over their code more carefully.

          1. The obvious difference is that iOS devs have *no choice* but to release their apps that way, unless they want to go the jailbreak route (which is a very small market).

            Mac devs can always ship independently, and their distribution method might not skim as much as Apple does.

    2. I recently pulled out flagship Mac productivity software from the Mac App Store. Sales were abysmal, and by the numbers from what I read, we were half way in terms of sales volume regarding making the top 100. It’s a really slow burn in there, and Apple takes 30%! No more…

    3. Apple is losing it big time. Too few people trying to do too much new stuff, all the while abandoning the very people who saved it last time it imploded. The loss of professional apps and professional grade hardware and the continuous dumbing down of everything that used to be great is very sad to watch. Then there are the endless quality control issues, tax avoidance issues, price gouging issues and Cook’s focus on dubious social issues completely unrelated to the running of the company.

      Apple needs to be broken up. Apple Computer and Apple Gadgets would be a good start.

  2. All of the Apple store platforms are in serious need of a complete rethinking, they all feel so kludgy and are just not designed for today’s needs. iTunes is a total mess, the iBooks Store is a disaster (Kindle is much, much better), not to mention the App Store. All of them are terrible for exploring and discovery.

    This whole realm is clearly an area that Apple desperately needs help with, it’s so unlike the rest of the company. Tim Cook needs to find a Steve Jobs-genius to run the i-Stores, or it may lead to Apple losing relevance.

  3. This is a problem with many Apple departments seemingly – not enough manpower though they have oodles of money to give everything they do first rate attention. The Mac Pro comes to mind in the languishing dept., as does understanding not all pro needs are the same (so please give us our tower back).

  4. There are some things that may not be great about the App Stores, but on the whole I love it. The restrictions that many people lament are a godsend to me, and allow me to buy apps from companies I would never otherwise trust. I won’t be buying Sketch outside the App Stores, sorry. But I came across it, and bought it, because of the App Store. So, sure, I’d be fine with upgrade pricing. But please, Apple, don’t let the App Stores have access to my computer! I want a safe place to buy untrusted software!

  5. I could not agree more… I have said it before here that Apple’s support staff could not care less, their new releases have been less than what we have grown to expect (Apple Music interface and music selection, New AppleTv lack of remote App, App Store generally). I guess the root cause is lack of someone senior to call out stupidity and sending the eng/designers back to do better.

    Apple is starting to suffer from the same disease that many successful companies have failed pray to i.e. their success has drained them from the hunger that drove them initially.

    I do not like what I am saying but the evidence is overwhelming and I see nothing that is helping to reverse this trend. I have a huge investment in Apple and continue to be among the initial wave of buyers for all their new products. Sadly, I cancelled my Apple Music subscription, and I switched to my older AppleTV, my ApplePen has not arrived, and my AppleWatch is nice but it is not as earth shattering as I had hoped.

    Apple need more teams focused on improving products more than once a couple of years specially when it comes to software then we need more regular update to improve service as well as initiative to drive use and user satisfaction. The current model of directing all people to projects as needed leaves accountability with the senior team and there are just not enough of them and No grown up to send them back to their room when the screw up.

      1. Trees rot from the inside and look strong and healthy right up to the point they crush your house. The Apple tree is rotting because while Cook is a good businessman, he has no passion for the products.

        Apple is becoming a phone manufacturer that dabbles in some other stuff. This will eventually hurt them.

  6. I can’t disagree with the sentiments about Apple’s neglect of certain members of its software family.

    Like my own family there are the spoilt children, the sad loners, the vacant-eyed misfits, the crazy aunt in the attic.

    I do object however to the rejection metaphor MDN employs–the red-headed stepchild. It hearkens back a hundred years to an era when Irish immigrants to the U.S.were stigmatised as inferior, along side every other ethnic and racial stereotype used by writers wanting punchier prose the easy way–by besmirching birth groups.

    1. I have always hated being called out for being red-headed. I also hate being stigmatized for my fiery temper. It makes me just want to rip everyones head off who is near me and throw things. I can’t help it that I was born a ginger kid. My dad died in the war and my mom had to marry someone who would keep us.

    2. You sir, are the voice of the millenial generation, the poster child for trigger warnings and safe zones, the quintessential new censors. I have not read of someone as delicate as you, who objects to “red-headed stepchild”. Your life is going to suck and suck badly for a very long time unless you get some thicker skin. I sure hope you do, if not for your own sake, then for the sake of those around you; otherwise, you may kill them with your incessant whining.

      1. Talk about sensitive spots! I’m actually making fun of whiners by posing as one, and so is “Red-Headed Stepchild,” who replied to me in kind. Denouncing whiners is no deterrent to their behaviour, but laughing at them sometimes helps.

  7. Mac App Store purchase: ALL my macs.
    Not Mac store purchase for same app: 1 Mac and sometimes a clusterF**k to get on other macs legally.

    If it’s not on the MAS.. Not interested in purchase.

  8. I’ve never really cared for the Mac App store, though I have gotten a couple things off it. My biggest gripe is that it completely abandons the shareware model that works so well, trial period then paid registration. I am not paying more than a pittance for software if I can’t try it first.


    1. True.
      I don’t think the MAS is perfect.. And having a try before you buy section would be great.
      If there is something I’m interested in ill go to their website and see if they have a trial period version, and if I do buy I’ll go to the MAS.

        1. Read why some are “dumbed” down..
          iVI has two versions for example, one on the MAS, and a “pro” version that is not, the Pro version… decrypts DVD’s. the act of decrypting a DVD tends to be illegal in many countries. Yeah Apple isn’t going to approve that..
          Some are “dumbed” down because they embed themselves to far down in the OS for Apple’s liking.

          Remember, Apps on iOS/Mac are supposed to run sandboxed to PREVENT malware…

          So what everyone praises Apple for… they also bash Apple for the exact same reason.

  9. From a consumer’s perspective, I don’t see anything wrong with the Mac App Store. Like how everything is sandboxed and how my personal info is protected. The fact that I can easily transfer my purchases to a new Mac when I get one is also a godsend. It certainly beats having to run installers and enter in serial numbers.

    I don’t see anything wrong here.

  10. I don’t agree with MDN take.

    As for developers getting their software yanked……stop trying to collect customer data! Pretty simple, play by the rules.

    Look at the source of the article. Mountain out of a mole hill maybe…

  11. Not that there isn’t room for improvement, but I rely very heavily on reviews and also feel safe using the store. I read and =here recommendations about certain products, and then find out through reviews, if there are enough of them, what the real deal is.

  12. I wrote to a developer asking about a certain piece of software. I’ve been using it for years and there was a rare paid update. I decided to get the software from the App store because the price was the same and updates would be automatic. After a while I noticed certain features were missing and asked him about that. According to him, the App store rules forced him to remove certain features and if I wanted the full version I could send him a copy of the receipt and he would give me a serial number for the full version available on his site.

    I avoid the app store whenever possible now. I don’t like Apple trying to put the Mac into a walled garden like iOS. I guarantee that my most used utilities would never be allowed in the App store.

    If it dies, good riddance.

    1. I’d be curious as to what those features are. Applications like Audio Hijack, I LOVE, but I know it’ll never be on the App Store because it requires you give permission to have it modify the kernel in order to work. NO WAY is that going to be allowed on the App store. BUT, I don’t see how any other non-utility, simple straight up productivity app should have a problem at all.

      Unless they’re doing more underhanded that you know.

      1. “simple straight up productivity app should have a problem at all.”

        So you’d think. It was a graphics program. It was a while ago so I’m a little foggy on the particulars, but I believe it had something to do with batch operations.

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