Unofficial Face of the Mac Developer Program

Mac App Store

TOKYO (MacHouse) – Last January, Apple, Inc. (hereby, Apple) started its Mac App Store, where the company says that software developers can “reach millions of users around the world.” It sounds like Apple offers an easy and exciting solution to independent software developers. Seeing it from the view point of software developers, Apple calls this online distribution system Mac Developer Program.

Mac App Store
Screenshot 01 – Source: Apple, Inc.

So what do we know about Mac Developer Program? Reading publicly accessible web pages, you will learn that

      – program enrollment fee is $99
      – Apple will take 30% of every software sale
      – the Mac App Store is open to people in 90 countries

There is an untold version of the Mac Developer Program that you will never learn by accessing publicly accessible Apple’s web pages. In fact, one of the elements in the list above may not even be correct.  

Mac App Store
Screenshot 02 – Source: Apple, Inc.

If you want to sell your products at the Mac Developer Program, you should expect that your software submissions cannot be automatically accepted. Of course, Apple wants to make sure that no software product contains malware and that every product is functional. In fact, they offer something that they call Apple Store Review Guidelines. Screenshot 02 indicates a link to Apple Store Review Guidelines. Clicking on it, actually, your entry will be blocked such that only development program participants can see the review guideline page. (See Screenshot 03.)

Mac App Store
Screenshot 03 – Source: Apple, Inc.

So information is closed. The list of guidelines is not publicly available. We can tell you that one of the guidelines says that Apple will not accept a software product that will crash. Another one says that Apple will not accept pornographic material. Well, there are currently 93 elements to go over.

So how much is an annual membership? According to Apple, it’s $99. Is it? Depending on where you live, it’s not. For example, if you live in Japan, you might expect that you would pay $99 x the exchange rate. The current exchange rate between the Japanese yen and the U.S. dollar hovers around ¥83 per dollar (interbank rate). So TTS (the exchange rate that a bank offers to its customers) is around ¥85. So it could be around ¥8,415? No, no, no… In fact, one says that he has ended up paying ¥10,286, which makes the current enrollment fee about US$120 or 21% more than you would expect.

Okay, so there is a review process. If you have enrolled yourself in the development program, did you even think about how long it could take? Well, Apple used to review software products quickly and introduce them here. It was a free service to Mac software developers. And they usually updated the list every 4 to 5 days. Now, you are paying $99 per year. After you switch from a free service to a paid one, is the review process going faster? The answer is no.

Mac App Store
Screenshot 04 – Source: Apple, Inc.

So how long can a review process be? One software developer says that it was 3 weeks. (See Screenshot 04.) That’s a bit long, right? Well, it’s not just 3 weeks. He must have waited for about 2 weeks to have somebody start reviewing his software product. And his app was rejected about 5 weeks after the submission. If a software submission was rejected, you can resubmit it after resolving problems. But if you resubmit your app, you will go to the end of the line again and wait. So you can end up waiting for 10 weeks or 2 months and a half if once rejected. One little mistake can cost you additional 5 weeks. If you make another mistake, the software release will delay for another 5 weeks. That’s quite scary, huh?

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