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#14210 - 02/15/11 12:00 AM Re: App Store Poll [Re: tacit]
artie505 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Responding to tacit because he posted first...

My bad! frown

I unthinkingly reused ryck's "isolate users who like to tinker under the hood" in a my own context and wound up with a majorly erroneous statement.

In my context, I think "isolate users who like to control their own destiny" would have been more appropriate.

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#14220 - 02/15/11 08:29 AM Re: App Store Poll [Re: artie505]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Back in the mid-90s when I worked for Microsoft training their Windows and Office support personnel the question frequently arose, "Why didn't Microsoft test my hardware and software configuration before releasing a new version of Windows or Office or whatever product they built?" So someone at Microsoft, it sure wasn't me, sat down and calculated how long it would take to do that. The answer came back that the number of possible combinations approached infinity and that assumed all hardware and software development was frozen during the testing. So Microsoft could, and would, test with a very limited number of software combinations on a handful of hardware configurations and left the rest up to the will of the computing Gods and the companies building the hardware.

Apple, on the other hand, recognized the impossibility of the task very early on and chose to limit their risk by tightly controlling the hardware side of the equation. As others in this thread have noted, "Apple is a hardware company". The advent of the i-devices with their plethora of apps and and Apple's understandable desire/requirement for reliability resulted in the iTunes App store where Apple can at least test every apps in isolation before allowing them to be installed on the iPhone or iPad. At least partly as a result of that, the iPhone and iPad have had very few software conflicts or problems.

It seems to me the MAS is a logical extension of that thinking. Unlike the iPhone and iPad you can still purchase applications directly from the developer and install them on your Mac. In fact if you have the app already installed the MAS will recognize that it is installed but it will not allow you to reinstall or update it through the app store. Neither are you forced to accept an update for any app purchased through the MAS. It might be nice to have an archive and install option, but it is easy enough to simply right click on the app and select "compress" from the context menu. As far as I can tell so far all of the installs are simple drag and drop with the addition of "authorizing" the install with the MAS.

If Apple should decide to go with the MAS as their only means of distribution Apple apps, what is wrong with that? It saves Apple and the consumer money and time. I can't remember how long it has been since I purchased software on a CD/DVD from any vendor. Virtually everything on my Macs has been through electronic download. Yes I do burn a CD/DVD of the download image of major apps, but I have never used one of the burned copies. The one or two times I have had to go back a version, Time Machine, has handled the chore quickly and easily. In fact now that I think of it, between time Machine and MAS the necessity of burning a copy is pretty well obviated. I can always go back to the source or back in time.

In short, it seems to me that rather than isolate users who like to control their own destiny, Apple is doing a pretty good job of accommodating those who like to control their own destiny as well as those who lack either the knowledge or desire to do so. Certainly the MAS will make my support of several technophobe Mac users a LOT easier.

Having said all that, I am not sure that Apple has all the kinks worked out of the MAS. I am still having issues installing some apps and some updates. confused mad
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#14224 - 02/15/11 11:17 AM Re: App Store Poll [Re: joemikeb]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
If Apple should decide to go with the MAS as their only means of distribution Apple apps, what is wrong with that?

What's wrong with that is the fact that MAS is limited to Intel Macs running Snow Leopard. Right now there are still too many pre-snowy PPC Macs in that cooling bathwater to cavalierly throw out. frown
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#14229 - 02/15/11 07:22 PM Re: App Store Poll [Re: alternaut]
Hal Itosis Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
Loc: 10.6.8 (build 10K549)
Originally Posted By: alternaut
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
If Apple should decide to go with the MAS as their only means of distribution Apple apps, what is wrong with that?

What's wrong with that is the fact that MAS is limited to Intel Macs running Snow Leopard. Right now there are still too many pre-snowy PPC Macs in that cooling bathwater to cavalierly throw out. frown

I'll add to that by reiterating how TextWrangler at MAS is (somewhat) crippled.

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#14232 - 02/15/11 10:53 PM Re: App Store Poll [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
> Unlike the iPhone and iPad you can still purchase applications directly from the developer and install them on your Mac.

I've run across any number of apps that can be d/l'ed only from the Mac App Store, and, conversely, I've spoken to developers who seem to be unaware that they can go in both directions at the same time.

I wonder if there's some sort of breakdown in communication going on.

> In fact if you have the app already installed the MAS will recognize that it is installed but it will not allow you to reinstall or update it through the app store.

Isn't that contradicted by Ira's

Quote:
I can partly confirm: my download of a trial version of EazyDraw from the developer's site was a different (earlier) version number than the one from the Mac App Store. Hence, the App Store was technically an update and it replaced the previous version.

> As far as I can tell so far all of the installs are simple drag and drop with the addition of "authorizing" the install with the MAS.

And that seems to be contradicted by Ira's

Quote:
I later bought the App Store version and when it downloaded, it replaced the developer version in the location of that application (which happened to be on the Desktop, not in another folder). I was prevented from keeping both versions.

> It might be nice to have an archive and install option, but it is easy enough to simply right click on the app and select "compress" from the context menu.

True, but that requires an extra step (or two or three) that users have to remember to perform (and that's ignoring apps that write to /Library and can't be archived); I view Apple's not having built A & I into App Store.app as criminally negligent hubris.

> [i]If Apple should decide to go with the MAS as their only means of distribution Apple apps, what is wrong with that?

Aside from Hals' comment about TextWrangler (which I must assume applies to other apps as well), I guess it all comes down to clarification of how the Mac App Store actually works.

Personally, I'm running more than a handful of legacy apps simply because I do not like their "new & improved" versions for assorted reasons, and if the MAS won't facilitate that, count me out.


Edited by artie505 (02/15/11 11:01 PM)
Edit Reason: Added text of Ira's quote
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#14233 - 02/15/11 11:33 PM Re: App Store Poll [Re: dkmarsh]
artie505 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: dkmarsh
Quote:
No! Hardware is Apple's business, and "It Just Works" is as you say, but "User Experience" is more appropriately tied to the interaction between Macs, "i" devices, and the world as Steve Jobs envisions it...a (so to speak) come-lately.

Huh? When I got my first Mac in 1993, the compelling factor in my choice of platforms was the Macintosh user experience. Steve Jobs was off running NeXT (which, incidentally, had stopped making hardware altogether and was concentrating on further refinements to the operating system which lies at the core of OS X). The "i" devices weren't even on the drawing board yet.

Maybe I wasn't as clear as I should have been, and maybe I simply should have coined a new term, but the Mac user experience has evolved into something that, as you've pointed out, wasn't even dreamt of in 1993.

Quote:
Actually, you said "I'm beginning to get the idea that 'It just works!' has so infiltrated Apple's thinking that they've begun to believe it...forgotten that tag lines are for the marks...that believing them yourself is the first step down the road to nowhere." I doubt I'm the only one who thought you were dismissing "It Just Works" as just so much hucksterism.

Every ad tag-line is some degree of truth (well...not always) embellished by some degree of hucksterism, and although there's no way I'd ever begin to suggest that "It just works" is 100% hucksterism, because that just isn't so, neither will I say that it's 0% hucksterism.

Under any circumstances, though, what I did say was that you're in trouble when you swallow your own hucksterism, regardless of degree.

> I'd love to see a parse tree for that sentence.

I've never run across the term, but I assume that a parse tree is the same as a sentence diagram, so, anticipating the 1st day of next X-mas...

Quote:
peartridge |            
   \A

grin


Edited by artie505 (02/15/11 11:47 PM)
Edit Reason: Cleanup
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#14237 - 02/16/11 02:54 AM Re: App Store Poll [Re: artie505]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Quote:
I view Apple's not having built A & I into App Store.app as criminally negligent hubris.

Oh, get real.
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#14242 - 02/16/11 08:30 AM Re: App Store Poll [Re: joemikeb]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
I was just thinking... will we start seeing ad-supported apps on the app store, like we see on the itms?
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#14243 - 02/16/11 01:04 PM Re: App Store Poll [Re: artie505]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: artie505
I've run across any number of apps that can be d/l'ed only from the Mac App Store, and, conversely, I've spoken to developers who seem to be unaware that they can go in both directions at the same time.

I wonder if there's some sort of breakdown in communication going on.


Speaking as a shareware developer...

A lot of developers really like the App Store because it means they don't have to pay for their own bandwidth, maintain their own ecommerce systems, host the app for download themselves, track and send out customer records, and so on, and so on.

That kind of stuff is surprisingly tedious, difficult, and expensive. Apple handles everything from hosting to bandwidth to customer records (you'd be surprised how many folks register my software and then email me six months later to say they've lost the serial number; with App Store purchases, I as a developer would not have to deal with that).

Apple charges 30% of each transaction as their cut. That might sound like a lot, but many developers I know are more than happy to pay it. If as a developer you want to go your own route, your choices are to go through PayPal (which takes a smaller cut, but is sometimes finicky and problematic), get your own credit card merchant account and payment gayeway (which is what I do--it's cheap but there are a huge number of hoops you have to jump through, and you're responsible for maintaining your ecommerce software, payment gateway, and so on, plus keeping on top of security, maintaining compliance with the PCI security requirements, keeping on top of patches and security updates for your software, and so on, and so on), or you can go with a remote-hosted shopping cart who will do that all for you...and probably charge you, err, 30% of your transactions as their fee.

If you have a popular app, the bandwidth bills can add up fast. If you want to sell through your own merchant account, you'll still pay transaction fees, plus merchant accounts are extraordinarily difficult to get for companies that have not been in business for many years. When you actually start looking at it, the Apple App Store starts to look like one hell of a good deal.

If I could distribute though the app store, I would. I continue going my own way only because my apps don't meet Apple's requirements--therein is the rub, at least for me.
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#14245 - 02/16/11 08:27 PM Re: App Store Poll [Re: tacit]
Hal Itosis Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
Loc: 10.6.8 (build 10K549)
Originally Posted By: tacit
Speaking as a shareware developer...

A lot of developers really like the App Store because it means they don't have to pay for their own bandwidth, maintain their own ecommerce systems, host the app for download themselves, track and send out customer records, and so on, and so on.

That kind of stuff is surprisingly tedious, difficult, and expensive. Apple handles everything from hosting to bandwidth to customer records (you'd be surprised how many folks register my software and then email me six months later to say they've lost the serial number; with App Store purchases, I as a developer would not have to deal with that).

Apple charges 30% of each transaction as their cut. That might sound like a lot, but many developers I know are more than happy to pay it. If as a developer you want to go your own route, your choices are to go through PayPal (which takes a smaller cut, but is sometimes finicky and problematic), get your own credit card merchant account and payment gayeway (which is what I do--it's cheap but there are a huge number of hoops you have to jump through, and you're responsible for maintaining your ecommerce software, payment gateway, and so on, plus keeping on top of security, maintaining compliance with the PCI security requirements, keeping on top of patches and security updates for your software, and so on, and so on), or you can go with a remote-hosted shopping cart who will do that all for you...and probably charge you, err, 30% of your transactions as their fee.

If you have a popular app, the bandwidth bills can add up fast. If you want to sell through your own merchant account, you'll still pay transaction fees, plus merchant accounts are extraordinarily difficult to get for companies that have not been in business for many years. When you actually start looking at it, the Apple App Store starts to look like one hell of a good deal.

If I could distribute though the app store, I would. I continue going my own way only because my apps don't meet Apple's requirements--therein is the rub, at least for me.

A very detailed and enlightening post.
Thanks.

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#14246 - 02/16/11 08:55 PM Re: App Store Poll [Re: Hal Itosis]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Quote:
A very detailed and enlightening post.
Thanks.

And now we can read it twice. tongue
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#14252 - 02/18/11 03:45 AM Re: App Store Poll [Re: tacit]
artie505 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Thanks for the excellent analysis of the "deal."

(But you've overlooked my real question...whether developers can go in both directions, i.e. sell their apps through the Mac App Store and independently?)
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#14254 - 02/18/11 04:40 AM Re: App Store Poll [Re: dkmarsh]
artie505 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: dkmarsh

Quote:
I view Apple's not having built A & I into App Store.app as criminally negligent hubris.

Oh, get real.

OK... Criminally negligent reality.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#14259 - 02/18/11 07:33 AM Re: App Store Poll [Re: artie505]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: artie505
(But you've overlooked my real question...whether developers can go in both directions, i.e. sell their apps through the Mac App Store and independently?)

Developers can and are pursuing MAS and independent marketing paths for the same products at the same time. Depending on the choice of the developer there may or may not be functional differences between the MAS and independent versions. One other obvious and expected difference is the DRM method used between the two.


Edited by joemikeb (02/18/11 07:41 AM)
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#14264 - 02/18/11 10:04 AM Re: App Store Poll [Re: artie505]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: artie505
Thanks for the excellent analysis of the "deal."

(But you've overlooked my real question...whether developers can go in both directions, i.e. sell their apps through the Mac App Store and independently?)


Yep, they sure can. There's nothing in the Apple Store Ts & Cs that prohibit that at all, and in fact quite a few developers do do this.

I can understand why many developers, especially smaller developers, would choose not to, for the reasons I list above. I reckon it's very tempting, once you're in the Apple App store, to just want to go hands-off and let Apple send you a check every month. And the App Store is large enough that even after Apple's 30% cut, that check might still be bigger than what you could do on your own.

That's actually a danger I see in the App Store model, to be honest. Not that Apple will come in and take over Mac app sales by imposing draconian terms on developers or forcing people to stop selling through other channels, but simply that they will make it so easy and convenient to use the App Store that a lot of developers will simply decide they don't want the hassle of selling software on their own.

That might create a situation where Apple, without aggressively trying to force developers to use the App Store, will end up with de facto control over Mac software sales anyway. As more and more apps appear on the App Store, it gets more and more traffic. That makes it more and more attractive to other developers, who may choose to put their apps onto the App Store simply for the exposure, and once there may decide that it isn't worth the bother to try to maintain their own Web sites or distribution channels.

There will always be some developers who don't go the App Store route, and there will always be developers who do both, but I think the App Store model may become so attractive to developers that it starts strangling off other software distribution channels without having (or needing!) any rules or prohibitions against developers selling their apps outside of it.
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#14271 - 02/18/11 11:48 PM Re: App Store Poll [Re: tacit]
artie505 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
> I think the App Store model may become so attractive to developers that it starts strangling off other software distribution channels without having (or needing!) any rules or prohibitions against developers selling their apps outside of it.

Thanks for your insightful post.

I find the above quote interesting; I sounds like it suggests the possibility of a trust that may not violate any antitrust laws.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#14330 - 02/22/11 09:16 AM Re: App Store Poll [Re: joemikeb]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
It took me some time to get MAS working correctly (see my thread in the OS X 10.6 forum) but I have come to really like the convenience of MAS. Some of the salient features are:
  • Pro
    1. After purchasing an application, it can be redownloaded as many times as needed but all trace of the app has to be removed from the system including any copies on other mounted volumes before redownloading will be allowed. If you also use Time Machine this obviates any need to keep download backups.
    2. The app can be downloaded and installed on up to five "authorized" Macs at no additional cost. Ie. all purchases are essentially "family pack".
    3. The entire purchase and install process could not be easier. Tracking and obtaining updates for MAS purchases is easy to do especially for the technophobe
  • Con
    1. Moving a downloaded App to another folder requires admin password authorization
    2. There is no "trial" download and install available
    3. The entire purchase and install process could not be easier -- perhaps leading to spending more money on apps than you intended
  • Wish List
    1. I wish some of the more popular open source apps such as NeoOffice, and GIMP were included, but that might create some nasty licensing issues.
    2. I wish trial downloads were possible
    3. I wish some of the application descriptions were more fulsome. It is hard to figure out what some of them do and the screenshots are often not that much help.
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#14335 - 02/22/11 03:52 PM Re: App Store Poll [Re: joemikeb]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
I wish some of the more popular open source apps such as NeoOffice, and GIMP were included, but that might create some nasty licensing issues.


Yep, it does create some nasty licensing issues, though not from the perspective of Apple. Many open source licenses, including the GNU open-source license, require that any software distributed under the license be "freely redistributable." Since you can't simply copy apps downloaded from the MAS from one machine to another, that violates the free redistribution clause of the GNU license, so the GNU licenses forbids distributing those apps in the app store. (The VLC iPhone app was pulled from the iPhone app store for that reason.)

Plus, it costs money to put apps in the store, even if they are distributed for free. If you're already an open source developer distributing apps for free, you might not want to pony up for your app store fee.
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#14336 - 02/22/11 04:57 PM Re: App Store Poll [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
To change the subject a bit, I wonder if the degree of control over MAS apps that Apple is maintaining suggests that similar control over OS X is on the horizon, possibly even beginning with Lion?
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#14339 - 02/22/11 07:11 PM Re: App Store Poll [Re: artie505]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Unlikely. On the one hand, Apple wants to control software in the app store to preserve their market position (hence the ban on apps that significantly duplicate Apple's own apps) and Apple's image (hence the controls on user interface and on content like sex).

However, the success of any platform depends on people finding what they want, and that often means iPhoto workalikes and porn. Attempting to control consumer electronics devices like the iPhone is one thing; trying to control the way a desktop general-purpose computer is another.

America Online succeeded in large part because of the sex chat rooms. The Mac succeeds in large part because of the huge library of apps that includes things that Apple doesn't like, from user interface modifications like WindowShade to sex games to browsers like Firefox.

From a benefit standpoint, Apple's greatest gain is a huge and successful, but tightly controlled, app store that promotes popular software in one place and also offers Apple a steady revenue stream, while at the same time also encouraging a thriving software ecosystem that offers owners alternate ways to get software that Apple doesn't want to make available in the App Store. I think it'd actually work against Apple to try to control the desktop systems more.

But then again, Apple *did* make the hockey puck mouse, so sometimes they do foolish things...
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#14340 - 02/22/11 07:12 PM Re: App Store Poll [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
If you combine
Quote:
I wish some of the application descriptions were more fulsome. It is hard to figure out what some of them do and the screenshots are often not that much help.
with
Quote:
There is no "trial" download and install available
you get
Quote:
[...] perhaps leading to spending [more] money on apps that you wind up not really wanting and may never even use [...] (Emphasis added)

That said, can you tell us if your experience is that developers are offering trial d/l's?
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#14350 - 02/23/11 07:59 AM Re: App Store Poll [Re: artie505]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: artie505
That said, can you tell us if your experience is that developers are offering trial d/l's?

Many commercial developers offer trial downloads including such big names as
If you want to get into small developers and shareware it would probably be easier to list the ones that do NOT offer some sort of a trial download.
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#14351 - 02/23/11 07:59 AM Re: App Store Poll [Re: artie505]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Trialware could be tricky to integrate into the current management, but surely free demos would be simple to do? Like the free apps we see already on ITMS? Where you've got so many titles with "xyz LITE" and "xyz full/pro".

And a lot of the time the only difference between the LITE and full versions is one is ad supported and the other is bought and has no ads.
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#14359 - 02/23/11 04:39 PM Re: App Store Poll [Re: Virtual1]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: Virtual1
Trialware could be tricky to integrate into the current management, but surely free demos would be simple to do? Like the free apps we see already on ITMS? Where you've got so many titles with "xyz LITE" and "xyz full/pro".

And a lot of the time the only difference between the LITE and full versions is one is ad supported and the other is bought and has no ads.


From a developer standpoint, releasing and maintaining two codebases is something of a pain in the ass, even if they share a lot in common. And you have to go through the submitting and review process twice to get 'em both in the app store.

In the past, nearly all trialware and shareware, from my own little programs all the way up to Adobe Photoshop, has had a single program that you download and install, and if you like it you buy a serial number that unlocks it or extends the trial period or whatever whatever.

Unfortunately, that model doesn't really work with the App Store system very well; the App Store system requires a payment up front, before download, so downloading a free app which you then go to the developer's web site to pay for and unlock actually violates the App Store Ts & Cs (for obvious reasons).

What *could* be done, though I haven't seen it personally yet, is you could use Apple's in-app-purchase API; you'd download a free version of the software, then to register/unlock it you'd make your payment via the app's own in-app purchase system. That'd require a bit more coding, but probably less than maintaining two separate apps.
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#14363 - 02/24/11 09:34 AM Re: App Store Poll [Re: tacit]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
is it possible to have a "registrator" application? So for example you could have xyz app and xyz pro. The app is a trial/free/etc, and the pro is ONLY an app to indicate the xyz is registered. then you put the full price on the pro app and it can remain relatively or completely static as you make changes/updates to the main app? The presence of the pro app on the device causes the app to become the full version.

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