Early Numbers from the Mac AppStore

The Mac AppStore is here, the Mac AppStore is here. For the past two months or so I have been heads down creating a Mac version of my popular iOS education app Mathemagics. Mathemagics is an app to help you train for calculating math mentally. The original iPhone version was first released in March of 2009 and has seen moderate success hovering in the top 100 of the U.S. Education category for most of that time. It’s also been featured by Apple 4 or 5 times (many thanks Apple!). So, having developed for the Mac in the past, when the Mac AppStore was first announced it was a natural for me to create a Mac version of the app.

I could have taken a wait and see approach but having been a part of the original iPhone AppStore launch (via another app) I knew that getting in early was worth the effort. There will never be less competition in the AppStore than there is on day one. I think we all realize that more and more apps will continue to poor into the AppStore from here on out. However, it does take significantly more effort and time to create a full featured Mac app as compared to an iPhone app so the flood may be little less torrential. The similar skill sets needed to create iPhone and Mac apps will pave the way for the initiate iOS dev to start creating Mac apps for publishing on the Mac AppStore. Although Cocoa looks like a crufty old man when put up alongside its nimble cousin it is incredibly powerful and does command a learning curve. So, there is some barrier to entry. Maybe it will be just enough to act as a high pass filter and keep the crap out but let the quality in. Only time will tell.

So, how did Mathemagics do in the first few days of the Mac AppStore? Fairly well. The app has been holding steady in the top 10-15 apps in the U.S. Education category.

Rankings appear to be updated regularly but the volatility is much less dramatic than in the iOS AppStores. Most likely due to the lower volume of overall downloads. I suspect that ranking volatility will pick up as time goes on with more apps in the store and more users updating to 10.6.6 and discovering the new AppStore on their Mac.

The top ten apps in the Education category appear in the overall top 180 apps on the AppStore putting Mathemagics somewhere outside of that range. This is in stark contrast to the iPhone AppStore where only the top 1 or 2 apps in the Education category make an appearance in the overall top 200 list.

Sales over the first three days and at those rankings were fairly solid. The Mac AppStore is just getting started and it isn’t yet available to all users so the volume is much less than what you might expect to see on the iOS AppStore. It will probably remain that way simply due to the lower Mac : iOS device count. Existing Mac users will be upgrading to 10.6.6 in the upcoming weeks and I expect that influx of ‘new’ users will help to support sales a bit in the interim. At some point that boost will begin to tapper off by which time I hope that new Macs begin to ship with the Mac AppStore pre-installed. All the same it will take some time before the idea of an AppStore on the Mac begins to embed itself into the fabric of everyday users habits. The existence and mind-share of the iPhone AppStore should help to speed that process.

I am pleased with the actual sales numbers. These aren’t top 10 hit numbers, nor did I expect them to be, but they do make a nice addition to the overall bottom line.

Launch day had the highest number of downloads with the following days starting to trail off. Ranking slipped by a couple of slots late in the day on Saturday and that could have had a small impact on the sales numbers. In either case as time goes on and the AppStore becomes available on more and more Macs coupled with an increased awareness of the store Mathemagics for Mac could become a solid addition to my lineup of apps. In the mean time I’ll iterate like mad to increase the quality and feature set of the app in order to make it the best in its class. Eventually an increase in price of the app will accompany those improvements.

I’m excited to see an AppStore on the Mac and even more thrilled to have been a part of its launch. These are the early days of the Mac AppStore and the road ahead is unknown. Secure in the experience of having lived the emotional roller coaster that is the iPhone AppStore I’m settling in for the long haul.

This post is a part of the iDevBlogADay group of Indie development blogs. Thanks to @mysterycoconut for managing such a great site.