Update: Mackus has posted a follow-up with some new information since the store's launch.
As of today, Apple's Mac App Store is scheduled to launch in just about 48 hours. While considering the store's potential, Markus Nigrin of Windmill Apps posed several questions to developers in his network with interesting results. We've summarized his findings here, but we suggest you read the full post at Markus' site.
The participants are well-known members of the iOS developer community: Dave Frampton of Majic Jungle Software, Bryan Duke of Acceleroto, Matt Martel of Mundue and Craig Kemper of Little White Bear Studios. These four account for approximately 20 million combined iOS App Store downloads, and intend to bring Chopper 2 (from Majic Jungle Software), Air Hockey (from Acceleroto), ReMovem (from Mundue) and Compression (from Little White Bear Studios) to the Mac App Store.
Markus posted five questions to his panel: what do they expect from a Mac App Store equivalent to a successful iOS app, what do they expect from their app, what will the launch price be and what could be said about the development process? In the brief table above, you'll find some of the answers.
Four developers is certainly a very small sample, but three of the four questioned revealed that Mac App Store pricing will be the same as iOS Store pricing (only Compression will be US$1 more). Expectations varied as well. Dave and Matt expect to get 10 percent of iOS sales out of Chopper and ReMovem, respectively, while Craig is hoping for 200 percent of sales of Compression for iOS, and Bryan is hoping for 100,000 units sold (over time) of Air Hockey.
As for development time and cost, the group seemed pleased. The developers noted that Apple has made it easy to re-use code for a native Mac app. The panel reported that port time was less than four weeks, and that adjustments like the keyboard and HD support took most of that time. Additionally, the developers had created high-resolution graphics for the iOS apps, and were able to make them work with their Mac counterparts with minimal fuss. As Markus points out, the quick development turnaround contributed significantly to the 1:1 pricing model.
Consider that many iOS apps are a year or more in development, and "less than four weeks" becomes even more significant.
There's more to Markus' study, and we suggest you read the whole thing. In the end, the winners are Mac users. All four developers said they spent most of their time "making the apps perfect for the Mac." On January 6, expect high-quality, low-cost apps (er, software), lovingly crafted for the Mac by skilled developers. We can't wait.