Sketch Pulled from Mac App Store, Developer Cites Shortcoming in MAS Experience

| Product News

Bohemian Coding announced Tuesday that it was pulling the Sketch app from the Mac App Store (MAS). In a detailed blog post, the company said the MAS hasn't evolved like its iOS counterpart, and that the limitations imposed by Apple's structure for the MAS don't allow Sketch to be all that it can be.

Sketch Screenshot

Sketch app screenshot

Sketch is a design app for the Mac, and Bohemian Coding has provided a utility that will allow Mac App Store customers to convert their license to a direct sales license for continued support. The company also said that customers who bought Sketch from the Mac App Store can continue using that version, but updates will no longer be delivered through that mechanism.

From Bohemian Coding's blog:

There are a number of reasons for Sketch leaving the Mac App Store—many of which in isolation wouldn't cause us huge concern. However as with all gripes, when compounded they make it hard to justify staying: App Review continues to take at least a week, there are technical limitations imposed by the Mac App Store guidelines (sandboxing and so on) that limit some of the features we want to bring to Sketch, and upgrade pricing remains unavailable.

The company also took the opportunity to specify that the decision to pull Sketch from the MAS was not related to a recent certificate problem that caused some MAS-distributed apps to stop working.

"However," the company said, "in light of what happened, we can't help but feel vindicated in our decision that the Mac App Store is not in our customers' best interests right now."

If you're a Sketch user and want to move to the company's direct sales license, the company provided specific instructions for moving your license.

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The Mac App Store truly feels like one of those Apple properties that stopped getting the internal love it needs. Apple does this all the time, or so it seems from the outside—my educated guess has long been that it's what happens when you have a small time of insanely brilliant creative geniuses running a company like Apple. When a product loses some of its luster for key members of that team, it languishes.

It's probably the necessary flip side of the process that produces such amazing products. It sucks when the thing we like languishes (think iTools, .Mac, Logic Pro X, Final Cut Pro, iDVD, Mail, iTunes, Mac Pro...the list is long), but on the whole, it's possible that we can't get the other products that we love without risking some of them will be dropped along the way.

Note, too, that this happened under both CEO Steve Jobs and CEO Tim Cook, as evidenced by my list above. In fact, it happened more often with Mr. Jobs. When a product was the focus of his laser-like attention, it would steadily improve. When it wasn't, it languished.

The question is how important is the Mac App Store to Apple? Developers need upgrade pricing, trial downloads, faster review times, app bundles, and greater flexibility with sandboxing—more importantly, they've needed these things for a long time. If the MAS matters to Apple these things will come.

And just maybe, some squeaky wheels like Bohemian Code, Panic, and other developers who have pulled their apps from the MAS—or not brought them there in the first place—will help Apple find the necessary focus to do it.

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That isn’t genius, folks, it’s an inability to focus (which is also very different from being able to deftly pivot). Genius goes beyond intellectual understanding. This, this is pretty much just a mess and an object lesson. No offense, but why people insist on deifying dysfunctional behaviors in the 21st century is alarming to me. :/


If you ever notice that Apple isn’t paying [much] attention to a particular product, it’s more than likely because they’re too busy working on a massive update. This is typical Apple m.o. and surprised no one has figured that out.

Personally, I think Apple will eventually debut a unified AppStore, that contains apps that can be purchased once and downloaded and used on any of their devices. The ability to compile to byte-code instead of targeting a specific architecture is already in place. From there the byte code and application resources are compiled and bundled for the device that is requesting the install.


Heard a lot of people talking about this app, but all the comments in the Mac App Store about it said it crashes a lot and is not ready for prime time.

I have a lot of other programs for this kind of work. I may take another look at it later…

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