The simple concept of the App Store works. The developers develop their apps, set a price, and the App Store takes a significant portion of the income from each download. The only problem is that the store monopolised the app industry.
Monopolies are bad because they lead to higher prices and less innovation. To become part of the Apple Developer program, you have to pay $99 per year. However, the store also takes 30% of each download. It’s no wonder why apps are getting more expensive there.
The good thing with monopolies is that they don’t last. Sooner or later, competitors start showing up. A great example is Setapp, who came up with a new model: it makes all apps available through a minimal monthly subscription. The developers get most of their money, and the users get to download more apps for a lower price.
So, what is Setapp? It’s an app store that works according to the SaaS (software as a service) business model. The apps are centrally hosted and provided to you on a subscription basis. There are pros and cons to both models. Many users still prefer the App Store for Mac, while others became sworn Setapp users after a single trial. So what’s the best option for a Mac user?
Selection of Apps: Setapp vs App Store App
If you want a Mac Store app, you’ll face a broader range. Currently, Setapp features 140+ apps. The selection is getting larger by the day, but this still is a smaller store. That’s because the Setapp team chooses only a few apps per category so that it can offer the best of the best to its users. The App Store app selection is much more extensive, with thousands of apps to choose from.
That’s an advantage, but it can also be confusing for some people. Imagine this situation: you get into a huge clothing store, where a small percentage of beautiful items are buried in a total mess. To find those perfectly fitting items, you spend hours going through the sections and trying different outfits. It’s entirely possible for you to end up with the wrong choice.
Then imagine getting into a small boutique, where the manager made an effort to select only the best items from each category. You know that each piece of clothing is made with excellent quality and care. It’s easy to pick something on a whim, and you know it will work.
What is Setapp? It’s a boutique store for apps. That’s the difference. Some people love the thrill of big stores. They don’t mind making various attempts until they find the right App Store app. However, others prefer convenience, so they opt for Setapp. Let’s not forget that Setapp apps are also available in the Mac Store. You’re just getting the best of the best here.
What about the Prices? Are Setapp Apps Cheaper?
This is where we see a big difference. If you opt for an App Store app, you can usually install it for free on your Mac. However, that’s not the case with app apps. The best ones in each category require significant payments. Even if some features are available free of charge, you’ll have to pay to unlock the full power of the app.
Let’s take Ulysses as an example. It’s an app for writers. You get a free trial, but then you pay $5 per month if you want to keep using it. As a writer you will also need a productivity app. For Pagico 8, you will pay a one-time fee of $50. Add a few other apps a writer needs to use daily, and you’ll end up with hundreds of dollars in one-time fees, and at least $30 in monthly subscriptions. That’s a lot.
If a writer uses Setapp, he will pay $9.99 per month, and he will get access to the full-featured versions of all Setapp apps. The store covers all relevant categories: productivity, maintenance, lifestyle, task management, writing & blogging, education, creativity, developer tools, personal finance, and Mac hacks.
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Which Store Wins the Battle?
Ultimately, it depends on the way you use your Mac. If you’re a casual user who doesn’t need many apps and only uses the computer for YouTube and social media, you’re fine with the App Store. However, if you use your Mac for any kind of work and you need multiple apps with all their features, you should try Setapp. It will save you much money.