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The latest annual Setapp survey of Mac developers reports that ChatGPT is of great interest, while 60% want to use third-party app stores.
In the seventh edition of its survey, Setapp almost doubled its number of respondents, rising from 354 in 2022 to 701 this year. There were responses from slightly more countries, too, with 40 in 2022 compared to 37 in 2021.
They were all Mac developers, and this survey was chiefly about the Mac, rather than iOS, which has an impact on the results. For instance, only 6% of the developers work in games.
However, 60% of the Mac developers surveyed said that they would be interested in distributing iOS apps through third-party app stores. At 31%, almost one third currently distribute their Mac apps solely outside the Mac App Store.
That compares to 41% who exclusively distribute via Apple’s Mac App Store, and 28% who do both.
For those who distribute both through the Mac App Store and alternatives, such as their own websites, Apple’s system was the more profitable. After rounding up, Setapp’s survey reports that some 57% of the revenue from these firms came via the Mac App Store, and 44% from elsewhere.
Distributing via the Mac App Store means paying Apple a percentage, and year over year, 14% more developers said they considered this worthwhile. Only 3% said the cost of the Mac App Store was definitely not worth it to them, while 31% said it definitely was.
The future of Mac development
Overall, artificial intelligence and Machine Learning are significant for Mac developers, with 44% saying they are already using it, and 28% saying they’re working on it. The most common use for AI/ML was making a “highly personalized user experience,” at 38%.
Setapp surveyed developers specifically about the use of ChatGPT in their apps. Some 39% said they had already integrated it, while 21% are researching it, and 20% are working on their implementations.
That means a full 80% of Mac developers surveyed are at some stage of implementing ChatGPT into their apps. Only 20% said that they don’t intend to use it.