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Apple won't allow demos, trials, betas on Mac App Store

Apple this week provided more information to developers regarding its forthcoming Mac App Store, and informed them that, unlike on iOS, trial versions of software will not be allowed.

Apple issued a handful of updates via its News and Announcements for Apple Developers Thursday evening regarding the Mac App Store. The software download destination for Mac OS X Snow Leopard is expected to launch by the end of January.

"Your website is the best place to provide demos, trial versions, or betas of your software for customers to explore," Apple wrote. "The apps you submit to be reviewed for the Mac App Store should be fully functional, retail versions of your apps."

That's a change from the highly successful iOS App Store policies, in which iPhone and iPad users can download free limited trials of paid software. For example, the popular 99-cent game "Angry Birds" has a "Lite" version that is consistently among the top free iPhone titles.

Apple also issued tips for developers on how to meet the Mac App Store guidelines. For example, Mac apps submitted to the App Store must ensure that files are written in the appropriate location.

"This avoids being confused when applications store data in unexpected areas of the system (e.g., storing databases in the user's Documents folder or storing files in the user's Library folder that are not recognizably associated with your application)," Apple's documentation reads.

Another update provides tips for creating custom controls in a Mac application. It reminds developers that they can create their own custom controls, if the one they need is not available, as long as the element or behavior supports Apple's interface design principles.

Since it announced the Mac App Store, Apple has been providing developers with more information leading up to its launch. In October, the Cupertino, Calif., company gave an initial outline of what developers will need to do to get their applications listed in the digital storefront.

Apple is expected to release its own updated iWork '11 suite alongside the launch of the Mac App Store. The three applications included in the bundle — Pages, Numbers and Keynote — will be available for purchase individually when the Mac App Store debuts, along with the existing applications in the recently updated iLife suite.