Following last night's seeding of a new build of Mac OS X 10.6.6, Apple updated its Developer News portal with a few tips for developers to consider before trying to submit their Mac apps for approval. Among these tips (which include file system usage and custom graphical controls), Apple confirmed what many developers feared since the Mac App Store was announced: Apple won't accept any kind of demo, trial or beta version in the new Store.
Apple is, in fact, suggesting developers to host demos on their own websites, as the Mac App Store only accepts retail versions of apps:
Your website is the best place to provide demos, trial versions, or betas of your software for customers to explore. The apps you submit to be reviewed for the Mac App Store should be fully functional, retail versions of your apps.
We don't know yet if Apple will provide a way to better showcase links to developers' website in the App Store description pages (right now, the iOS App Store features two links buried under an app's description, right above screenshots) but sure this is bad news for many developers who were hoping Apple would announce the possibility to release demo versions in the Mac App Store.
The Mac App Store opening isn't too far away now, so we'll know more about the whole process in the upcoming weeks.