Archives for : July2013

One More Thing on App Store Sustainability

I had another thought about App Store sustainability this morning that I banged out as a pair of tweets, but that I wanted to post a little more prominently:

A thought: what good would upgrade pricing do on the iOS App Store, where the de facto maximum full price is $4.99?

Is anyone really going to be able to build a sustainable business off 99c annual upgrades?

My Unsustainable Productivity post despaired pretty badly for the future of one-time purchases in the iOS App Store, and I’ve only gotten more pessimistic in light of the evidence that Apple may release iWork for iOS for free with iOS 7. The polish and functionality of the iWork apps means they likely cost Apple several million dollars to develop… if they’re to be given away free, what does that do to user expectations? Basically it tells users they should expect to pay nothing for best-of-breed productivity apps.

I thought $10 each was too low for the iLife apps when they debuted, that it set a price ceiling that would make life difficult for other app makers. If Apple actually makes them free then — mark my words — it will mean the end of third-party productivity apps of any significance on iOS.

Set against this, what do we make of Apple’s release of Logic Pro X for the Mac, at $199? For starters, there’s the much-made point that they clearly don’t intend to offer an upgrade pricing system, when they’re demanding full price for the app on Mac, from new and current users alike.

But look at the contrast with the above, where iLife goes from cheap to (possibly) free on iOS, while Apple still thinks Mac software can demand a price in the hundreds of dollars. They’ve egged on and contributed to the Race To The Bottom on iOS, but not on the Mac. And that just means we’ll all need our “trucks” longer than we would otherwise, because the productivity apps we’d need to go iPad-only will never be written for iOS (or even ported), because it’s not viable for any third-party developer to do so, whereas Mac development remains as viable as it ever was.

CocoaConf Tour (Late 2013) and Core Audio video

A couple speaky/selly things real quick…

As mentioned in earlier posts, I’m speaking at all four of the upcoming CocoaConfs. I’m reprising my all-day tutorials:

  • iPad Productivity (UIDocument, autosave, iCloud, PDF/printing, inter-app doc exchange) in Portland (August) and Columbus (September)
  • Core Audio in Boston (October) and Atlanta (November)

I’m also doing two regular hour-long sessions, on Audiobus and A/V encoding. For Audiobus, feel free to abandon any angst that this much-loved third party tool for inter-application audio will be obsoleted and abandoned by Apple’s announced introduction of an inter-app audio framework in iOS 7. The Audiobus team announced that Audiobus will adopt Apple’s new APIs when running under iOS 7, meaning you’ll get compatibility with both Audiobus-enabled apps and those that use Apple’s new APIs. So it’s still well worth learning about if you’re into audio; I’m working on some demo code to show it off. Thinking I might bring back the Dalek ring modulator code from 360iDev a few years back and wrap it as an Audiobus effect (Hi Janie!)

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Unsustainable productivity

Ben Thompson’s Stratechery blog had a recent series of posts on sustainability in App Store development, and the third part of the series focused particularly on productivity apps and how the nature of the App Store ecosystem has caused that category to implode.

I wrote a really long reply to him with some of my thoughts on the matter, something I’ve tweeted and blogged about before — and about part-way through the e-mail I realized it would be a pretty good blog on its own.

So I’m pasting it below in its e-mail form, with a few links and formatting added here and there.

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