The MacOS X developer community is abuzz with the announcement that Bohemian Coding is pulling their Sketch vector art product from the Mac App Store. Here is why developers should pay attention. Continue reading Sketch Leaving the Mac App Store Shows Understanding of Sales
This is a response I wrote to the Medium article Brainstorming Does Not Work: Why people who brainstorm are wasting their time, about the value of brainstorming an alternative group creative processes. Continue reading Its Complicated,But it Can Be Effective: Brainstorming Still Works
Hand in hand with the availability of the free iWorks applications for Mac OS X and iOS, there’s been a stronger message of disappointment from how Apple has modified its applications – dumbing down its components, Keynote, Pages, Numbers. Apple product customers appear to be more forgiving of feature loss between versions, so I can see how Apple would come to the conclusion that wholesale dumbing down is acceptable. But this leads to speculate that the dumbing down could be a forerunner of something new – a cloud enabled iWork Pro.
Following Adobe’s model with Creative Suite, it makes sense. You can cut down on piracy by putting many features on a server. Also, you can make changes to features and licensing whenever you want.
In addition, by giving away a low end version of the software for free, you can very effectively cut into your competitors business. We’ve been very effectively doing this with the free Valentina Studio and free Valentina Database & Reports Server versions. This strategy isn’t about just increasing awareness – its about shutting down the competition.
You get the free upgrade to Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks, new users get free versions of iWork applications, then its a simple (or not so simple) in-app purchase of iWork Pro. Any of the smaller competitors out there don’t stand much of a chance, so if you are selling competing apps on iTunes or Mac App Store – kiss your slim earnings goodbye.
The iTunes loving world was rocked with the release of iTunes 11 and the removal of several features. After something similar with iMovie ’08 and Final Cut Pro X and how high profile those removals were, you’d think that this is an Apple thing – but that would be unfair, since other companies, such as Microsoft and Techsmith also have done this. Software upgrades consist of fixes, improvements and new features. There are times when its right to remove – but most often not.
Now Apple has gone and done it again with Garageband’s loss of podcasting features and also left out iWork features in their most recent update (though claim they will be restored). Should vendors feel they get a pass when they remove features? Continue reading Who Said You Could Remove Features?
Many are struck with wonder that Apple would release Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks free. Users back from the heady days of the pre-PPC Macs (a very long suffering people!) know this isn’t such a new thing. Back then, if you could download it or get someone to copy floppies, you could get it for free – unless you really wanted the Apple package of floppies and user guides. And many did – the manuals were quite good and useful. Continue reading Free Mac OS X Mavericks Not New But What Apple Should Do
Runtime Revolution announced their Kickstarter to create a dual licensed open source version of Livecode. This is a major next step for the platform – you can continue to ship commercial, closed source applications under the original plan, plus there will be a way to create your own open source apps free.
LiveCode is the true descendant of HyperCard, the one-time Apple product that made it possible to program visual objects in an English like language. Runtime did though what Apple didn’t do – instead of killing a wonderful product, they made sure you can build your apps on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X, and also deploy to Windows, Linux, MacOS X, iOS (yes, iPad and iPhone apps!) and Android. There is even a server-side solution.
Why use LiveCode? For one, its an extremely productive environment. The language is easy to learn – especially if you have no background in programming and do not want to become a hard core programmer. This allows specialists of all kinds – doctors, artists, chefs, etc – anyone with a specialized set of knowledge, to build applications around their specialized knowledge sets. The first company I owned, which was a translation/localization/testing company in Japan, had a set of localization tools built with the predecessor to LiveCode – which I learned to use with just the product itself and a stack of manuals…in Japanese.
Now even if you are already a programmer, or you want to pursue a career as a programmer, LiveCode is still an excellent product. You can get started sooner rather than later on building useful applications and, you learn in the process most of what you need to know conceptually that will carry you over to any other languages you might pick up later (and LiveCode is fully extensible with extensions you can write in other languages like C++).
I have noticed that the greatest proponents of the Post PC Era are also fans of Apple products, especially the truly loving ones. Let me get it off my chest that I don’t believe there is a Post PC Era. The Personal Computer Industry is by nature transformative. When the portable computer and later the laptop emerged the computer was no longer tied to a single location. Likewise, when the PDA market rose, it arose as an extension to the PC market. Neither of these developments were particularly transformative until the emergence of the smart phone, which significantly predated the iPhone. Continue reading Fallacy of the Post PC Era
Kirk McElhearn over at MacWorld.com begins a lively discussion about Why Apple is making OS X more like iOS and how both Microsoft and Apple seem to be blending the best features of each OS. There are excellent reasons for doing this, but there are plenty of ugly ones too. Something to keep in mind is that these are not entirely separate operating systems. Apple developed iOS based on a cut down version of Mac OS X’s core technology. Keeping these two platforms in synch means a vast cost savings in support and development, and also ensures that its easier to port Apple applications to work as seamlessly as possible no matter what the target hardware is.
There are plenty of uglies to go along with the practical cost savings though. Continue reading iOS and Mac OS Consolidation: Get Used to It, It Will Happen
Apple is in hot water over what appears to be price fixing with major book publishers, in an effort to harm Amazon. Steve Jobs apparently suggested following the agency model, which is more a business model than an actual pricing model.
In the agency model and in regular retail practice, the reseller is a kind of conduit to customers. By way of distributors, products appear on shelves. Resellers buy, based on a percentage of the suggested retail price. The reseller is entirely free to set their own prices (with certain exceptions) and compete with other resellers in the market. Resellers also generate additional revenue off of selling advertisements within their circulars, charging for end cap or point of purchase promotions or other in-store experiences. The agency model works quite differently. Continue reading Agency Model Should Be Familiar