A week or two ago, I read an article that talked about the concept of Enough.” The idea is that you don’t need to make a million dollars a year to be happy, you just need Enough to buy what you need when you need it. Shortly thereafter, a friend of mine and I have a conversation about his shoes, of all things. Turns out that he owned a pair of Dr. Martens shoes, and for the past seven years he’s just had them resoled, keeping them in his rotation ever since the first day he bought them.
So what the heck do these two things have to do with Apple? It’s about a little epiphany I had the other day. Bear with me, there’s a point to all this. (more…)
For a brief moment on June 10th, it seemed like Apple was going to support notification syncing between your iPhone and your Mac. It seemed like they said if you got, say, a New York Times push notification on your phone, you could get it on your Mac as well. That feature turned out to be just Safari Push Notifications — an option to let websites push notifications to your Mac the same way mobile apps push notifications on your iPhone. A nice feature still, perhaps, but nothing that’d bring the iOS and OS X synergy we thought was coming.
And yes, Safari Push Notifications are a good idea and a nice new feature, to a degree. But at the same time, they can be one of the most infuriating, in-your-face new features on the Mac. Here’s why.
We’re apt to think that just another app will solve all of our problems. Apple’s “There’s an App for That” campaign sounds all too perfect: we’ve got problems in life, and there’s an app out there that can solve it.
That’s quite the tantalizing solution, but there’s one problem: it won’t work.
Reading is a topic that a lot of us get fired up about, mainly because we all do so much of it. It’s a field many of us are very experienced in. When people make decisions about buying a hardcore or a softcover book, they’re using their experience to make that choice. That’s why talking about the perfect reading experience is so tough — no two people have the same tastes.
That’s my word of warning as I enter into this: the following article, even more so than usual, is nothing more than my opinion. But let me be the one to tell you, and I hope you’ll agree, my opinion is certainly the most correct one. I’ll start by saying that the new iBooks for iOS 7 is terrible. Whereas before, choosing between iBooks and Kindle was tough, the decision just got a whole lot easier. Quite simply, I’m about to tell you why I prefer the Kindle experience over iBooks.
No matter how much developers and users alike have hoped Apple would bring traditional upgrade pricing to the App Store, it’s not going to happen. Traditional upgrades — where you get a discount on version 2 if you already own version 1 — have been deemed too complex. In a world where simplicity rules and everyone is supposed to be treated the same, that’s one confusion too many for Apple.
So, they’ve opted to slash the prices on their own apps — all the way to free for most of their consumer products — and charge full price for new versions. 3rd party developers have been left to do the same, making the App Store the place where apps like Pixelmator get seemingly endless upgrades for free while other apps get full-priced new versions as we’ve seen with so many iOS 7 apps this year.
But that might not be the only way. The Omni Group has been the most bold at trying to find ways to offer traditional upgrade pricing with their OmniKeyMaster, a short-lived attempt to offer App Store customers upgrade pricing on their own store. And now they’re fighting again, with the most brilliant use of in-app purchases yet.
Imagine, for a moment, that the apps bundled with OS X — Preview, TextEdit, Safari, Mail, and the rest — along with the iWork and iLife apps were the only apps that could run on the Mac. There’d still be a lot you could do with a Mac, and some would still buy them — but in all reality, if there were no 3rd party apps for the Mac, we’d all end up switching platforms.
Apps make or break our computing experiences. They’re what make a thousand dollar slab of aluminum turn into something that can do whatever we want. The lack of indie apps on Windows is one of the sharpest contrasts with the Mac’s vibrant 3rd party app market — and that’s what keeps our Macs being amazing machines, far more than the core stuff in OS X.
But apps are tough to make, and take serious time and money to develop and design and support. And it’s getting harder — the race to the bottom in app pricing has made it tough for developers to keep making amazing apps. It’s time we started helping developers out.
If you’ve been around the Apple scene for any period of time, you’ve probably learned about two of the best resources out there for finding out more about your Mac: Mactracker and the MacRumors Buyer’s Guide. Between those two places, you’ll learn what Macs you should buy and when, discover specifics about an older Mac and so much more. Heck, Mactracker helped me ID a Power Macintosh 9500 sitting around my friend’s office the other day.
Which is why, while watching the recent Apple Event, I started thinking about how long it’s been since the Mac mini has seen an update. And then when Phil Schiller said about hardware, specifically the Mac Pro. So what was this throw-away comment and what does it mean for the Mac mini? Let’s talk it out. (more…)
Update: And like that, Apple has updated Mail.app to mitigate the Gmail issues. Here’s to hoping it fixes everyone’s problems!
Did you, like me, rush out and update your Mac to run Mavericks? And did you just love the tabbed finder, added notifications and all of the other goodies? And did you then open Apple Mail, listen to the fan crank up to max and wonder why it showed 130% CPU usage in Activity Monitor?
Turns out that you’re not the only one. There’s been a shift in the way that Apple Mail handles Gmail accounts in Mavericks 10.9, and since tons of people use Gmail for their primary accounts, there’s a big problem on hand. TidBITS was the first to point it out (and that’s a great place to read the technical reasons why it’s broken), but today it’s a huge issue that needs to be fixed. Now. (more…)
It was a tuesday, and since I got home from the office early that day, I decided to pop into my son’s daycare to take him home. As I open the door, I see him (wearing a fireman’s hat) with two other boys, all crowded around a PC screen. They keep touching the CRT and my son says, “It’s broken.”
The touchscreen — and more specifically, the popularity of the iPhone and iPad — have changed the way we interact with technology. A few years ago, Steve Jobs was insistent that touchscreen computers just weren’t going to take off. But my three-year-old boy says different. And I think he might be right.
Read the rest of the post at iPad.AppStorm.net.
In-App Purchases have earned quite the bad reputation since they were first introduced to the App Store with iOS 3 in 2009. Their addition to the Mac App Store was met with dread and foreboding that it’d spell the end of quality paid apps in the wake of freemium apps filled with ridiculous in-app purchases. That hasn’t happened on the Mac yet, but on iOS, it seems like the traditional paid market is eroded more and more every day by free apps with in-app purchases.
The bad reputation is undeserved, though. I’m as critical of apps with in-app purchases as anyone could be — their very presence on free apps makes me skip the app by default unless it looks very impressive otherwise. But they don’t have to be bad.
Right now, the Mac App Store has escaped the worst of the race to the bottom in app pricing, in large part thanks to the fact that Mac developers can still distribute free trials to their apps on their own sites. It’s on the iPhone and iPad that in-app purchases have taken over, with a vengeance. Smartphone apps, perhaps, aren’t the best thing to compare to Mac apps, but iPad apps surely are fairly easily to compare, since many people today use iPads as laptop replacements. If in-app purchases are to be the future of app sales — especially on the Mac — they’d better be done right, and the best iPad apps with in-app purchases today are the best examples of how in-app purchases can be done well.
Paid apps aren’t dead, but in-app purchases are still going to be a big part of the app discussion going forward. Here’s what they need to make them work in a way that’s equal to or better than the traditional paid app market.