In *this* post, I’ll go a bit more in-depth on some of our decisions.
1) App Store Exclusive? Really?
Yeah. We thought long and hard about this, and decided to commit ourselves fully to the App Store. There are some rough edges here and there, but we see this move as highly beneficial for both us and our users.
For one, we can close our own shop and cut all connections with third-party payment services. Everything will be handled in one place, so there’s a whole lot less to worry about, a lot less maintenance.
We won’t need to worry about distribution, installing, licensing, copy protection anymore. We can now send users to the App Store, and it’s all handled from there, so there’re less chances of messing things up on our side, and less hassle on the user’s side.
The App Store review process, painful and slow as it may be, actually injects another layer of quality management to our already rather high standard. It’s not that we won’t beta-test anymore, but it’s nice to have an independent entity (*g*) double-check for us.
In the future (long-term, really) we can fully focus on one version — the App Store version. We have not announced nor are we planning to release it anytime soon, but IF Ulysses 3.0 sees the light of day, we won’t keep two seperate builds alive. This mostly concerns update- and licensing-systems, but still.
Also, we can’t shake the feeling that the App Store will be the only way to distribute apps on Mac OS X in the long run. This has been on the horizon for some time, and whether you or we like it or not, it’s going to happen. So we might as well jump on the bandwaggon early, roll with it, and gain experience in the process.
2) Pricing aka IS THIS A PROMO OR WHAT?!?!
You may have noticed that we have opted for a rather moderate price for Ulysses on the Mac App Store. It’s $29.99, in case you did *not* notice, he.
That’s more or less what we charged for updates in the past. And it’s permanent. This is *not* promo-pricing or “first-day app store hurrah” — it’s permanent. It’s Ulysses’ new price point, and we think it’s a steal.
The reasoning for this move is simple: There are no upgrade paths on the App Store or *to* the App Store. Current users of 1.x (or Core/Edu) who would like to upgrade to 2.0 should still be able to do so without paying a “full version” price. More importantly, though: New versions will either have to be free updates or completely new, stand-alone apps. Again, we’re not announcing 3.0 here, but IF and WHEN we’ll release a full version jump in the future, you’re going to just buy that new app. And you’ll pay again.
It’s just like what Apple did all along with iLife/iWork, and just like they’re doing now with Aperture, iPhoto etc. on the App Store. The idea being that every version’s price is an upgrade-price — with 1.0 being an upgrade from nothing at all, so to say. Initial pricing for new apps is a thing of the past now, 20th century, as are upgrade paths and cross-grade promotions.
It’s all good, because it’s clear, simple, and much more consistent than any current system.
On a side-note: The App Store’s tier system makes away with currency exchange rates, which for us is a big plus. Prices in each country/currency will stay persistent now, which is in stark contrast to our ever-changing dollar-prices of the past.
3) For something that hasn’t been announced yet, you’re mentioning Ulysses 3.0 a lot.
He. It will happen one day, we all know that.
4) How will your move to the App Store influence Ulysses’ development? E.g., will you start releasing point updates every two weeks now?
Nah, but the App Store does have an effect, no doubt. We’ve already rerstructured our development process to some degree, in that we’ve begun to work in tighter segments and do more planning ahead, road-mapping. And we’re taking dedicated breaks to work on other projects. And I think we might very well go for a true dev-cycle-system in the near future, releasing full versions every 18 months or so, and focusing solely on bug-fixing in-between. But we’re not there yet. ;)
5) Will your other projects (Daedalus, HouseParty etc.) set back Ulysses’ development?
Depends on one’s point of view. We don’t think our other projects set back Ulysses, because of the aforementioned tighter development segments or phases. We prepared Ulysses for the App Store in four weeks (or so), because we had just begun kicking Daedalus development into high gear. I believe that without Daedalus on our backs, we would’ve taken twice the time — not just due to less pressure, but due to us trying to integrate additional features or such, making the App Store launch “big”, “worthy”, whatever.
So in terms of time spent on Ulysses — yeah, we spend less time on Ulysses. But the time is better spent now, as we’re much more focussed.
6) How will your move to the App Store effect previously purchased versions of Ulysses? Think updates…
The auto-update server will continue to serve updates for as long as 2.x is in development. These updates will coincide with updates served through the App Store, so both versions should always be in sync. Once we are no longer selling 2.x, updates will cease, as did updates for 1.x in the past. There’s nothing to worry about, really, we won’t forget nor abandon our current user-base.
7) How will your move to the App Store effect 1.x versions of Ulysses? Think registration system…
Right now, nothing has changed. We’re still running the registration server, as we are running the auto-update server. At some point in the future, we will offer a free patch to users of Ulysses 1.x to remove the registration check. It’s not high priority, so don’t expect this to happen very soon, but it will happen eventually.
Stapler is freeware for the time being; partly due to our closure of the shop. We want to extend a very warm “thank you” to everybody who paid the old shareware fee. We’ve not yet decided if we bring Stapler to the Mac App Store.
And that’s it for now.
Any more questions, feel free to ask.