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Connecting the dots : iOS apps

May 3rd, 2012

“Connecting the dots” is the project in which we connect all our software editions (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Connect), so that they can talk to each other and sync data back and forth.

The first platform for which we will connect the dots is iOS (iPhone & iPad), simply because it fits in nicely with our other big project:

Adding, editing, barcode scanning and 2-way syncing for the iOS apps.
(because: Two-way syncing = Connecting the dots!)

Today, I am going to disclose how we will “connect” the iOS apps.
Next to that, I have other big news about the iOS apps.

If you own an iPhone or iPad (or are thinking about getting one), then make sure you read on:

Connecting the iOS apps

Imagine adding a new movie in Movie Collector on Windows, then later starting CLZ Movies on your iPad, and find the new movie already there? What about using your iPhone app to change the Collection Status of a book from Wish List to In Collection. Then when at home open Book Collector for Mac and find the same change has already been processed there?

That is how I would like to see our software work in the future:
Seamless and automatic data transfer. All editions in sync. No manual exporting, importing, uploading or downloading required.

Obviously, if the above is the end goal, then the only way to go is cloud-syncing. And of course, in the clz world, Cloud equals Connect.

So that is how the two-way syncing with the iOS apps will work: through Connect.

Initially, the syncing will be manual: Just upload to Connect from your desktop computer, then download from Connect on your iPhone or iPad. Made changes on your mobile device? Then go the other way around, up from mobile, down on your desktop.

We’ll “evolve” to more seamless cloud/connect syncing later.

Merging the iPhone and iPad apps

Okay, on to more big iOS news:

The iPhone and iPad apps will be merged.

Currently, we have separate apps for iPhone and iPad.
But the upcoming 2.0 versions will be multi-platform apps (called a “universal binary” by nerds like us).
Just one app that shows an optimized user interface on both the small screen of the iPhone and on the large screen of the iPad. One app, one purchase. Pay once to download and use it on both devices.

The apps that will remain are the current iPhone editions. These will be expanded into universal editions, to fully support the big screen iPad interface.
The current HD editions for iPad will be discontinued. Owners of the HD apps will be able to switch to the new universal edition for free (more details in the Q&A section below).

Question & Answers

About the two-way syncing through Connect:

Will I need a full Connect account?
No, you don’t need a full Connect account. A free Sync & Share subscription is good enough.

Which version of the software will I need?
You will need the latest version of your Windows or Mac software to do the 2-way syncing. Being on the latest version will also entitle you to the necessary free lifetime Sync & Share subscription.

Will I still be able to export the old-fashioned way?
Yes, the existing Export to CLZ app feature will be preserved and updated to support new fields. You only need the connect-syncing if you want to sync data back from your mobile to your desktop software.

About the merging of the iPhone and iPad apps:

Will the new version 2.0 app be a paid upgrade or a free upgrade?
The new CLZ 2.0 app (with adding, editing, scanning and connect syncing) will be a free upgrade of the iPhone edition.

What if I already own the iPad HD app, but not the iPhone app? Will I need to pay again?
No, you will not need to pay again. We will temporarily make the new “universal” edition free, e.g. for an entire weekend, so that all owners of the HD edition can download it for free. The “get it free” weekend will be clearly announced by email when your specific app is released. So watch your inbox.

What if I already own both the iPhone and iPad editions?
Then it’s even easier. Just remove the HD edition from your iPad, then download the new version on both your iPhone and iPad. Free of charge.

What about Android?

I am afraid that it is highly unlikely that the above features will ever be implemented for our Android apps. Mainly because the number of app being sold on Android is still lagging way behind iOS (iOS is generating more twice as many app sales). Even with the current iOS and Android apps having the exact same functionality…

Yes, we are aware that Android is more popular than iOS, in terms of devices sold. But what counts for us, as software developers, is app sales not device sales. And that is were Android is not doing so well. Many app developers like us see the same effects.
We can only guess at the reasons. Maybe Android users are less willing to pay for apps? Maybe many Android devices are in the hands of people who just wanted a cheap phone and are not even aware it runs Android and can run apps? I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter really. The numbers are what counts here.

Until this changes (which is unlikely because it has been like this for years), we simply cannot afford to spend more development time and money on Android. We just have to focus on the market where the most app buyers are. Sorry…