iPod Touch / iPhone

sych

榜眼
Just to weigh in on this - I think first releasing on iPhone without Flashcards is perfectly acceptable, and "release early, release often" is probably the right strategy. However from my individual perspective, these are the core features that I want, and I'll be holding onto my Palm until they're in Pleco for iPhone:

- The dictionaries, of course (Particularly ABC, Oxford and Guifan)
- Self-scored repetition-spaced flashcards (The modes I use are: First show char, then reveal meaning and pron; and first show meaning and pron, then reveal char)
- Ability to convert/move my flashcards DB from Palm over to the iPhone (I'd probably be prepared to Jailbreak, if it was necessary)
- Flashcards DB needs to have categories, flashcards system should have profiles

Once those are available on Pleco for iPhone, I'll be switching immediately. I don't mind paying a reasonable fee for the "cross-grade".
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Is Oxford in there for its E-C or its C-E half? (or both?) Just curious...

All of those features should be supported by flashcards on iPhone one we do add them, the tricky algorithm / database-related code is all cross-platform so it's really just a matter of slapping a UI on it - we might bury a few features under several layers of tables if we want to reduce clutter / avoid confusing people, but pretty much everything should be accessible if you dig around. (i.e., there'd be virtually no benefit schedule-wise to taking out a feature like profiles or repetition-spacing, even if we thought those were features we could afford to lose)
 

sych

榜眼
mikelove said:
Is Oxford in there for its E-C or its C-E half? (or both?) Just curious...
C-E, I think. In general I find ABC more comprehensive and just better overall, but sometimes ABC gives some really zany definitions that don't match at all what I'm learning in class. While Oxford doesn't have as many examples and I prefer ABC's treatment of the grammar and its provision of measure words, Oxford's definitions are useful to have when ABC's don't look right.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Interesting. This is actually a good sign for the not-yet-announced-new-dictionary-which-from-my-other-comments-here-is-pretty-clearly-something-in-the-C-E-vein :)
 

dangdang

Member
It has been a while since I visited the forum since I have been using my iPod Touch instead of my Palm for some time. I wanted to find out how far off an iPhone/iTouch app is. There is currently a competitor called iCED that has a light version out and working on a fully loaded ABC based app. I just hope that Pleco can get out there in time to not get over shadowed on this new platform. Pleco is still the best Chinese dictionary I have used on a handheld device. I am just anxious to get it back again.

Thank you for your time and hard work Mike.

Adam
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
We're still not saying anything about release dates for iPhone. Re iCED, I'm honestly not that worried about them - ABC or no we're still in very different parts of the market, if we'd wanted to release something that was just a basic C-E dictionary for iPhone which happened to have the ABC dictionary in it we could have had that out months ago. People expect a lot more from us, so we're taking our time to make sure that our iPhone version is everything it possibly can be - if that means we get "overshadowed" and our eventual iPhone sales suffer then so be it, I'm not putting the Pleco name on a half-assed product just to beat somebody else to the market.
 

plecoUser

秀才
Hi Mike,

I can't wait to see what the iPhone/iPod touch version looks like - my wife and I are sick of using Windows Mobile (in all its varients) and are looking to pick up a couple of iPhones in the not too distant future. Obviously we still need Pleco (we love this product!), so is the intention to release an iPhone version of Pleco during 2009?

I know you don't want to talk dates (and having been a software devleoper myself I completely understand) BUT... is there any general indication you can give the community about an iPhone release? 2009? 2010?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Well, I'll put it this way. iPhone has been the main thing we've been working on since November. The last platform port we did (PlecoDict 1.0 on Windows Mobile) took about a year, and unlike 2.0, the 1.0 source code wasn't originally designed to be cross-platform, so probably half of that time went to just getting the core engine code (dictionary search algorithm and such) working on WM - we had all of that stuff working on iPhone within the first week of development. Now of course 2.0 is a lot more complicated than 1.0, with a lot more UI, and there's a lot of work involved in redesigning the user interface to work with a finger-driven touchscreen (the interface on WM in 1.0 was essentially identical to the interface on Palm, as is the case in 2.0), but regardless, I'll be very disappointed if it takes us longer to finish the iPhone port than it did to finish the WM one, particularly if we do indeed end up skipping flashcards in the first release (which is no longer certain, since Apple's adding the ability to send e-mails (with attachments) within third-party applications in iPhone OS 3.0 has provided an easy solution to the problem of how people can get their flashcard backups / exports off of their phones).
 

dangdang

Member
I also thought of you Mike when I heard that they are going to allow you to make purchases within an application in iPhone OS 3.0. That way we can buy additional dictionaries right from within the app! This is really going to be cool!!
 

dangdang

Member
Currently are you planning on using Pleco's own handwriting recognition software or just utilizing the built in iPhone/iTouch character input methods?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
We've already licensed the same Hanwang engine we use in our Palm / WM software for iPhone, so we'll be using that, though it'll most likely be optional so that people who are happy with the built-in methods (or have a jailbroken phone with another handwriting system they like) can save a bit of money.

And yes, In-App Purchase is definitely something we're excited about.
 

numble

状元
According to the blog of one of your competitors (initialed QW), they've already gotten over 20,000 downloads, and the app has been slowly creeping up in price from free, to $3.99 to now $5.99. So it's probably popular enough to sustain these price increases. Since Pleco will presumably be much more expensive comparatively (judging by past prices), have you thought of making a watered-down budget version to try to make money in volume? Relatedly, wouldn't it have to come out soon before you're overtaken in the low-price market?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Most of those 20,000 downloads likely came when that app was free - I think that's what we'd do, rather than charge $1 or $5 a copy for a watered-down version of Pleco we'd charge nothing for a slightly-more-watered-down version of Pleco in the hope that people would subsequently shell out for the full product. The exposure's more valuable than the small amount of additional revenue; given the choice between 30 customers at $1 or 1 customer at $30 I'd rather take the latter, since it entails 1/30 of the support time / download bandwidth / etc.
 

Luhmann

举人
A feature request for Pleco Touch or whatever the iPhone version will be called:

It would be great to be able to select text in Safari and have it sent automatically to the dictionary.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Not possible, unfortunately - we can look up text in the clipboard when you open Pleco (or we think that'll be possible, at least), but there's no way to automatically launch / pop up Pleco from within Safari.
 

gierkep

Member
Love your software, picked it up at the suggestion of program director of the Study abroad program I was in. Used it from then until the other day when my apartment was burgled (yay guangdong). So now Im looking into purchasing a new piece of hardware that will replace it. The one thing I never liked about pleco was having to carry a palm, and Im no fan of the palm phones. Realize you say you don't like to talk dates, but Ill buy an iPhone as long as i dont have to wait until next spring for the software. You mentioned originals took a year, and this has been getting developed faster than that. If you started in November that puts you sometime between now and October, right?
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
In theory, but I'd wait until the 2.0.2 release announcement e-mail (coming in a few days, I think) before making any decisions about an iPhone purchase.
 

alexxx

秀才
I lost my glofiish yesterday, and discovered that life can be even better without a cellphone - but not without Pleco.

I hated its windows interface, so I was excited in discovering the iPleco project - but the iPhone price is really too much for me.
Then I found out that you will support the iPod touch, so my project now is that I'll live without cellphone (free at last!) AND I'llbuy me an iPod.
Could you just please assure me - if you can - that it will run exactly the same as on the iPhone? Any ipod touch version will do? I guess its ram is 128mb, will it be enough?

thanks for your wonderful work...


alessandro
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
It should be pretty similar - assuming you can get it online with WiFi I can't think of any way that it would be inferior to using Pleco on an iPhone 3G other than the lack of an always-on internet connection (not required for basic use of Pleco, though there are a few functions that do rely on internet access). It wouldn't perform as well as the iPhone 3GS, though, and there are one or two features that may work a lot more smoothly on that on account of the 3GS's 256 MB of RAM.

I'd pick the 2G over the 1G iPod Touch on account of its faster processor - seems to result in a noticeable improvement in performance. You might want to delay that purchase a bit, since there's a good chance (if history is any guide) that the recent release of the 3GS will be followed by that of a new iPod Touch - even if that doesn't interest you, the prices of the older models should fall after it comes out.

As with every prediction I make about iPhone, though, I have to caution you that all of that's subject to change and there's certainly a chance that we might end up with one or more features that are exclusive to iPhone or to the 3GS specifically (e.g. if Apple requires us to selectively disable something on the iPod Touch because the performance falls short). It's even theoretically possible Apple might force us to make the product an iPhone exclusive and not have it work on the iPod Touch at all - I've never actually heard of them doing this, but it's within their power to, and I can't make any promises about things beyond Pleco's control. Of course they could also reject our product altogether and refuse to ever eventually approve it, in which case it wouldn't be available on the iPod Touch or the iPhone. So I wouldn't really recommend buying an iPhone / iPod with the expectation of running Pleco on it until Pleco for iPhone is actually released.
 
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