Mac App Store

phyrex

Member
mikelove said:
Also, their built-in Pinyin IME is far far less sophisticated than Microsoft's, and while there are a few third-party ones available I don't think they're on the same level as third-party Windows ones like Sogou.
I beg to differ: Give IMKQIM (-> http://glider.ismac.cn/RegQIME.html ) a try. It's at least as good as the sogou thing (and uses the same database) and is a lot less annoying!
 

radioman

状元
I use IMKQIM - It could be argued I'm not the ultimate expert, but IMKQIM seems to work very well.

With regard to the App Store, I am impressed with it - anything that makes finding/loading of files easier. Ran across OCRTOOLS - It's supposed to OCR/translate clipboard captures, etc. I am still checking it out, but the concept is interesting.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
radioman said:
With regard to the App Store, I am impressed with it - anything that makes finding/loading of files easier. Ran across OCRTOOLS - It's supposed to OCR/translate clipboard captures, etc. I am still checking it out, but the concept is interesting.
Based on his iOS app, I would think - our Chinese OCR engine can run circles around it and it runs fine on Mac, so if there's a market for that sort of thing it would be quite easy for us to package up our own Mac OS OCR app even if we're still a ways away from releasing a full-on Pleco for Mac. I'm not sure if we'd want to release it through the Mac App Store, though - that would make it much trickier to do things like credit people for their previous OCR purchase in a future full-fledged Pleco desktop product.
 

radioman

状元
I can never argue with the fact of Pleco's more than fair upgrade policies. I have utilized Pleco the Palm platform, rotated through broken devices, moved over to my iPhone, and have always been well supported.

Maybe I am getting lazy, but in the limited time I have used the Mac App Store, it's just convenient. There is an argument to be made for offering the convenience vs. the traditional Mac online direct purchase route. If the purchase was, say, under 25 dollars, then the convenience vs. 18 dollars through a direct channel where: 1) Apple does not take a cut; and 2) less risk to getting one's money back in the case of dissatisfaction. As well, Pleco would reach more customers (I do believe...).

I certainly would not want to buy something twice, but OCR integrated and OCR as a standalone maybe could be sold as two separate items. Customers would have to get their head around that idea I guess. Maybe make it a free feature for those that buy the full Pleco product). 想一想。。。

Personally, I would love to see the standalone OCR application ASAP. Unless I'm missing something, nowhere is there a program now that gives me the ability on my Mac to just run my mouse over text ANYWHERE on the screen and get the translation. I've seen this on PCs, but not Mac computers. I am wondering if Pleco could come up with a mouse-over function that could read anywhere on the screen -on the fly - from Skype, QQ, Chrome, photos, ANYTHING - and then give the option to save to a word list. If you get that working I will buy it in a second.

And if there was some reason that the functionality could not be offered through the Mac App Store due to some sort of Apple restriction, yeah, I would go through the effort of a credit card purchase off Pleco's storefront to get the functionality.

And if you wanted a pre-alpha tester, I'm in.

mikelove said:
Based on his iOS app, I would think - our Chinese OCR engine can run circles around it and it runs fine on Mac, so if there's a market for that sort of thing it would be quite easy for us to package up our own Mac OS OCR app even if we're still a ways away from releasing a full-on Pleco for Mac. I'm not sure if we'd want to release it through the Mac App Store, though - that would make it much trickier to do things like credit people for their previous OCR purchase in a future full-fledged Pleco desktop product.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
radioman said:
Maybe I am getting lazy, but in the limited time I have used the Mac App Store, it's just convenient. There is an argument to be made for offering the convenience vs. the traditional Mac online direct purchase route. If the purchase was, say, under 25 dollars, then the convenience vs. 18 dollars through a direct channel where: 1) Apple does not take a cut; and 2) less risk to getting one's money back in the case of dissatisfaction. As well, Pleco would reach more customers (I do believe...).
It's way too easy to pirate apps in Mac App Store right now - maybe Mac OS 10.7 will introduce more effective DRM but right now there's no way I'm entrusting any licensed code or content to something that's that easy to break.

radioman said:
Personally, I would love to see the standalone OCR application ASAP. Unless I'm missing something, nowhere is there a program now that gives me the ability on my Mac to just run my mouse over text ANYWHERE on the screen and get the translation. I've seen this on PCs, but not Mac computers. I am wondering if Pleco could come up with a mouse-over function that could read anywhere on the screen -on the fly - from Skype, QQ, Chrome, photos, ANYTHING - and then give the option to save to a word list. If you get that working I will buy it in a second.
ASAP is a stretch because of Android - that really does have to be our first priority new-platform-wise, even if an OS X version would be considerably less work and even if personally I loathe Android development and would have a lot more fun working on Pleco for OS X, the calls for an Android version are way too loud to delay that release any longer than we absolutely have to.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
radioman said:
Yeah, I saw numbers somewhere like 1800% increase in sales - but obviously, judgement needs to be made on risk/reward - and whether the sales are sustained or just upon introduction to the store, yada, yada... but the big jump in various reported sales is interesting.
Yes, and in the case of Pixelmator I think this had a lot more to do with the pricing than anything else - they dropped it all the way from $80 to $30, at which point it stopped being an expensive (albeit still much cheaper than Photoshop) professional app and became something that anybody could buy to retouch photos and such. App Store may have helped make that business model practical, but I bet an awful lot of those sales were simply from people like me who'd eyed Pixelmator interestedly in the past but couldn't justify spending $80 on it.

(and I'm not blind to the parallels between this and Pleco, but unlike Pixelmator we're at the mercy of a whole lot of per-copy royalty fees - we generally would make considerably less money selling two copies of a product for $50 than we would selling one copy of it for $100)
 

radioman

状元
Its arguable - the lowering price certainly helps (case and point - I think based on your comments, now that I'm thinging about it, I MIGHT go buy Pixilmator...! :) ). But I still believe the ease of just finding the product, seeing ratings of others, in one nice location, carries a lot of weight. Can't fix the royalty thing. As the world shifts further digital, one would hope that the publishers would shift their positions as well. However, from what I know, they are loathe to evolve with any expediency.

mikelove said:
Yes, and in the case of Pixelmator I think this had a lot more to do with the pricing than anything else - they dropped it all the way from $80 to $30, at which point it stopped being an expensive (albeit still much cheaper than Photoshop) professional app and became something that anybody could buy to retouch photos and such. App Store may have helped make that business model practical, but I bet an awful lot of those sales were simply from people like me who'd eyed Pixelmator interestedly in the past but couldn't justify spending $80 on it.

(and I'm not blind to the parallels between this and Pleco, but unlike Pixelmator we're at the mercy of a whole lot of per-copy royalty fees - we generally would make considerably less money selling two copies of a product for $50 than we would selling one copy of it for $100)
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Took me a few weeks to put this together, and it may be that some blogger I don't read has already suggested this, but here goes:

I think the big secret feature in Mac OS 10.7 is going to be support for ARM processors, and I think the big secret feature of the iPhone 5 is going to be that it can be docked to turn into a full OS X system. (the iPad 2 might get support for this through a software update since I don't think Apple's ready to announce it quite yet)

Apple has a huge advantage in fighting Google that they haven't tapped yet, and that's the fact that they also control a popular desktop operating system with a large base of well-designed apps running pretty much the same APIs as their phones; Google might go there eventually, but even if they turn around and announce they're doing a desktop version of Android tomorrow it'll take years to get things like Photoshop and Office ported over. (both of which were recently rewritten to use the iPhone-friendly Cocoa APIs, perhaps after some prodding from Apple)

The Motorola Atrix is going partway on this by being dockable, but without actual desktop apps it's unlikely to see much use beyond a few early-adopter types; a "Mac that you can carry in your pocket," with cloud storage (hello brand new billion dollar data center) and an already up-and-runnning app store, supplemented by a stunning-for-a-phone 128GB internal drive (or maybe 64, but they managed to get 128 into a $1200 MacBook Air), would be as much of a game changer as the iPad was in 2010.

This has to be at the heart of Microsoft's decision to do a full version of Windows on ARM too - it's the best chance they've had to crawl back to a respectable place in the smartphone market.

I've been talking about smartphone-PC convergence for years, but I think in 2011 it's finally going to happen, and I think Apple's going to do it first with the iPhone 5.
 

gato

状元
Hehe. I think Apple will keep iOS and MacOS separate because they want you to buy at least two or three separate devices: an iPhone, an iPad, and an Mac Air/Book. Convergence would go too far to merge the very careful product segments they've built up.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
gato said:
Hehe. I think Apple will keep iOS and MacOS separate because they want you to buy at least two or three separate devices: an iPhone, an iPad, and an Mac Air/Book. Convergence would go too far to merge the very careful product segments they've built up.
They don't want Microsoft to get ahead of them - have to be the first ones in on this just as they were with capacitive-screen phones / mobile-OS-based tablets / WiFi / USB / GUIs / etc. The industry's bound to move this way eventually - at some point all of these gadgets are just CPUs with differently-sized screens - and they want to make sure they're right out in front when it does.

But maybe it's more of an iPhone 6 / OS 10.8 thing, yeah...
 

gato

状元
The industry's bound to move this way eventually - at some point all of these gadgets are just CPUs with differently-sized screens
That'll be good for the consumer but less good for the vendor. ;-) Maybe that's why they are trying to get in on the content business, getting a 30% cut on everything sold anywhere in the world.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
gato said:
Maybe that's why they are trying to get in on the content business, getting a 30% cut on everything sold anywhere in the world.
Well there's nothing that says that 10.7 on ARM devices has to run unsigned apps...
 

numble

状元
mikelove said:
Took me a few weeks to put this together, and it may be that some blogger I don't read has already suggested this, but here goes:

I think the big secret feature in Mac OS 10.7 is going to be support for ARM processors, and I think the big secret feature of the iPhone 5 is going to be that it can be docked to turn into a full OS X system. (the iPad 2 might get support for this through a software update since I don't think Apple's ready to announce it quite yet)

Apple has a huge advantage in fighting Google that they haven't tapped yet, and that's the fact that they also control a popular desktop operating system with a large base of well-designed apps running pretty much the same APIs as their phones; Google might go there eventually, but even if they turn around and announce they're doing a desktop version of Android tomorrow it'll take years to get things like Photoshop and Office ported over. (both of which were recently rewritten to use the iPhone-friendly Cocoa APIs, perhaps after some prodding from Apple)

The Motorola Atrix is going partway on this by being dockable, but without actual desktop apps it's unlikely to see much use beyond a few early-adopter types; a "Mac that you can carry in your pocket," with cloud storage (hello brand new billion dollar data center) and an already up-and-runnning app store, supplemented by a stunning-for-a-phone 128GB internal drive (or maybe 64, but they managed to get 128 into a $1200 MacBook Air), would be as much of a game changer as the iPad was in 2010.

This has to be at the heart of Microsoft's decision to do a full version of Windows on ARM too - it's the best chance they've had to crawl back to a respectable place in the smartphone market.

I've been talking about smartphone-PC convergence for years, but I think in 2011 it's finally going to happen, and I think Apple's going to do it first with the iPhone 5.
Very interesting idea that I haven't heard about. When they talked about getting Windows running on ARM, I always thought it was about getting it onto tablets, but the dock idea also makes a lot of sense. If you can bring your desktop everywhere in your pocket, people would seriously consider Windows Phone 7.

I think it's more of a iPhone 6 thing though. They still need to get widgets, notifications, NFC, interapp communications, etc. into the present iOS.

But with all of the buckets of money they are making off of iOS (More iPads sold than Macs) they can afford to dump tons of money into iOS development.
 

character

状元
Interesting idea Mike, and I don't disagree that they have OS X running on ARM in the lab, but IMO the problem with your conclusion is they already have a well-supported OS on their mobile devices -- iOS. I think for now they'll keep enhancing it until it meets the everyday computing needs of non-geeks and non-power users. It's not a big deal for a big tech company to support multiple operating systems, and Apple's the biggest tech company at the moment.

ARM support in the near term is good for making MacBook Airs which run for a full day on a charge, and perhaps fanless Mac Minis.

While it's clear they are inching toward convergence, OS X isn't ready for touchscreen operation. Once we see touchscreen Macs from Apple with touch/gestures in OS X, then convergence will be near. Apple will want a good user experience when running OS X on a small touchscreen, and it's not there yet.

My Apple-watching has brought me to the conclusion that Apple moves slower than one would expect, and despite the App Store/iTunes, is mainly a hardware company. Selling you a $600 phone which takes the place of a $600 phone and $1000 MacBook and $700 Mac Mini isn't the first thought to cross their mind.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
character said:
Interesting idea Mike, and I don't disagree that they have OS X running on ARM in the lab, but IMO the problem with your conclusion is they already have a well-supported OS on their mobile devices -- iOS. I think for now they'll keep enhancing it until it meets the everyday computing needs of non-geeks and non-power users. It's not a big deal for a big tech company to support multiple operating systems, and Apple's the biggest tech company at the moment.

ARM support in the near term is good for making MacBook Airs which run for a full day on a charge, and perhaps fanless Mac Minis.

While it's clear they are inching toward convergence, OS X isn't ready for touchscreen operation. Once we see touchscreen Macs from Apple with touch/gestures in OS X, then convergence will be near. Apple will want a good user experience when running OS X on a small touchscreen, and it's not there yet.
I'm not thinking they'll ever redesign OS X for touchscreen operation, actually - they've clearly said they want to keep the two separate, and the UI conventions that make sense on desktops/laptops versus touchscreen devices are quite different.

However, iOS and OS X share enough of their internals that it's not impossible that they might eventually become simply two different sets of user interface APIs on top of the same underlying OS - an application might have one UI in touchscreen phone mode and a different one in mouse-and-keyboard computer mode. Cloud data sync is pretty good, but being able to carry your entire PC in your pocket and drop it into a standardized dock anywhere with all of your applications / settings / data / etc exactly the way you want them is really taking things to a whole new level.

But you're quite right that in the near-term it might have some interesting possibilities for Apple's desktop / laptop offerings - in the case of the MBA I'm not sure how much smaller they could really make it without sacrificing ergonomics or making it impossible to include a full-sized USB port, but it could make for longer battery life / lower costs for the MBA and the low-end MBP and Mac Minis that look more like the Apple TV. (perhaps some convergence possibilities there...)
 

character

状元
mikelove said:
I'm not thinking they'll ever redesign OS X for touchscreen operation, actually - they've clearly said they want to keep the two separate, and the UI conventions that make sense on desktops/laptops versus touchscreen devices are quite different.
One also can't trust what they say. http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-a ... touch.html

However, iOS and OS X share enough of their internals that it's not impossible that they might eventually become simply two different sets of user interface APIs on top of the same underlying OS - an application might have one UI in touchscreen phone mode and a different one in mouse-and-keyboard computer mode. Cloud data sync is pretty good, but being able to carry your entire PC in your pocket and drop it into a standardized dock anywhere with all of your applications / settings / data / etc exactly the way you want them is really taking things to a whole new level.
I guess it's possible; certainly this year's phones are powerful enough to power most normal folk's PCs. But is there a reason they wouldn't just enhance iOS the minimum needed to support some additional hardware and a few OS features to make it close enough to a real computer? At this point, more people are more familiar with iOS than OS X. I think Apple really likes the locked down nature of iOS, so convergence would lean toward it instead of being a union of it at OS X.
 

donnacha

Member
For what it is worth, I actually went to the Mac App Store today to buy Pleco, I did not realize that it was mobile-only.

Two years in, the Mac App Store has turned out to a massive driver of OS X software sales and the pool is expanding rapidly: Mac hardware sales are accelerating at a time when the rest of the PC market is stagnating. The 15" Retina Macbook Pro has been the fastest selling laptop of all time in its first 3 months, despite being very expensive, and it is widely expected that a cheaper 13" Retina Macbook, to be released in October, will be even more popular.

I would be interested in using Pleco on iOS and OS X, I do a lot of work on both. I sense that there is a reasonably large cross-section of people who use both and my guess is that OS X availability would, therefore, make the iOS version an even more attractive prospect for many people. If, as is also widely expected, a cheaper iPad Mini is released next month, it is likely to be a big hit with schools and that is one scenario in which the adoption of an iOS + OS X Pleco would be more attractive i.e. if teachers can use it on Macs while their students use it on their iPads.

I understand that there are a lot of Android users out there, I can understand the attraction, but I have a strong hunch that the time it would take to port to OS X might do more to entrench Pleco and result in more actual sales.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Thanks for your thoughts on this.

donnacha said:
For what it is worth, I actually went to the Mac App Store today to buy Pleco, I did not realize that it was mobile-only.
Have you tried Bluestacks yet? Not perfect but a number of people have reported success running our Android app in that.

donnacha said:
I understand that there are a lot of Android users out there, I can understand the attraction, but I have a strong hunch that the time it would take to port to OS X might do more to entrench Pleco and result in more actual sales.
The bigger question now is actually Windows Phone 8 - Microsoft has pulled off kind of a coup by (apparently) making it possible to write an app for their new mobile OS that will also work on desktop Windows with just a recompile, whereas an OS X port would be considerably more time-consuming since a lot of the programming interfaces are actually quite different. So we have to look at both the initial customer response to that and at the (still-unreleased) software development kit, but if it turns out to be at all in the same ballpark development-time-wise as an OS X port, then it would be tough to pick OS X over that.

At the same time, though, iCloud sync with a desktop Mac app does have some appeal - it's just a question of which allocation of our limited resources will do the most good for our business and our customers.

But all of these possibilities are a good ways off since right now we're just trying to catch up on our backlog of new features on iOS - we won't even consider another platform until we've gotten a couple of big iOS updates under our belt.
 
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