John Gruber on the Apple Watch

When the prices of the steel and (especially) gold Apple Watches are announced, I expect the tech press to have the biggest collective shit-fit in the history of Apple-versus-the-standard-tech-industry shit-fits. The utilitarian mindset that asks “Why would anyone waste money on a gold watch?” isn’t going to be able to come to grips with what Apple is doing here. They’re going to say that Jony Ive and Tim Cook have lost their minds. They’re going to wear out their keyboards typing “This never would have happened if Steve Jobs were alive.” They’re going to predict utter and humiliating failure…

And then people will line up around the block at Apple Stores around the world to buy them. I think Apple Watch prices are going to be shockingly high — gasp-inducingly, get-me-to-the-fainting-couch high — from the perspective of the tech industry. But at the same time, there is room for them to be disruptively low from the perspective of the traditional watch and jewelry world. There’s a massive pricing umbrella in the luxury watch world, and Apple is aiming to take advantage of it.

Apple Watch: Initial Thoughts and Observations – John Gruber, Daring Fireball (16 September 2014)

I read a comment the other day that the technology press is an oddly conservative group. I think so. It feels as if every time something new comes out it either gets slammed or exalted and then later positions quietly reverse. I’m thinking of when the iPhone came out and Apple was mocked; you don’t see so many technology sites mentioning their initial reports now. I’m also thinking of the fairly countless times a Microsoft or Samsung or Dell or generic Android device has been lauded and now you can’t even remember their name. And you didn’t buy them.

Gruber has a long piece examining the Apple Watch and in a small part about how it will be seen by this tech press. I think he’s actually quite down on the watch; for all his praise, he’s clear that he expects it to do more than Apple has announced so far or “Apple is in deep trouble”.

I like the watch more than he does. I like it a lot, I’m impressed, I’m buying.

But Apple’s always claimed to be at the intersection between technology and the arts, a spot and a phrase I rather like, where Gruber makes a case that it’s somewhere else. Somewhere more. The intersection of technology, arts, fashion and watches. With technology more in the background. I don’t know that I’m persuaded, I don’t know that it matters, but I think he’s right that it will be most visible in the pricing of the Apple Watch when it finally comes out.

Launching today: OmniFocus 2 for iPad

I lied to you. I said that the instant, the instant that OmniFocus 2 for iPad is out, I’m buying it. My heart was telling the truth: OmniFocus 1 for iPad has been that useful and the version 2 releases for the Mac and iPhone are great, I will be buying.

But OmniFocus 2 for iPad requires iOS 8 and until you have that, you can’t even see it in the App Store. I don’t know if it’s there yet: I can’t see it because I don’t have iOS 8.

The new iOS 8 is coming today and is likely to drop around 6pm UK time. By when I’ll be off working for the evening.

So let me amend all this to say that the instant, the instant I’m back from the work I’m doing, if iOS 8 is out then I’m getting that free upgrade immediately and if OmniFocus 2 for iPad is therefore revealed in App Store, I’m buying that instantly, instantly.

Not as pithy as my original line, is it?

While we wait, there are more details on The Omni Group blog which says in part:

Beyond its new design, OmniFocus 2 for iPad offers two great new iOS 8 extensions, interactive notifications so you can immediately complete or snooze a reminder, improved searching, and background syncing. And, of course, all of the great features pioneered in the original iPad app, such as the built-in Forecast and Review perspectives.

OmniFocus 2 will be available for just $29.99, and its Pro upgrade will be available as an optional in-app purchase for $19.99.

For those of you who purchased the first version of OmniFocus for iPad, we have a very special deal: we appreciate the support you’ve given us through the years, and we’re showing our appreciation in a very concrete way by giving you the $19.99 Pro upgrade for free.

Introducing OmniFocus 2 for iPad – Ken Case, The Omni Group (17 September 2014)

I do like how well this company treats its customers: the upgrade pricing is unnecessary, given that I would still just buy it, but obviously very welcome.

Eh? Get my book for £4,307.56 off

Friend of the blog John Soanes sent me this on Amazon. It’s my first The Blank Screen book going for £4,319.19 secondhand.

Now, I’ve seen it go for around the £60 mark and I liked that. I don’t see that cash but I was terribly chuffed that it was going up.

But it’s still on sale brand new so before you gawp like I did at the £4,319.19 price tag, click here to get it for £4,307.56 less.

And now, drum roll…


Your fee is part of how you advertise yourself

There are many online services now where you can hire writers and they all have several things in common. Without fail, the writers are charging practically no money at all or sometimes literally no money at all. This is because everybody thinks they can write and part of their stupidity is that they conclude that the way to get writing jobs is to be cheaper than anyone else.

Cue a race to the bottom as every amateur undercuts every other amateur and the professionals are left being told they’re too expensive.

Now, I’d be okay with this and I might even enjoy the karma that the quality and effectiveness and sometimes actual comprehensibility of the writing you get for free is exactly as bad as you’d imagine.

Unfortunately, companies who are stupid enough to hire writers who charge no money will tend to conclude that writers are crap. You can mock them for this but it won’t change their minds. They’ve gone to a writer, the writer is crap, all writers are crap.

It bothers me that this is what they conclude and I am only a little bit mollified by the fact that they’re going out of business on Tuesday.

There is a word for companies like this and it’s the same word for amateur writers: “goodbye”.

But in this race for the bottom you can unconsciously believe that you have to lower your prices to get any chance of a look in. Often, it’s true. That destroys or at least dents my argument a bit but then this undoes the dent, this repairs it and gives it all a polish: an app developer raised his price as an April Fools’ joke and it worked.

San Francisco-based developer Giacomo Balli doubled his take on his iPhone apps thanks to an April Fools’ Day joke. When he ratcheted up the price to an eye-popping $4.99 for an app that catalogs books, he got downloads instead of complaints.

The App Store lets devs change the sale price of their apps pretty much any time they like, but most folks take conventional routes: cutting prices during sales or dropping prices to free. Balli made his previously free apps premium with just a toggle.

“There weren’t any app updates, either,” he told Cult of Mac over the phone. “Just the price.”

How a dev doubled his revenue with an April Fools’ joke – Rob LeFebrve, Cult of Mac (22 August 2014)

The full piece has some thoughts about how this worked and how it had something to do with the specific target market for this app.

But the thing to take away for me is that your price is part of your advert for yourself. If you say you are worth something, you’re worth it.