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Re: Apps and stuff

Postby onesecondglance » Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:22 pm

the reason you're not going to see Cubase or Photoshop sold for £10 a pop to 50,000,000 customers instead of £500 a go to 100,000 customers is because there aren't 50,000,000 people who want the full features of those programs.

there is no difference between an iPhone app and a full-blown PC program except complexity and the language it's written in. "app" means application, same as the applications you have all over your computer. it's just that, to be able to run on a small device without a lot of power, they generally only do one thing and focus on doing it well. that's it. full stop. no difference.

if you want simple in terms of features, that can be developed cheaply and sold at those low price points. simple features - single use apps. even if that single feature is technically complex - e.g. the iRig app - it's still only one thing. one thing can be sold for a low price point and lots of people who want just one thing will buy it.

apps like Cubase and Photoshop are vastly more complicated and have many, many more features. they have these features because the main audience for these apps use them in depth - they are designed to appeal to power users. power users are generally willing to pay more for the product if it does all the things they want.

casual users, on the other hand, don't want so many features and certainly won't be willing to shell out so much for an app. but even if you were to strip out the feature set down to the very basics so you could market it to casual users, i doubt you'd be able to get enough of them on board to pay back the development cost. music, video, serious photo editing - like it or not, these are niche areas and there aren't that many interested people, not when compared to fart apps and LOL FUNNY JOKEZ 4 U apps.

so we're not going to see proper music applications being sold for less than they currently are just because Apple decided they'd tell us something that already exists is an innovation (Nokia had apps well before iPhone, as did RIM...).

what we might see is actually a shift away from limited feature set apps with cloud computing, as Pete was saying. mobile apps are limited because there's only so much you can do with a little processor and not very much memory - but if all the hard work is being done on a remote server, all your mobile device has to do is display what's going on. that means you can have a much lower powered CPU, less memory, and instead put the hardware focus on a good GPU and a great display. without changing your price point for your mobile device you can suddenly have it do a lot more, and look a lot better when it does it. cool! your mobile device isn't running Cubase, Sibelius and Amplitube, the servers are, and you're just controlling and reviewing them.

so... whether they're on tablets or mobile devices, apps will remain priced according to their feature set and development cost. but cloud processing might mean you don't have to spend so much on hardware to use them.
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Re: Apps and stuff

Postby robinv » Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:27 pm

The Elf wrote:

In the tight-knit audo-centric technical world that you and I inhabit we tend to imagine that everyone shares our interest - in reality the number is tiny.
It is and it isn't. Sales of guitars and other instruments are huge. Sales of Rock Band and other music based games are huge. A large proportion of guitarists also but effects, amps and recorders. It's not that the interest isn't there, it's that the computer is still a barrier to most people. The iphone has bypassed all that by essentially cutting the computer out of the equation - no extra interface or soundcard, no configuration, just download and it works - same largely with GarageBand. The inverse argument is that Cubase appears out of reach to most people because it's expensive and therefore complicated to use - which it isn't. How many copies of Fruity Loops get sold these days? Lots i think. But who knows - i'm only commenting and musing on what i see happening at the moment.
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Re: Apps and stuff

Postby robinv » Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:37 pm

Carillon Audio Systems wrote:There is also the point that when you get to the £10 mark you aren't investing any real money so you don't invest as much time learning an application. It becomes too throw away and so the depth that would be in an application such a full DAW wouldn't be found by most of it's users so although it might have a killer feature is wouldn't stand out over a basic option at the same sort of price.

If you have decided to pay £300-1000 on software your going to take your time and learn it.
I think that's an illusion. You and I who get given our SRC dongles and NFR's have a hard time understanding the value and cost of software. I use Cubase all the time and have never had to pay for it. I agree that if you are paying hundreds of pounds then that's not a casual purchase - the flip side is that if it's a tenner then you might well buy 5 DAW's rather than one or simply buy an effect that you'll only use once. I can understand the value issue but it's self-imposed. I get as much enjoyment out of music i ripped off a friend as i do from a CD i purchased myself - but then i'm evil.
I'm working with Adobe at the moment and have just been given CS5 - i have spent hours and hours training myself in it and will spend weeks more i'm sure - and yet it has cost me nothing, instead i'm aware of its value as a creative tool rather than its monetary price. All good points though :)
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Re: Apps and stuff

Postby robinv » Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:51 pm

onesecondglance wrote:
so... whether they're on tablets or mobile devices, apps will remain priced according to their feature set and development cost. but cloud processing might mean you don't have to spend so much on hardware to use them.

Boo, hiss, you will pay for your lack of vision :round1:


onesecondglance wrote:
there is no difference between an iPhone app and a full-blown PC program except complexity and the language it's written in. "app" means application, same as the applications you have all over your computer. it's just that, to be able to run on a small device without a lot of power, they generally only do one thing and focus on doing it well. that's it. full stop. no difference.
I don't agree - my initial question was about these "apps" (and we all know what it means, but it has become a term in it's own right and is helpful in this discussion because we all understand what we are referring to - yes?) and their availability outside the iPad closed system. There's stuff coming out that isn't available elsewhere. The Amplitube app is far more complex than the Amplitube Live software and yet is £94.01 cheaper. So there is a difference, both in software, in market and in pricing model. Something new has happened here - whether there were apps on previous phones or not nothing has had this kind of impact before. Maybe this is the honeymoon period but i (and only i by the look of it) find it interested and am wondering (against a lot of opposition) what sort of impact this could have on our industry and software in general.

onesecondglance wrote:music, video, serious photo editing - like it or not, these are niche areas and there aren't that many interested people, not when compared to fart apps and LOL FUNNY JOKEZ 4 U apps.
Too true, although i again find that almost every person i meet wants to edit video, fiddle with music and pictures on their computer... people are interested but we like to keep ourselves to ourselves.
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Re: Apps and stuff

Postby robinv » Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:52 pm

Pete Kaine wrote:

And I agree with all that whole heartedly. I'm the same, I've spent many hours playing Audiosurf, which I'm sure I'd never have bought otherwise and my client is full of games I've bought on impulse when they've been in a sale that I've never even downloaded after paying!

I'll check that out - i've lost days to Chime recently - fabulous.
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Re: Apps and stuff

Postby Carillon Audio Systems » Wed Oct 13, 2010 5:02 pm

I think that's an illusion.
It sure is but perceived value relating to price pays a big part in commerce and consumers attitude (just ask Apple users!!!)

So I think that Apps will remain fun throw away items but where they could be interesting is ones that interact with your main software, say a Cubase app for tracking live gigs, no other features just track and set levels, this when plugged into your main Cubase DAW expands to allow you to mix and finish the project and the app turns in to a control surface, these are the ways I see music software developing.

Cloud computing will be driven by games and gamers I reckon, what happened to that Cloud Xbox rival that was big news a couple of years ago?
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Re: Apps and stuff

Postby onesecondglance » Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:21 am

robinv wrote:So there is a difference, both in software, in market and in pricing model. Something new has happened here - whether there were apps on previous phones or not nothing has had this kind of impact before. Maybe this is the honeymoon period but i (and only i by the look of it) find it interested and am wondering (against a lot of opposition) what sort of impact this could have on our industry and software in general.

software - it's a different programming language. that's it.
market - that is a difference, yes. having a single shopfront to sell these things isn't something we really had before.
pricing model - is a function of the market.

the only difference is the shopfront - how these things are sold. the underlying programs are not any different. shareware, freeware, donationware - they're all out there and being used by millions of people, on windows machines, macs, and on linux boxes. all that's different is the gathering of them together in one place and Apple / Google / whoever taking a nice little cut of whatever money changes hands...

so all that's changed is the distribution model. not the time or expertise it takes to make the software.

the bottom line is still the numbers. let's revisit the example from my earlier post. Cubase 5 retails for £417 - call it £400 for roundness. Steinberg's website says they have 1.5 million users worldwise. for the purposes of this let's say that only 10% of those users have Cubase (and all the others are using Nuendo, Wavelab, or other things). so that 150,000 people.

150,000 people paying £400 = £60,000,000

if Cubase were £10 a go, though:

£60,000,000 / £10 = 6,000,000 people

they would have to increase their userbase by 4000% to make the same as they do now. 4000%. that's just not gonna happen. sure, you may well get a few more sales if it were only £10 - although some people would actually leave, because they equate cheap software with bad software - but i seriously doubt that many more.

even if we were to say that, of that £400, 75% is all profit for a greedy corporation, you'd still need to sell 10 times as many copies at £10 a go to break even.

so if you want to sell it for £10 a go, you need to cut development costs so you don't need as many users. that means you cut features. where else are you going to cut costs? if you do less testing your software becomes unstable and no one will want it. if you do less UI design your software will be unusable and ugly and no one will want it. if you do less innovation your software will be obsolete and no one will want it.

where exactly are you going to make the savings?
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Re: Apps and stuff

Postby onesecondglance » Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:32 am

Carillon Audio Systems wrote:So I think that Apps will remain fun throw away items but where they could be interesting is ones that interact with your main software, say a Cubase app for tracking live gigs, no other features just track and set levels, this when plugged into your main Cubase DAW expands to allow you to mix and finish the project and the app turns in to a control surface, these are the ways I see music software developing.

this seems like a realistic future! free controller apps, low cost single feature apps, all designed to plug into a full-blown system further down the line.

Carillon Audio Systems wrote:Cloud computing will be driven by games and gamers I reckon, what happened to that Cloud Xbox rival that was big news a couple of years ago?

the media made a big deal out of a service that wasn't actually that great. cloud processing relies upon having a great network connection, and the infrastructure for that isn't around yet. once it is more widespread this sort of idea might take off.

personally i like the idea of using a big server's computing power but not the idea of also storing all my save files on that server. i suspect the vast majority of musicians would feel the same about their projects!
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Re: Apps and stuff

Postby robinv » Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:53 pm

onesecondglance wrote:

software - it's a different programming language. that's it.
No, not really. I can't pickup my 24" LCD screen and pretend to drink a pint of guinness with it, i can't rock my keyboard from side to side in order to move items on the screen, i can't bump my tower into another computer in order to exchange a file. It's not just "software" - the software in my washing machine isn't the same as the software in my car - it's all just "software" but it's very different, how it's being used, how it's being sold, what it enables you to do, taking advantage of unique hardware functionality that's no very portable to other platforms - lots and lots of differences.

Cubase - well, y'know, it's all just guess work and future predictions. My suggestion is that it will happen anyway. Through an iPad style device, through a flawless iApp type experience is how software will be sold. If you look at the NAMM figures for sales http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/namm/2009musicusa/#/4 fretted instruments sell three times more than computer based products and considering that a computer based person would buy lots of things and an instrument based person just a couple then the difference in potential users if you were to tap into that market is huge. Maybe it wouldnt be Cubase, maybe it would be something else, but the potential is there with the right delivery system to bypass the computer and reach non-techy people - that's what the iphone and ipad has done - the Mac isnt bad at and but the PC really struggles with it beyond surfing and email.

Modular products - that is interesting. You could have difference devices running on different... devices, and have them all networked together. Rather than spending a grand on a roland synth, i buy the Roland "device" onto which i can add whatever sounds or synthesis i need at the time.... i dunno, just musing :)

I just dont think things will stay as they are, i believe the model is changing and the days of high priced software are numbered (possibly a long number - who knows). That may have an impact on revenue so i hope that software houses are already working how that's going to work out. Insisting that it's not going to happen didn't turn out well for the music industry. All we need is GooglePhoto and GoogleMusic and it's game over :)
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Re: Apps and stuff

Postby onesecondglance » Thu Oct 14, 2010 3:27 pm

robinv wrote:
onesecondglance wrote:

software - it's a different programming language. that's it.
No, not really. I can't pickup my 24" LCD screen and pretend to drink a pint of guinness with it, i can't rock my keyboard from side to side in order to move items on the screen, i can't bump my tower into another computer in order to exchange a file. It's not just "software" - the software in my washing machine isn't the same as the software in my car - it's all just "software" but it's very different, how it's being used, how it's being sold, what it enables you to do, taking advantage of unique hardware functionality that's no very portable to other platforms - lots and lots of differences.

no, i disagree. it's exactly the same software - there are microwaves and washing machines running on Android, after all. the hardware might have been unusual at the time of the original iPhone - no longer - but that's not what made the app store a success.

all the gestures, touchscreens, accelerometers, and associated other stuff - it's all just different control mechanisms. excellent stuff, too. different from keyboard and mouse. but music tech has had different control mechanisms for ages. MIDI keyboards. control surfaces with faders, potentiometers, rotary encoders. it's just methods of getting information into your device. the control mechanisms aren't what's special about the app store market model. the low-on-features, high-on-gloss, does-one-thing-but-does-it-really-well approach combined with low unit pricing is what's special about it.

good software will always take advantage of the hardware and control options available - just like the apps on your iPad / iPhone / competing tablet or touchscreen phone do. apps existed before those things and made best use of the control options they had (like phone keypads, etc.)

will future devices change form factor? almost certainly. will future applications take advantage of different control systems? count on it. will either of these two things have a direct effect on pricing of applications? not as much as you might think.
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Re: Apps and stuff

Postby robinv » Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:12 am

onesecondglance wrote:
no, i disagree. it's exactly the same software - there are microwaves and washing machines running on Android, after all.

Although factually true - it IS just software, it's like saying we're the same because we're both made of carbon. Our experience of software, in the application of it, is vastly different and surely that's what software is about - in the using, not in the coding, in what it does rather than what it's made of. So for me, with something like the iPad and associated apps something different has occurred - something that didn't exist now exists and at this time it appears good and powerful and persuasive - but yes, it's all just software :)

onesecondglance wrote:
the low-on-features, high-on-gloss, does-one-thing-but-does-it-really-well approach combined with low unit pricing is what's special about it.
I would agree if it was all fart jokes and cool little apps for identifying music or telling you where the nearest curry house is. I keep coming back to the Amplitube app. It has more features than the regular software Amplitube Live and is £90 cheaper. I don't have any figures but going by the coverage the iRig has received i imagine it will sell quite a few units - partly because of the uniqueness of the ipad/iphone and partly due to price point - you get the whole lot for the price of an Xbox game.

onesecondglance wrote:
will either of these two things have a direct effect on pricing of applications? not as much as you might think.
Well, i feel that IK have proved otherwise, or are at least having a go. But it's early days, the iPad is underpowered, underconnected and mono-tasking. As better devices come along maybe better, more fully fledged apps will too. Who knows.
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Re: Apps and stuff

Postby Mixedup » Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:10 am

robinv wrote:I keep coming back to the Amplitube app. It has more features than the regular software Amplitube Live and is £90 cheaper.

Amplitube Live is a cut-down version of the 'regular' Amplitube. And that is only one part of the X-Gear suite, with Ampeg SVX, Amplitube Jimi Hendrix, Amplitube Fender... etc etc. It is still great value, and better value than Amplitube Live, but it's misleading to say that it is more fully featured than the full retail version of Amplitube.

robinv wrote:I don't have any figures but going by the coverage the iRig has received i imagine it will sell quite a few units - partly because of the uniqueness of the ipad/iphone and partly due to price point - you get the whole lot for the price of an Xbox game.

Well, as I've pointed out before, the market for guitarists is considerably larger than the market for DAW users. And bear in mind also that IK have been first to market with what is quite a mature product. That alone will guarantee them many sales. Would there be as many sales if every other amp sim manufacturer went the same way? Maybe, maybe not - it's too early to say. But I'd hazard a guess that the manufacturers' market share on iPad apps would be similar in terms of ratio to that on Mac/PC. Bear in mind also that there are far better products in development which require more processing power than an iAnything or AnythingDroid can currently offer.
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Re: Apps and stuff

Postby robinv » Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:39 am

Mixedup wrote:

Amplitube Live is a cut-down version of the 'regular' Amplitube. And that is only one part of the X-Gear suite, with Ampeg SVX, Amplitube Jimi Hendrix, Amplitube Fender... etc etc. It is still great value, and better value than Amplitube Live, but it's misleading to say that it is more fully featured than the full retail version of Amplitube.
I am obviously going out of my mind :headbang: I've never mentioned the full retail Amplitube. Let me try to be as clear as i can before we all die from exhaustion.
From the IK website:
Amplitube for iPad -
• 11 Stomps
• 5 Amps
• 5 Cabinets
• 2 Microphones
• Tuner/Metronome
Mixedup9.99

Amplitube 2 Live (which is the only version i've been referring to):
• 3 Guitar and Bass Amp Models
• 5 Cabinets
• 9 Stomp models, plus Spring Reverb and Gate
• 2 Microphone models with selection/position controls
• Built-in Tuner
$99.99

The iPad version has more amps and more stomps which for my little brain makes me think it has "more" than Amp Live but is $80 cheaper (my pricing has been a little random i admit). What it does lack is MIDI control and integration into a larger system but that's due to limits in the hardware it's running on. I'm sure IK consider them to be of equal value but perhaps the low price is forced because of the nature of the app economic model - to be viable as an app it has to be low cost. It's interesting to see how well this works out for IK - whether that greater coverage, larger market results in them making as much or more money that they do selling similar products for more to regular computer users. If it is a success then, i'm suggesting, that this may well have an impact on the way software is priced and delivered in the future. I'm happy to accept that it may have no impact whatsoever but that's far less interesting to talk about.

I'm honestly not trying to mislead anyone - i've got no vested interest, i'm a bit mystified as to why everyone seems to think i'm talking nonsense. I just wanted to chat about the possibilities. It's as if i'm a liberal who has accidentally walked into a conservative pub and started an innocent chat about welfare. :roll:

Mixedup wrote:

Bear in mind also that there are far better products in development which require more processing power than an iAnything or AnythingDroid can currently offer.

Sure, far better products already exist on normal computers - we know this - the iPad is not the answer, it simply points the way forward. I'm also interested to see interesting things only available on the iPad - like the TC polytune and Reactable - they seem really really, very very fabulously good - not toys as such. I'd like to see those on regular computers but perhaps the attraction of the closed system and huge user base isn't there on regular computers. So what about the future?
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Re: Apps and stuff

Postby onesecondglance » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:55 am

see, even with all those options, i'd still say the iRig app only does one thing - it takes an incoming audio signal, applies processing, and outputs the processed signal in near realtime. it does it really well (according to your experience, i can't say i've had the pleasure yet) but it's just one thing.

going back to the Cubase example, Cubase has to be able to do that. it also has to be able to record the incoming audio signal. record and playback MIDI. playback multiple audio and / or MIDI streams. allow editing of those streams, in multiple different visual types (score editing, wave editing, list editing, etc. etc.). keep an edit history and allow undoing. allow saving of not just individual track or FX settings but also entire projects. allow automation of various parameters per track. maintain a timebase for the whole project. allow and manage changes to that timebase. allow looping between markers on that timebase.

it also does a helluva lot more, but without even just one of those things above people would be complaining that it's a crippled program.

like i said though, i don't think there's any inherent difference between, to re-use your example, iRig on an iPhone and a standalone instance of Amplitube on a PC in terms of architecture. it's all very similar software wise. sure, the control mechanism is different for iRig but that's not why it costs a tenth of the price. they can do that because of the reduced feature set and the fact that it's a port of pre-existing code, so the development costs aren't as much as writing it from scratch.

:)
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Re: Apps and stuff

Postby onesecondglance » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:58 am

robinv wrote:I'm honestly not trying to mislead anyone - i've got no vested interest, i'm a bit mystified as to why everyone seems to think i'm talking nonsense. I just wanted to chat about the possibilities. It's as if i'm a liberal who has accidentally walked into a conservative pub and started an innocent chat about welfare. :roll:

i hope i've not come across as dismissing your arguments out of hand - i just see things a bit differently. i've found the discussion quite fun and i hope you have too :)
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