Panic has announced that it will remove Transmit iOS from the App Store soon. In a blog post today, Cabel Sasser explains that the revenue generated by the paid-up-front app was insufficient to justify its continued development. Sasser doesn’t rule out a return of Transmit to iOS some day, and the move does not affect the company’s other iOS apps or Transmit 5 for the Mac, but adding features to the iOS app to match those debuted in the Mac version last year would make Transmit iOS ‘a guaranteed money-loser.’
This is not Panic’s first pull-back from the App Store. In 2016, Panic pulled the plug on Status Board, its widget-style app for tracking data through web APIs. Why Transmit wasn’t sustainable on iOS is unclear:
Was the use case for this app too edge-casey or advanced? Did we overestimate the amount of file management people want to do on a portable device? Should we have focused more on document viewing capabilities? Maybe all of the above?
Although Transmit will be removed from the App Store soon, Panic updated it with iPhone X support, and existing users will still be able to download it from the App Store and use it until some future change in iOS breaks the app.
I’m sad to see Transmit go. It’s a loss for the platform, but I don’t think it’s a bad omen for ’pro’ iOS productivity apps in general. Transmit failed to get the traction necessary to sustain its further development, but there are still many examples of productivity apps that have found success on the App Store. Hopefully, Panic will find a way to bring Transmit back to iOS one day.
If you’ve used a Mac for a while, you’ve likely come across Panic’s file transfer app Transmit. Not long ago, I would have probably still described it as an FTP app even though it’s handled things like Amazon S3 file transfers for a while. However, with the recent release of version 5, Transmit for macOS has become much more than an FTP client adding support for ten cloud services. Moreover, Panic has taken the opportunity to rewrite its file transfer engine so that it’s faster, tweak virtually every feature, and update and streamline the app’s design. The result is an all-new Transmit that is both familiar and more capable than ever before.
From Cabel Sasser's latest Panic report (as always, a great read):
If you remember, 2016 was the year we killed Status Board, our very nice data visualization app. Now, a lot of it was our fault. But it was another blow to our heavy investment in pro-level iOS apps a couple years ago, a decision we’re still feeling the ramifications of today as we revert back to a deep focus on macOS. Trying to do macOS quality work on iOS cost us a lot of time for sadly not much payoff. We love iOS, we love our iPhones, and we love our iPads. But we remain convinced that it’s not — yet? — possible to make a living selling pro software on those platforms. Which is a real bummer!
Giving more tools to companies like Panic to make professional, powerful software for iOS is one of the challenges Apple faces along with making the OS itself more capable. There should be more iOS-first and iOS-only Panics and Omni Groups around.
See also: last year's episode of Remaster on Firewatch (which you should go play right now if you haven't).
Panic announced that it is discontinuing its Status Board app and remove it from the App Store within the next couple of weeks. Status Board was inspired by the custom webpage pictured above that Panic developed and displayed on a large display in its offices to track company statistics. Panic brought its status board to iOS in 2013 with pre-made modules and the ability to create custom widgets and display the whole thing on an iPad or TV.
Panic decided to discontinue Status Board for a few reasons:
First, we had hoped to find a sweet spot between consumer and pro users, but the market for Status Board turned out to be almost entirely pro, which limits potential sales on iOS — as we’ve learned the hard way over the past couple of years, there’s not a lot of overlap right now between “pro” and “iOS”. Second, pro users are more likely to want a larger number of integrations with new services and data sources, something that’s hard to provide with limited revenue, which left the app “close but not quite” for many users. Finally, in the pro/corporate universe, we were simply on the wrong end of the overall “want a status board” budget: companies would buy a $3,000 display for our $10 app.
I’m sad to see Status Board go. One of the first programming projects I ever created was a custom Status Board widget. I’ve used the app on and off over the years and just last weekend I was thinking I should revisit it and make myself a board for my current projects. I may still do that because despite the fact that Status Board will no longer be supported, it will remain available to anyone who previously purchased it and will continue to work until something in iOS changes that breaks it.
Terrific update to Panic's SSH client for iOS, Prompt. The new version brings iOS 9 features such as Spotlight search and 3D Touch, but, most of all, it adds Split View support on the iPad and the ability to open multiple connections in separate tabs.
I'm planning to install AirSonos on my Synology DS214play soon (I haven't gotten around it yet because the instructions aren't exactly...user-friendly), and I plan to use Prompt for the job. What a great iOS app.
See also: Dan Moren at Six Colors.
Cabel Sasser, writing for the Panic blog on their iOS apps and how they did on the App Store in 2015:
iOS Revenue. I brought this up last year and we still haven’t licked it. We had a change of heart — well, an experimental change of heart — and reduced the price of our iOS apps in 2015 to normalize them at $9.99 or less, thinking that was the upper limit and/or sweet spot for iOS app pricing. But it didn’t have a meaningful impact on sales.
More and more I’m beginning to think we simply made the wrong type of apps for iOS — we made professional tools that aren’t really “in demand” on that platform — and that price isn’t our problem, but interest is.
So, once again, we will investigate raising our iOS app prices in 2016, with two hopes: that the awesome customers that love and need these apps understand the incredible amount of work that goes into them and that these people are also willing to pay more for a quality professional app (whereas, say, the casual gamer would not).
You have to wonder if Apple should come up with new ways to incentivize the creation of these types of pro apps, or if Panic shouldn't have lowered prices in the first place. Maybe it's a bit of both.
I don't think Panic made the wrong type of apps for iOS. Panic's apps are fantastic pieces of software, and Apple should be proud of having them on the App Store. Panic's commitment to their iOS apps is laudable, and their taste, unsurprisingly, impeccable. Coda 2 and Transmit are some of the finest productivity software you'll find on the App Store.
As usual, I'm going to say that a possible solution lies somewhere in the middle. I'd like to see Apple improve the App Store with tools and developer relations that help companies like Panic, and I'd urge more developers to place the correct value on their apps. The Omni Group is a good example to follow here. It may sound old fashioned, but I think quality software deserves an appropriate price.
I first reviewed Panic's Status Board two years ago, noting how it was an "elegant, fun, and powerful dashboard for the iPad". Today, Panic has released version 2.0 of the app, which features a redesigned UI to be in line with the latest iOS trends and conventions, a new font, more board features and types, and a new freemium model.
The excellent Diet Coda for iOS (which I first covered three years ago) has been relaunched by Panic as Coda for iOS today, bringing a new iPhone version, support for Panic Sync, and tons of other enhancements that make this a desktop-class text editor and file manager for web developers.
As I noted on Twitter, I'm no developer, but Coda feels exactly like the type of app we need on iOS. A full-featured iOS counterpart – not a "remote" or "companion" app – that brings over features that make sense on iOS and that can be even better because of the portability of an iPhone or iPad. While not everyone will always manage a site completely from iOS, such goal doesn't sound ridiculous anymore, and I'm glad that Panic has brought Coda back and made it more powerful in the process. Between this and OmniFocus 2.6, it's been a good week for productivity software on iOS.
Coda for iOS is $9.99, but a free update for old Diet Coda customers. Great deal.
(Please note: the tweet above is sarcastic.)
Since I got serious about trying to get work done on an iPhone and iPad in mid–2012, I’ve constantly come across a roadblock that required me to set up complex workflows and scripts: uploading images to my server. Transmit for iOS 8, released by Panic today on the App Store, provides a solution to the problem of managing transfers to and from your own server with a feature set that, thanks to extensions and secure authentication with Touch ID, makes Transmit a first-class citizen on iOS.