Under The Microscope

Piezo 1.5 Arrives; Piezo Exits the Mac App Store

Piezo IconToday, we’re pleased to be shipping a new version of our simple audio recorder Piezo, with version 1.5 now available for download. This update brings more powerful recording to Piezo, thanks to the Instant On extra. Instant On makes it possible for Piezo to capture audio from already-running applications, as well as from several hard-to-capture applications like the Safari and Chrome web browsers, FaceTime, and more. Piezo 1.5 is a free update, and we strongly encourage everyone to move to it immediately.

How to Update to Piezo 1.5

Today’s update also brings with it a rather large change on the distribution side. Piezo is no longer being sold through the Mac App Store; it is now available exclusively via direct download from our site.

If you’ve previously purchased Piezo directly from us, you can quickly update by opening Piezo and selecting “Check for Update” from the Piezo menu. This will install the latest version, and that’s all you need to do. Enjoy the update, and happy recording!

If you purchased Piezo from the Mac App Store, however, you need to complete a brief, one-time migration process to the directly distributed version of the app. We’ll provide you with a complimentary license key to unlock the direct version. Here’s all you need to do:

Step #1: Click to download Piezo 1.5 directly from our site.

Step #2: Upon opening the new version of Piezo, Mac App Store buyers should see a brief explanatory dialog.1 Click the “Obtain Free License” button to go to visit our site.


The dialog Piezo 1.5 will show Mac App Store buyers

Note that Piezo will be in trial mode until you unlock it, so be sure to get your license key before recording with Piezo.

Step #3: Fill out the form in our store to receive your complimentary license key.

That’s it! Once you’ve got your license key, you should be all set. Enter the key into Piezo to unlock the full version.


Piezo’s license window, awaiting a license key

You’re now transitioned to the directly-distributed version, and you’ll be able to get all future updates, from right within the app. You can also delete the old Mac App Store version of Piezo by placing it in the Trash.

Exiting the Mac App Store

We know users may have questions about our decision to stop selling Piezo through the Mac App Store. Please read on if you’re interested in more details on this change.

A major reason for the initial creation of Piezo was our desire to allow recording from other applications on the Mac within the limits of what Apple’s Mac App Store rules allowed. We were pleased to provide audio capture to customers of the Mac App Store, and for a time, things worked just fine. However, Apple eventually changed the rules, requiring that all applications distributed through the Mac App Store be sandboxed. This was a problem. Piezo’s need to capture audio from other applications precludes the possibility of it being sandboxed. This new requirement effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way.

This was fine for some time, however, as Piezo was in solid shape. We focused on our premier audio recorder Audio Hijack, and put aside plans for major updates to Piezo. Over time, however, changes made in newer versions of Mac OS X actually reduced the functionality Piezo could offer. The app gradually lost the ability to capture audio from several key Apple applications, including Safari. When that occurred, we recommended that folks use Google’s Chrome browser with Piezo instead. Recently, a Chrome update broke Piezo’s ability to capture that application as well. It was clearly time to do something.

We’ve always had a back-up plan for Piezo, in the form of our Instant On audio capture extra. Instant On is used by several of our other applications like Audio Hijack and Airfoil for Mac to provide powerful audio capture. If we configured Piezo to install and use Instant On, it would regain the ability to capture from Safari, Chrome, and any other application on the Mac. The problem? Installing additional components is not allowed in the Mac App Store. We could either keep Piezo in the Mac App Store, or we could improve it by making it use Instant On, but we could not do both.

We’d like to provide customers with the option of buying Piezo through the Mac App Store, but it’s more important to us that we provide a quality product with full functionality. In the case of Piezo, that now means exclusively distributing the application via our site. Users have always had the option of downloading and buying Piezo direct, so this didn’t involve much in the way of additional work. The biggest issue was simply choosing to remove Piezo from the Mac App Store. Ultimately, we feel the decision was made for us by both technical and bureaucratic factors outside of our control.

The Mac App Store itself also has some serious problems. Others have covered these issues in-depth over the past few years. Rich Siegel of Bare Bones Software gave a powerful overview of many of the problems developers face when selling in the Mac App Store in his 2014 Max Q presentation.

While the App Store has many shortcomings, it’s the onerous rules and restrictions Apple has for selling through the Mac App Store which pose the biggest problem. The type of software we make is precluded from being sold through the store, particularly now that sandboxing is a requirement, and Apple has shown no signs of relaxing those restrictions. Fortunately, unlike iOS, the Mac platform is still open. We’re able to distribute and sell direct to our customers, right from our site. We’ve got almost 15 years of experience and success doing just that, and we have no plans to stop.

So What About Fission?

Piezo IconUsers may be aware that we have one other product in the Mac App Store, our audio editor Fission. At present, Fission is still available in the Mac App Store, and we have no current plans to remove it. Like all of our software, Fission is also available for direct purchase from our store. Of course, our customers need not worry that Fission might eventually follow Piezo out of the Mac App Store. If Fission does eventually leave the Mac App Store, we’ll migrate customers to the directly-distributed version, just as we’ve done today with Piezo.

The Future

We understand that some customers prefer making their purchases through the Mac App Store. Paying with your Apple ID is convenient, as is having all your software available for install on a new machine with just a few clicks. Unfortunately, the downsides of the Mac App Store have grown too great for us to continue selling Piezo through it. Only by leaving the Mac App Store can we provide an acceptable level of quality and functionality for our app.

We will certainly keep an eye on changes Apple may make to the Mac App Store, and consider it for the distribution of future applications. However, at this time, it’s simply not a suitable platform for the majority of our software. We always strive to provide you with the very best products and experience we can. The clear path to doing that is by distributing and selling Piezo exclusively through our site.


Footnotes:

  1. If you don’t see this dialog, be sure you’ve downloaded the now-deprecated Piezo 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store and launched it at least once on your Mac. This step is necessary for the new Piezo to automatically detect that you’re a Mac App Store customer who needs to be moved to the direct version. Once your migration is complete, you can delete the old Piezo.↩︎

6 Responses to “Piezo 1.5 Arrives; Piezo Exits the Mac App Store”

  1. Jason says:

    I started off very enthusiastic about the AppStore on the Mac! But after a few years it has become pretty clear that Apple just doesn’t care about it. As more and more Mac developers leave the AppStore my question is when Apple will shut the whole thing down.


  2. Joel Hadding says:

    Will the last developer out of the Mac App Store please turn out the lights?


  3. Gryzor says:

    > Will the last developer out of the Mac App Store please turn out the lights?

    ^ I don’t think that’s needed; the Mac App Store has no “power”… ;)


  4. Gunther says:

    Yeah, don’t sweat it. Eventually Apple will either be forced to change their post-jobsian extremisms or they will go away. People will, some day (it will take a while) begin to resent that the new Apple (rotten to the core) now functions under the assumption that they actually continue to own products you have purchased from them. The current cast of characters in-charge seem intent in removing all usability, consistency, and power by destroying the UI and nerfing once-powerful products anyway. Maybe it’s time you stop looking at the Mac as a legitimate platform anyway. Watching them self-destruct in every way (except financial, for NOW, it will come back to bite them eventually) is painful, but currently part of the new “Apple Experience.”


  5. Gomer says:

    I just want to say that your company is my favorite. I am getting into podcast production and I regularly use Piezo and Audio Hijack 3. I love your thoughtful explanations, both for why you pulled Piezo out of the Mac App Store (migration was easy. Just did it. Took probably 15 seconds) and why you renamed Audio Hijack from “pro” to “3”.

    I’l probably give you more money for Loopback and avoid costly hardware once payday rolls around.

    Seriously, you are all the best. Keep it up!
    -gomer
    AMDG


  6. Paul Kafasis says:

    Jason: We’ll see what happens over time. We’ve definitely heard a lot of disillusionment from users who’ve gotten burned by the Mac App Store.

    Joel Hadding, Gryzor: It really seems like Apple needs to do something one way or another. I doubt they’ll shut the store down, but they need to take some sort of relatively large action. As is, the store is becoming ghettoized.

    Gunther: I can’t say we agree that Apple as a whole is entirely broken, though there are certainly plenty of issues to improved. As far as the Mac as a legitimate platform, however, we definitely disagree. Our direct-to-customer sales are strong, and unrestricted. There are millions of Mac users out there, even more than there were before the Mac App Store started. So long as it’s possible to distribute software directly via our site, we hope to be in good shape.

    Gomer: Thanks for the kind words! Tell your friends too!


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