Under The Microscope


Archive for January, 2017

Rogue Amoeba’s 2016

While we’re always hard at work here at Rogue Amoeba, last year was one of our busiest in recent memory. Here’s a quick look back at the year that was 2016, as well as a look at what’s ahead in 2017.

A Brand-New App, A Major Upgrade

The winter of 2016 was a frenzied one for us, as we shipped one new application and released a pair of simultaneous upgrades to another.

Loopback

Loopback is our first brand-new product in several years, and it allows you to pass audio between applications on your Mac by creating virtual audio devices. Loopback has proven much more popular than we’d expected, and we’ve continued working to improve it, shipping Loopback 1.1 in December.

Airfoil

Shortly after introducing Loopback to the world, we shipped simultaneous upgrades to Airfoil for Mac and Airfoil for Windows. With its new ability to send to thousands of Bluetooth audio devices, Airfoil 5 is now about much more than just AirPlay audio.

Even as we shipped Airfoil 5, work on streaming audio to Google Chromecast devices was already in progress. Airfoil for Mac 5.5 shipped near the end of the year with the power to stream to Chromecast and all Google Cast devices. Windows users should keep an eye on our site for similar updates to Airfoil for Windows in 2017.

Updates, Big and Small

Last year we added compatibility with MacOS 10.12 (Sierra) and fixing myriad bugs and issues, but also found time for several larger updates, including:

Audio Hijack 3.3

This update continued our string of incremental improvements to our flagship audio recording app, adding powerful new low-latency options great for podcasters and musicians, improved AAC and ALAC recording, support for capturing audio from Slack, and more. Take Control of Audio Hijack, the companion eBook designed to help you get the most out of our app, was also updated for the latest version.

Piezo 1.5

Our simplified audio recorder now includes the Instant On component, which restores its ability to record from several hard-to-capture apps including Safari, Chrome, and FaceTime. However, this change forced Piezo to exit the Mac App Store. Fortunately, we were able to transition existing Mac App Store customers to our direct version, and we’ll continue to sell all of our software directly through our own store.

In total, we shipped nearly 50 distinct updates across our entire product line last year, or nearly one update every week. That’s not easy, but we want to provide our users with the latest fixes and features as rapidly as possible.

Reviews and Awards

2016 featured some wonderful distinctions for our team. We started with phenomenal reviews from Macworld, as Loopback earned a 4.5-mice review and Airfoil 5 followed that up with a perfect 5 out of 5 mice. That’s a veritable infestation!

On top of that, Audio Hijack 3 was selected by iMore as the Mac App of the Year for 2015. The many accessibility improvements we made also led to a Golden Apple award for Best Mac App from AppleVis, a site for visually-impaired users. It’s very gratifying to be recognized with awards like these.

A New Identity, and Other Staffing Notes

Our designer Neale really began to show his stuff in 2016, with improvements seen in both Loopback and Airfoil. The single biggest change he’s made, however, is Rogue Amoeba’s new logo and branding, which debuted in August. Yes, after almost fourteen years, we’ve rebranded with a splashy new logo and look.1

For a small company, staffing is both tremendously important and tremendously difficult. In 2016, we bid farewell to our longest tenured employee Jeff, who departed after providing eight years of rock-solid code inside just about every one of our apps. Our hope when we hire is always that an employee will stick around for such long tenures.

Given that, we were delighted to celebrate two anniversaries in 2016. We marked Grant’s five year anniversary with a motorcycle-themed gift, and a few months later, we celebrated Ed’s five year anniversary with some delightfully geeky hardware. I’m humbled to be able to work with the many talented folks we employ, and honored to have them stay with us year after year.

Toward the end of the year, we began looking to hire for three different roles. We’ve made great progress on filling those positions, and we anticipate expanding our team very shortly.

What’s Next

Enough about the past. You want to hear about what we have planned for the future. Long-time readers will know we’re fairly tight-lipped, but I’ll certainly drop a few hints.

We’ve already announced that Airfoil for Windows will gain support for Chromecast, just as its Mac cousin did. Unforeseen challenges have led that update to take longer than we’d hoped, but we remain committed to getting it out to our users.

After Loopback found a larger-than-expected niche, we’ve decided to dedicate more resources to it. We received a lot of great feedback and ideas, and we’ve got a very solid plan for future improvements. It’s not yet clear what we’ll ship in 2017, but Loopback is getting plenty of attention.

We shipped a small but useful update to Fission last year, with version 2.3 adding the ability to read and write for MP3 chapters and offering faster MP3 encoding. We’ve got a lot more in the pipeline for Fission, however, and we’re eager to get moving on it.

Of course, we won’t be ignoring any of our current applications. As usual, you can expect updates big and small to all of our products. We’ll be adding features, fixing bugs, and bringing compatibility with the likely next version of MacOS (our guess for the name: “Mojave”).

Perhaps most exciting is a brand-new application code-named “Iron Beetle”. Without revealing much, I’ll say that we think many of our existing customers will be quite pleased with this playback-based addition to our line-up. Keep an eye on this blog, as we’ll be starting a private beta test in the coming months.

Thanks To You

Let me close this post by thanking you for being a Rogue Amoeba customer (or at least for reading our blog). It’s your support that allows us to continue running this great software company with the strange name, putting out powerful audio tools that make the world just a little bit better. We’re incredibly grateful to those of you who purchase our software, provide us with valuable feedback, or even just tell a friend about our products.

Now here’s to 2017, and all the progress to come!


Footnotes:

  1. Our old mascot Ammo has taken a backseat, but you can still get one of the special plush toys we first created over a decade ago. We’ll ship a free plush Ammo to anyone who makes a new software purchase in January and requests a plushy. Purchase through our store, then request your free plushy through this form. We’ll ship him out to you free of charge. ↩︎

Winning Big at the Upgradies

Over on Relay FM, Jason Snell and Myke Hurley host a well-loved technology podcast called “Upgrade”. On the first show of the new year, they handed out the Upgradies, awards for their favorite products of the year. Rogue Amoeba was honored to be included among the winners!


Woo!

At last year’s ceremony, Audio Hijack received a nomination for “Best New Mac App”, but it was bested by Fantastical from our friends at Flexibits. This year, however, Audio Hijack was not to be denied. Our flagship audio recorder took home the big prize, earning the title of “Best Overall Mac App”. Not bad!

Loopback IconWe also had another contender in the “Best New Mac App” category, with our audio routing tool Loopback getting a nomination. While Loopback didn’t come away with the win, it did receive a very respectable 10% of the vote, surprising the hosts. While Loopback certainly isn’t needed by everyone, it’s far less niche than some folks assume!

Our thanks to Jason and Myke, as well as their listeners, for recognizing our work! We hope to pop up again on Upgrade, perhaps at the 2018 Upgradies.

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