Rogue Amoeba’s 2018 Status Report
In January of 2017, I posted a summary of our 2016, and a peek at plans for 2017. With today’s post, this becomes an annual tradition. Read on for a roundup of what happened in 2017 and a look at some of our plans for 2018.
Recap of Releases
Though neither was a major product launch, we actually shipped two new apps last year. On Valentine’s Day, we gave our users the most romantical gift of all: sound control software. The audio device control functionality from the then-retired SoundSource was merged with LineIn’s play-thru ability and modernized to create SoundSource 3. The best part? Rogue Amoeba customers who own a current license for any of our other apps are eligible for a free license to SoundSource 3! If you’re not up-to-date, now’s a great time to get the latest, then take advantage of the free SoundSource offer as well.
Our second new app came about as the result of some unexpected changes made by Apple. In late March, a tvOS update from Apple broke Airfoil’s ability to send audio to the Apple TV. Shortly after, we shipped a new tvOS app called Airfoil Satellite TV. This served as an interim solution for streaming audio to the Apple TV while we worked on restoring compatibility directly within Airfoil.
Fortunately, we were able to work around Apple’s changes, and we released Airfoil for Mac 5.6 and Airfoil for Windows 5.2 to restore full Apple TV compatibility. With these updates, the Airfoil Satellite TV app became largely redundant for the time being. However, it will continue to exist as a fallback. If Apple again breaks the Apple TV’s AirPlay compatibility, Airfoil will still be able to send audio to the device.
One other release worth noting was version 2.4 of our audio editor Fission. This update also resulted from changes made by Apple. The new iTunes 12.7 utterly broke the ability for any app to make custom ringtones for iOS devices, even Apple’s own GarageBand app. Knowing how much users love this feature, we worked quickly to restore it. We also posted instructions for using custom ringtones with newer versions of iTunes, whether or not they’re made with Fission.
Of course, we shipped plenty of updates for all of our applications, with a total of 33 releases last year. This was actually our lowest yearly total in almost a decade, however. This reduction in releases was largely due to a lowered need for bug fixes, which is always a good thing. We also had a larger-than-average amount of work in progress that didn’t ship in 2017, and I expect our raw number of releases will jump back up in 2018.
The Newest Amoebas
We made multiple hires last year to keep our team strong and productive. In June, we hired Andy Taylor to work on Airfoil for Windows. Since then, he’s worked to ship the necessary updates to restore Apple TV compatibility and fix other minor bugs. We’ve still got more in the pipeline for Airfoil for Windows, including the long overdue support for Chromecast, so stay tuned for more updates.
Later in the year, Robert Charlton joined us as we doubled the size of our support team from one full-time tech to two. This larger team continues to provide fast and friendly help, but also has more time to refine and improve our support site, manuals, and backend processes. All of this will allow us to provide ever more solid software.
Other Major News
In February, we posted the results of removing Piezo from the Mac App Store. Piezo actually earned more revenue when it was available exclusively through our store than it did when it was also available in the Mac App Store. That’s a nice outcome, but the far greater benefit to leaving the Mac App Store was that it allowed us to improve the quality of Piezo. Given the convenience the Mac App Store could provide, it’s unfortunate how poor an overall experience many developers have had with it. Fortunately, direct distribution of software is easier and more convenient than ever. In fact, in 2017 we also switched our entire store over to use Paddle.com for payment processing, with very few issues.
At June’s Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple announced the new HomePod, which is finally arriving this week. We’ve confirmed that Airfoil can send audio directly to the HomePod, so you can stream any audio from your Mac or PC to the HomePod, right out of the box. We’ll be updating Airfoil to improve compatibility, so watch for updates in the near future.
Apple also announced a new AirPlay 2 protocol, which they have since delayed. There are many open questions with AirPlay 2, and for now, we’re all waiting for more from Apple. Worth noting though is that Airfoil can already match AirPlay 2’s announced ability to stream to multiple devices, all in sync.
In September, we celebrated a rather momentous occasion, our 15th anniversary. It was fun to look all the way back to the very first version of Audio Hijack, and to reflect on how far we’ve come. We plan to be here providing great audio software for many more years to come!
We’re always tight-lipped about what we’re up to for the future, but I’ll share what I can.
Last year, I teased a new app codenamed “Iron Beetle”, which has now shipped as our new soundboard app Farrago. We’ve been getting lots of great feedback already, and we’ll use this to help guide the development of Farrago updates in 2018.
We also expect to ship a major Airfoil for Windows update in the near future. This was discussed last year, which means it’s quite overdue at this point. Progress was slowed by the Apple TV issues we had to work around last year, but we’re still working hard on support for Chromecast.
Our work on big updates for Loopback has progressed well, and we hope to have more to share later this year. We’re planning to offer even more power coupled with a more polished user experience. For now, here’s a sneak peek at some interface improvements we’re working toward.
More to come!
We’re not currently planning the release of any brand-new products in 2018, so we’ll instead be focused on updates for our existing apps. That will include new features and functionality, as well as more run-of-the-mill bug fixes. We also always plan for updates for Apple’s nearly-annual MacOS release (this year’s name guess: “Sequoia”).
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We can’t wait to share more with you in 2018. For now, I hope the new year is treating you well. Stay tuned for updates from Rogue Amoeba!