Smartphones and tablets actually exist mainly by the grace of apps. The more, the better. But those digital things tend to come and go…
Investing in software – whatever apps are, of course – is and remains a risky business. History has taught us that. Under Windows, for example, there was – years ago – the immensely popular (also in the professional world) sound editor Cool Edit. It was suddenly bought by Adobe. After which it was immediately gone… well: it’s Audition now. But no more updates for Cool Edit.
And where Cool Edit was still affordable for enthusiasts with a modest home studio, Audition was and is far from that. In fact, nowadays it is only available with an extremely annoying subscription of €24.95 per month(!). Well, the well-known Adobe tactic (and many other oversized software giants): buy up, bribe and sell more expensive.
Something similar is unfortunately also going on in the area of apps, but then it probably works just a bit differently. Many apps are made by relatively small teams, sometimes even just one programmer. If an app suddenly becomes popular, it can become too much work to maintain it. Or the ship with money has arrived and a programmer thinks he or she has earned enough.
In this way, many apps have already disappeared or become orphaned. Including a lot of music and audio apps. As an example: Roland Sound Canvas. In app form. An impressive and faithfully recreated software tool that was not inferior to the original. A lot of manufacturers were happy with it. However, the app disappeared without a trace from Apple’s app store (what remains is the obsolete product page of the creator).
It was not updated for a long time and was probably written off by Apple because of this. There are still many cases like this, a sound effect generator called DFX: disappeared (the software maker still exists but doesn’t mention the app anymore).
As a musician or filmmaker, you can’t rely on the continuity of products in your workflow, that’s pretty annoying (understatement). Even more annoying are apps that are essential for the operation or configuration of a (audio) device and are no longer updated. If they no longer work, sometimes it’s over and done with the (usability of the) hardware: double bad luck.
Check that update history before payment
Now Sound Canvas was definitely not a budget app. And we see that more often. Often it’s about manufacturers of name and fame that resurrect a software app of some beloved instrument (or other thing like a calculator or whatever).
Despite the sometimes quite high prices, this attracts a multitude of enthusiasts. After payment everyone is happy. But if you don’t see an update after a while, you know that you actually bought something completely unsupported. To avoid this misery, it’s best to take a good look at the update history of an intended app (or any piece of software) before paying for it (it’s mentioned with every app).
Was the last update released more than a year ago? Well: chances are that such an app won’t even work (properly) under a new version of your mobile OS (which is also updated annually). Certainly audio enthusiasts who love a sound as pure and correct as possible, undoubtedly do not appreciate it if their once so beautiful audiophile music player won’t work with their lovely new phone with the new OS.
Check that update history before spending your good money. There really are apps and programs that have been faithfully maintained for many years.