Thursday, June 28, 2007

Apple is not your friend

Well, if you've been reading my previous posts about Apple's tardiness in posting the 9a466 (or whatever it is) Leopard beta to developers who paid for ADC Select or Premiere membership, you'll know I'm not a happy bunny. WWDC attendees received that beta nearly three weeks ago now. And you know what? That beta is now available on torrent sites. Meaning that pirates out there are running a version of Leopard for which they have not paid, whilst legitimate law-abiding ADC Select members such as myself still have no access to that version of Leopard despite having paid Apple for the "latest" Leopard releases - in other words, we have paid for exactly that copy.

Do Apple care?

No, they do not.

I have written to them several times, with no reply. All developers received a general "you will receive the WWDC beta soon via ADC download" e-mail a few days ago. And when I e-mailed them to remind them that they had not replied to my earlier e-mails, they repeated the "soon" message to me.

Well, you know what? I've lost interest. I won't pay for a Select ADC membership again, and I strongly advise other indie developers to think seriously before wasting money on it. Yes, you get hardware discounts, but the main impetus for coughing up for a paid ADC account is pre-release OS X versions. Given that Apple don't honour what you pay for, I strongly recommend not buying into this scam. Sadly, it will mean that users of my software lose out a little in future, in that if I do not pay for pre-release versions of the OS, then I can't guarantee that my software will run on the first release of any new OS upgrade. But if Apple don't make available the new releases of their OS to those of us who have paid for exactly that, then what is the point? The really sad thing in all of this is that I have got so p***ed off at Apple that I have not touched Scrivener development for three weeks now. When I finally get access to the new beta I will hopefully get my enthusiasm back, but as an indie developer, with Apple treating me as though I am worthless, it makes it really hard for me to get enthusiastic about updating a help file or adding a small tweak here or there.

There really are times when I wish I had chosen to develop for Windows. Surely Microsoft cannot treat developers as poorly as Apple do? Apple is not your friend. They make lovely machines and a great OS, but they care very little for users or developers, it seems.

In fact, it seems that the Apple developer model works something like this: 1) Pay hundreds of dollars for ADC membership and an "Early Start Kit" that gives access to latest OS versions; 2) Once you've paid, the latest versions will actually be withheld unless you pay thousands of dollars for a WWDC ticket and travel across the world to attend.

Oh, and if you can't attend, it's not just the beta that is held back, but also any knowledge shared by engineers.

I don't why I'm so surprised - I guess it's just years of Macheads telling me that Microsoft were evil and Apple were Good. When you finally switch to a Mac and develop for the platform for a few years, you soon realise that Apple are just as bad as MS - they just happen to be much smaller and less popular.

So: really, really poor. Please do think twice before paying for ADC membership.


Blogger neilio said...

Actually, Apple has emailed all ADC select members to let them know that they will receive the WWDC beta.

"Last week, attendees at the Worldwide Developers Conference received a copy of Mac OS X Leopard Beta.

If you were not at the conference, you will soon be getting access to the beta via ADC Software Downloads. Please keep your eye out for the ADC Seed Update email."

8:35 pm  
Blogger kayembi said...

Hi neilio,

Yes, I received that e-mail, too (I thought I had mentioned that), but what does "soon" mean? It has already been nearly three weeks, and as far as I am concerned, that is too long. Three weeks is a long time when you are a one-man show trying to test for compatibility. To be honest, if Apple had been up front about this from the start, it wouldn't bother me. What has really got my goat, though, is the way Apple advertised the Leopard Early Start Kit as providing access to the "latest" versions of Leopard, which is why I paid for Select membership. Then, months after I paid, they suddenly started trying to entice developers to WWDC (which I could not attend, even though I would have liked to) by promising them the "latest Leopard beta"). Yet I have already paid for the latest Leopard beta by purchasing the Early Start Kit, so - even if it is "only" a few weeks between WWDC and the ADC seed - there is just no way, to my mind, that this can be justified.

I am surprised more developers aren't outraged, but it seems as though I am alone in this. I guess others just have a life. :) But then, no; when you are developing a program and Leopard compatibility is a must, this sort of thing becomes really important, and I feel really let down by this unjustifiable delay. The release should have been simultaneous.


9:04 pm  
Blogger Peter D Cox said...

Suggestions to help ameliorate angst:
1 email Jobs personally
2 enjoy the few weeks of non programming activity - you certainly deserve a rest
3 make sure you factor into your business model the - tax deductable - costs of ADC Select AND attendance at WWDC. In my experience the taxman accepts that R&R (that's research and research btw) time around events is always necessary and that partners are essential to the process of working trips abroad (secretary, goffer, business assistant, call 'em whatever).

10:51 am  
Blogger Teemu said...

As a Scrivener user, I second your angst. I think it is not only cruel to developers but to the great number of users using shareware/indie mac products.

Mac has been really succesful among many users because of great shareware produced for mac. I personally own (as in owning a licence) and use about ten great shareware programs daily, or almost daily. Not to mention the ones that I use for odd task every now and then, or the ones I have found useful before but that I don't anymore (ie. VoodooPad, CopyWrite before Scrivener...) I guess this is not unlikely for mac-users to actively incorporate shareware programs into their usual software-palette.

I have previously thought that Apple wants to provide a lot for the developers because it is good for Apple in general to have an active shareware-scene. In other words, developers are kind of "co-workers" or insiders to the company.

Now, it seems as if this "co-worker" status has been replaced with a regular "customer" status. They bring in the money by being ADC members. Now let's make them bring even more money by making them force-attend the WWDC.

For the developer this is either plain difficult or humiliating, or both. For the user, this means that our shareware products are not necessarily as up-to-date as before. And our developers are not feeling respected enough. So, maybe the product we are using is not as good as before...

I hate having that thought.

Anyway. I use Scrivener for managing my academic writing projects these days. It is the hub where everything happens. It is a great product. It is powerful, stable, logical, simple and very pleasing to use. I personally care much more about Scrivener than Leopard. And I am convinced that I am not the only one.

9:23 pm  
Blogger Linden said...

I've been reading yr posts & can't believe how Apple treats the developers. Scrivener is the single most useful app I have on my powerbook. Just remember you're doing this for all of us users & not for the behemoth empire that Apple has turned into; don't lose heart.

10:28 pm  
Blogger sergey samokhov said...

I guess we bring it to our head ourselves, to some extent.
I mean, Apple is shiny and it has some great designers, but is that the reason to allow them everything? Are they kings of the world? Aren't they just, like, a big business, a platform with its pros and cons?
Why the f. should developers pay for the OS pre-releases at all? I mean, to some of the users they are the guys who actually sell Macs.
Sure, there are some folks who buy Macs just to turn they lives into iLife, and even I get messmerised by MacBook looks, but when I wake up from the button-licking reveries, I know I'm in it for creative work, not creative lifestyle, and the things that really have me considering switching to Mac are Scrivener, DEVONthink and maybe OmniFocus, not the Leopard bells and whistles.
So, yes, teemu is right, Leopard support is not that urgent, not before there is some really great software that is Tiger-incompatible.

4:11 pm  
Blogger Paul said...

I completely agree. I paid for my Select ADC membership. I am developing a rather complex application at the moment in XCode 2.4, and not using Core Animation purely because XCode 3 on 9A410 is far too buggy and crashes all of the time, especially on PPC G5 machines. This means I cannot take advantage of ObjC 2.0 either.

I can't afford the time or money to fly 8500 miles to SF for a conference. I wish I could. But it isn't possible for most developers.

I too received the email from Apple stating that we would get the seed "soon"... but IMO, it should have been within a 1 week of WWDC. The OS is out in 3 months, and the vast majority of Apple Developers are without the latest, full featured OS to test their products on.

It will be unlikely that I will renew my ADC membership when time's up. Apple have treated non-WWDC attendees as second class citizens... and I don't think ADC members should have to put up with it.

5:33 pm  
Blogger donmontalvo said...

I wish I read this blog before paying $499 for ADC Select. I didn't receive any confirmation that payment was received and/or access to Leopard seed. Previous ADC Select payments always resulted in relatively prompt emailed access to assets.

I'm not a happy camper. I'll give Apple a call tomorrow. If I don't get a satisfactory answer, I'll cancel payment.


Don Montalvo, NYC
Curmudgeon at large

8:55 pm  
Blogger kayembi said...

Thanks all for the replies. I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees this as unfair - I was beginning to think it was my overdeveloped sense of injustice again.

Peter - ha, I already e-mailed Steve Jobs personally. I did it once before, about my MacBook issues, and I had someone from Corporate Relations speeding through my case within days. We'll see if anyone replies this time... As far as attending WWDC goes - it wasn't so much the money this year as the time. As a shareware developer, I have a day job, so there was just no way I could attend at this time of year. I would have loved to attend.

Paul - I'm right with you. It is now three weeks since the WWDC guys received their beta version. One more week, and it's a month - one month of the four between WWDC and the projected Leopard release, meaning that WWDC members get a third more time with a fully working beta!

donmontalvo - I had the same thing when I signed up for ADC Select a few months ago. It took a couple of days before I got access to the software seeds. At the time of writing (late night Sunday 1st July), the latest Leopard seed available is 9a410 - which is two months older than the Leopard beta and very buggy (Xcode crashes regularly), so even if you do receive your keys soon, if I were you I would wait for Apple to release the new beta on ADC before spending ages downloading. Of course, when that will be is anyone's guess. I keep hoping that it is tomorrow (and then when it's not, maybe tomorrow... and so on).


9:31 pm  
Blogger Matt Agnello said...

At this point, I don't see why pirating the newest version of Leopard would be at all morally inappropriate. Considering that you paid for a license, that's an implied contact that stands: you own the right to use that code.

I'm outraged that Apple could alienate the people that make their OS worthwhile. When I first bought my Macbook Pro, the first piece of Mac-specific software I got was Scrivener. It's an amazing program, and I only waited 14 days of the free trial to buy a license.

Apple's had some bad credibility hits in the last couple days. I hope they can pull it together (and pull their heads out of their iAsses) and at least act like they care about their end users.

6:51 am  
Blogger PB said...

Check your ADC seeds. 9A466 is now available. :D

12:17 am  
Blogger steve.mcc said...

One great thing about having a blog and a community around a product is that it allows you to blow off steam and gain support.

Your frustration comes through very clearly. Apart from anything, it is disappointing that Apple have not been communicating clearly.

Offering support can also mean offering a wider perspective. Apple has never been perfect. As you point out, they make great machines and a great OS, but they are a company and as such will always have faults and issues.

You note that
"There really are times when I wish I had chosen to develop for Windows. Surely Microsoft cannot treat developers as poorly as Apple do? Apple is not your friend. They make lovely machines and a great OS, but they care very little for users or developers, it seems."

I sympathize, and indeed empathize, having been at the mercy of an Apple weakness or two. But I somehow suspect that your experience is an aberration, and that it does not mean they do not care. It means they make errors. They should move quickly to address this one.

I feel they do care about making the best products they can within their field. generally my experience of their retail, support and developer arms has been without complaint.

I would hope that if I make an error within my business my user base does not brand the entire product experience as 'not caring'.

Most of all, I hope you are able to move beyond the emotional block which this experience has produced and keep developing Scrivener. Otherwise, I might assume you don't care about me, a user.....

6:32 pm  
Blogger Aaron Ross Powell said...

I hope this doesn't end up being too discouraging. I'm wholly in love with Scrivener. I've been working on a novel for several months, publishing serially on my website as I go, and I can't imagine working without the program. It makes the process of writing pleasurable, which is something I definitely never got from, say, Word.

And a good friend of my just bought himself a MacBook -- switching from his lifelong PC user status -- entirely so he could run Scrivener. So keep up the great work and thank you for the amazing product.

3:22 pm  
Blogger Karl said...

I, too, switched to the Mac so that I could use Scrivener.

8:41 pm  
Blogger C said...

This situation is also very annoying to us the consumers since we are all waiting till October for Leopard. I can only imagine what it must be like for you the developers.

But please don't let this get you too down. We'll be here for you when you're ready.

6:33 pm  
Blogger badrobot said...

FWIW, I use a Mac and a PC, and there's not a day goes by that I don't wish for a Vista-version Scrivener... So if you get sick of Mac, you have one user on the other side (though I'd prefer to see you on both sides).

7:14 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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9:52 am  
Blogger navigatenet said...

I really love Scrivener. Please keep developing it!

3:58 am  
Blogger Michelle said...

Hi, I don't remember my user name or my password and the system won't let me create a new one. What do I do now?

11:22 pm  
Blogger TitaKini said...

Ya know, I'd really be worried if I were an early adopter, but I've learned the hard way that it just doesn't always pay to move to the newest OS the day it comes out. I usually wait till the glow of the new release settles down and my most critical tools have confirmed they are operational before making a move.

7:11 pm  
Blogger Thomas said...

Hey! Don't worry. Do what I do: I pay for whatever license I need and then go immediately to piratebay or something like it and download what I just paid for.

Although I'm a windows user, but I think you mac users are just as ill treated as me. After paying you'll have to wait an unspecified time until you get a download link or a license code, and 2 times out of three those are not working...jump to "support". And you all know what that means...

Ergo, I skip the frustration and go to piratebay. After all, I have paid for the stuff. But my frustration keep urging me to skip that first step and turn to p-bay
first hand.

9:40 pm  
Blogger Kate D said...

Hello! This is an off-topic comment, but I just wanted to say that I downloaded Scrivener and I ADORE IT! All my previous writings tended to become ungainly 30-page AppleWorks documents with five pages of notes at the end. This format was frustrating in ways I always took for granted.

Now I am writing a memoir of my crazy experience living in provincial Russia. With all my photos, scattered memories, journal entries, maps and different chapters I could not get organized with a typical word processor. But Scrivener is encouraging, rather than inhibiting, my writing process. With total ease I can now plan, edit, reorganize, jot little notes, and refer to references. I can easily locate whatever section I am most interested in working on at the moment.

I realize I sound like a gushy ad for your application, but Scrivener is truly amazing and I mean every word!! Thanks for making Scrivener. I will be paying for the permanent version soon!!

1:19 am  
Blogger probefahrer alex said...

hi kayembi,

some weeks ago i asked this question via email i think, but after reading about trouble here, i will give it another try this way ;)

i am anxiously longing for such a beautiful and smart textdevelopment tool like scrivener. i would use it for writing blogposts, essays, short-stories, tutorials, car-reviews and so on. as i am doing research for a novel right now i would use it for this project of course as well.

thing is - i cannot afford a mac right now (and you can believe me scrivener would DEFINATELY be the main reason if i ever buy a mac!).

so my question is - could you imagine do develop scrivener (or at least a spin-off) as a webapplication?

the pros are clear:
- centralized collection of media for the projects
- independent to operating systems
- usable from everywhere
- with strict use of javascript and help of google gears even offline usable (like e.g.)
- faster development with community support

yesterday i found a web-app framework called sproutcore and asked in their usergroup if they think if it's possible to develop such a complex tool with sproutcore - the potential is there.

it's not my intention to make a copycat of your tool but to get it to more users. i know lots of people who would really like to use an online-scrivener even for a monthly, or yearly fee.

would be nice if you would think about it and if you could come back me with a short feedback.

8:27 am  
Blogger lee said...

Don't be fooled any of you Mac zealots, Apple does not love you; only your wallet.

Don't get me wrong I love Macs too, but Apple is just as ruthless as Microsoft. For example, I have an iPhone and I know some pretty senior folks at Adobe whom I asked months ago: 'When are you guys going to write a Flash player for the iPhone?'

I got some stunned looks: 'We already have, it was ready for the iPhone launch, but Apple will not release it because once Flash is installed they will not have a monopoly on the AppStore i.e. people can write and sell their own apps in Flash and bypass the Apple toolkit for iPhone."

Apple really don't give a shit about you lot - especially developers, it's just about control and market share.

6:55 am  
Blogger Kari Wolfe said...

I'm just hoping (and praying) that you'll end up porting Scrivener to Windows - or possibly even Linux. Please? :)

5:50 pm  
Blogger Optimistic Cynic said...

I read this post after your latest one on the iPad and noted this:-

"There really are times when I wish I had chosen to develop for Windows. Surely Microsoft cannot treat developers as poorly as Apple do?"

I shall try to sum this up succinctly...

Microsoft treat developers like kings.

There is a paid-for developer programme, MSDN which costs about £1300, but with that you just about get everything that Microsoft make to use in development. That's the full dev tools, database servers, operating system, MS Office, the lot.

But you can simply operate for free. The Express editions of Visual Studio are free, betas are typically publicly available.

And then there's the amount of stuff on MSDN, the fact that they put a whole load of free conferences and events on and so forth.

11:28 am  

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