Showing posts tagged Mac App Store
First - we’d like to start off with a little announcement: starting today, we’re excited to launch “StackSocial App Reviews”. StackSocial Reviews will be a series of weekly Mac app reviews dedicated to helping our readers uncover some hidden (and not-so-hidden) gems out there. If you have any requests, feel free to send us an email or hit the “Ask us Anything” button on our blog. So, without further adieu:
I’m a busy guy. Some (if not all) would say too busy. I am very structured and often get lost in all of the “doing”. But I’m getting better at not just keeping my head above water, but fostering a “mind like water” state thanks to Zazen Suite.
Zazen Suite is, at its root, a simple mediation app. There are version for the Mac platform via the Mac App Store and one for iOS devices as well. Zazen Sutie can set random chimes that can occur throughout your day (kind of a “head check” to get you grounded again at any given time), or can be set to go off at specific times each day. There are a variety of sounds offered for each version of the app, all of which definitely lean towards a “zen effect” of sorts.
I tend to schedule an alarm to go off every 30 minutes or so, kind of a reminder to step back from the computer screen and just breathe. Developer Nathan Hangen has really thought this app through, and the simplicity of it is what makes it worth picking up. It doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles (other than the sounds of bells and whistles, that is), but that’s the point. It does what it is meant to do very well. The ease of use caters to the zen mentality, allowing users to set up the app and go.
One thing I’d really like to see is some sort of syncing function between the two versions, allowing users of both to set up their particulars on one platform and have them seamlessly transfer to the other one. That’d be really zen.
How does Zazen Suite stack up (no pun intended) to other apps of its type?
There are more feature-rich iOS apps that are designed to help with meditation and mindfulness, such as Meditator and Pure Meditation Premium, but the former is laden with in-app purchases that complicates things (as well as add up in your pocketbook over time) and the latter is more of a subliminal audio program that also isn’t very simple to use. There are a few apps (like Insight Timer, for example) that are comparable to Zazen Suite, but lack the cross-platform appeal as they don’t have a Mac version available.
If you’re looking for a featured mediation app that stays out of your way without causing you to lose your way, give Zazen Suite a look. There is a feature-limited “lite” version for iOS devices, but the pricing for the full-featured one is reasonable at $1.99. The Mac version is $4.99 and is a perfect complement to your workflow routine.
(You do have one of those, right?)
Zazen Suite really puts the “suite” into the app with its cross-platform approach, and the simple interface has found just the right amount of “zen” for my liking.
Rating: 4/5 stacks
—StackSocial Editorial Team—
Since its launch a couple months ago, the Mac App Store has grown significantly. According to analytics from a research report by Distimo, in less than 2 months the Mac App Store more than doubled the number of apps to 2,225 since its launch. While this is good for consumers, it begs the question…will the demand for apps grow proportionately to the supply? If not, mac app developers may be in for a rude awakening when it comes to how much they are used to getting paid for their hard work.
In fact, there are already some signs of prices weakening. One developer has already pulled together some data that shows app prices have declined an astounding 20% in the same time period that the number of apps doubled. I am doubting this is a coincidence.
From a consumer standpoint, the Mac App Store is pretty blissful overall with a few caveats. You search, you read reviews, you download and install. Seems simple enough and its certainly more efficient than the alternative. Additionally, all the apps you download from the Mac App Store are updated automatically just like Apple’s native Software Update included in OS X which is one of the best features in my opinion.
But the Mac App Store also leaves much to be desired for users - especially in terms of discovery. Today, the only real way I search the Mac App Store is by surfing the “top grossing app” or perhaps checking out the top 20 apps in a couple categories. In all, there are thousands of mac apps in the store but due to time and interface restrictions…I only ever view maybe a hundred of them - tops. Some describe this as “meritocracy”, but others say it basically kills the chance for the little guy. In my opinion, at best, it’s a major discovery problem from both a developer and consumer standpoint.
So, what to do? How about invite a few friends!
Being void of any real social inputs, its like going to Disneyland without any friends. I mean, I can ride the best rollercoasters all day long, but without meaningful peeps to share it with…its just not quite as fun. I want to know what people in my social networks on twitter, facebook, and linkedin are using so my options aren’t limited to the top 20 apps!
So, what does it mean for the future?
Well, Phil Libin of Evernote fame is a big fan of the Mac App Store and sees great things ahead for good reason…check out the graph below.
But other developers aren’t so sure.
For instance, devs have to wait for apps to be reviewed before going live which can be problematic for a number of reasons. First of all, as it usually is with Apple..the process is a black box so you never know how long it will take. Secondly, if you have a critical bug fix…there is no way to get an immediate update to the store - users will continue to download a bunk version. I’ve heard other concerns around the wait to get paid (typically around 45 days) and others aren’t happy with the fact that Apple’s cut is roughly 1/3 of the price.
While its not perfect from any angle, the Mac App Store is here to stay and should have an overall positive impact for all parties involved - because at the end of the day its about growing the size of the entire pie, not any particular slice. If that happens, everyone wins.