Previously I’d written about the impending launch of Garage Band for iPad, and mentioned how Apple’s release of this app will challenge smaller independent app developers in the music creation space.
Today’ I’m at it again. With yesterday’s release of iOS 4.3, it seems that Apple has again taken a bite out of a developer’s revenue stream.
I’m talking specifically about enhancements to iTunes Home Sharing that enable video and audio streaming from any properly configured iTunes-running computer on your network.
Yep, this is a good thing, and it’s very cool tech. It’s great that Apple is making it available for free. And it’s unfortunate that it’s also putting pressure on the developers of the Air Video and StreamToMe apps, both very good streaming applications.
Innovate or else. This is competition?
So now the ball is back in the developers court. They have to prove that their apps worth real money, and are better or different than iTunes Home Sharing, which is free and just an update away.
And the developers aren’t working from a position of strength that Apple is with all the resources at it’s disposal.
Air Video and StreamToMe and others offer significant differentiators from Apple’s Home Sharing, in that they can be set up to stream video from your home server to your location anywhere on the Internet, provided you’ve properly configured your network and the apps. I’ve not seen an easy way to set iTunes up to extend Home Sharing to an Internet connected device. It may exist, but I’ve not seen it yet.
But wait, there’s more!
Home media streaming isn’t the only area Apple’s jumped into recently. As mentioned at the start of this post, Garage Band for iPad launched today. And it looks like an awesome app!
Which has some music app makers re-evaluating their product and pricing structures when compared against Garage Band iPad.
For example, today KORG dropped the price of its hugely awe-inspiringly-complex synth, the iMS-20. Given the complexity and power of the app, KORG had it initially pegged at $32.99. Today the price dropped to half at $15.99.
No update. No improvements. Just a change in the landscape tomorrow and an app is worth $15.00 less.
Sure, comparing a $4.99 iPad Garage Band against a full featured $32.99 $15.99 synth is Apples to Oranges. But is it? Many buyers of iPad Garage Band have Macs, which already have the full computer version of Garage Band installed as part of the standard Mac bundle. A built-in audience and income stream for the iPad app.
In the end, the consumer is winning, it seems. With Garage Band, they get a new, reasonably priced and powerful app for their iPads. And they’ll also benefit by some price cuts on other apps whose developers will feel the need to compete with Garage Band’s price, bringing them into line with consumer new expectations. Winning — for the consumer.
For the app developers? That remains to be seen.
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