It’s been about three and a half years since I first addressed the question of PocketBible for the Mac. Things have changed significantly since then, so I thought I’d post an update so I’d have somewhere to direct those of you who ask about PocketBible for the Mac.
As I mentioned in my previous post on this topic from 2007, we’re not anti-Mac here. In fact, since then Jeff and I have converted to almost 100% Mac. For example, my primary desktop machine is a 2.8 GHz dual quad-core Mac Pro on which I run Mac OS (of course) plus both Windows XP and 7 under Parallels. One of my two monitors can be switched to my old PC running Windows XP, but since installing Office for Mac and moving the small amount of Windows development I do to my Mac, I rarely use it.
As you know Jeff and I spend two days each week working “off-site” which for us means taking our laptops to a coffee shop instead of working from home. For those days I carry a basic 13″ MacBook that is configured to do both Android and iPhone development.
Jeff’s configuration is similar but he does more of his day-to-day work on his MacBook Pro. And while the rest of my family runs Windows, Jeff’s is more of a Mac family.
In addition to the Macs, we both have more than one iPad, iPhone and/or iPod touch. I literally sleep with my iPad, which allows me to dispense with the morning email and Facebook updates before I even get up. The point is, we’re far from anti-Mac here, even though there’s no PocketBible for Mac.
In my 2007 article on this topic I focussed on market share. At the time, the Mac represented about 10% of the personal computer market in the US. That was probably overstated. 6% might have been closer to the truth. As near as I can tell it’s around 10% now (Q1 2011). I’ve seen stats based on recording information from website visits that shows Mac OS at 15% in the US, but I haven’t seen that number anywhere other than one study. Everything else I’ve seen is around 10%. With that in mind, my previous discussion of the financial aspects of making the decision to do PocketBible for Mac still applies.
What is different, however, is the amount of Mac-friendly code we now have in hand. Since iOS (the iPhone operating system) is very similar to Mac OS, and since programming for iOS uses the same Objective-C programming language as is used on the Mac, we have quite a library of PocketBible code already ported to the Mac. In fact, in some of my early testing I actually compiled the code for the Mac and displayed the contents of PocketBible LBK files on a Mac rather than an iPhone.
However, while it’s getting easier for us to make the decision to develop for the Mac, one thing that is still an issue is our limited resources. It’s still just me and Jeff here doing programming. Many of you have written to say “just hire more programmers”. That’s a great suggestion, but it ignores reality. Imagine if I came to you and said, “Just buy a new house!” or “Just buy a new car!” Few of you would say, “Oh, yeah, I never thought of that — I’ll just take a few pounds of cash from this pile I keep in my closet and buy a new one.” The reality is that hiring a programmer or two is expensive, and while many of you seem to think that we’re making more money than we can count (“profiteering from the Word of God” as many of you like to say) the reality is that Laridian doesn’t throw off that much cash.
With that in mind, we always have to consider how we make use of our time. One of the things we’ve learned with PocketBible for WIndows is that even though it’s a really nice Windows BIble program, our expertise and customer base is really concentrated on mobile devices. To the extent that a desktop program can interact with, supplement, or enhance our mobile products, it can be successful. But it’s hard for it to be successful on its own as a stand-alone desktop Bible program. So it’s best for us to always first think about mobile platforms before turning our attention to the desktop (be it Windows or Mac).
When we look at our world from that point of view, Android is the obvious place where we need to focus. It is definitely the up-and-coming platform in the mobile space, and Laridian is notoriously absent. We want to be there; we’re working on being there; and we’re going to be there. But the time spent working on Android is time we can’t spend on Mac.
To be honest, we would love to take some time and do a Mac version of PocketBible. So rest assured it’s at the top of the to-do list here. Unfortunately there are several tasks that share that position.