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by Oliver - -

This is the last post to the Chronicles.

After almost 10 years, the old Boinx blogging platform is ripe for retirement. Over the last couple of months, we built a new platform and today, we are restarting the Boinx Blog under a new URL and with new gusto!

Go to the new Blog.

Posts from 2004 to today will remain available on this site for reference and permalinks will continue to work.

iStopMotion | FotoMagico | Boinx | Mousepose | BoinxTV | PhotoPresenter | Opinion | iStopMotioniPad | Comments

by Megan - -

We’re proud to announce that Boinx was recently named a finalist for White Bull Summits’s annual “Bully Award!” White Bull aims to help companies succeed, and their team of media experts, analysts, journalists, and seasoned executives serve to seek out companies on the cutting edge. They then connect them with one other to give them the best chance at success. We can certainly appreciate that, seeing as we try to inspire success, too!

The Bully Award is given to one of Europe’s brightest tech stars whose firm has demonstrated excellence in innovation and growth potential. This year’s 60 finalists were selected based upon a standardized analysis that was designed with the help of the top business schools in the world. The pool will be narrowed down to 30 winners at the Pathways to Exit Summit, which gathers together some of the industry’s top entrepreneurs, global investors, corporate development execs, and services firms who support the ecosystem. Pathways will take place on October 9th in Barcelona. Boinx’s own Oliver and Achim Breidenbach will be speaking at the conference, as well as assisting with a live stream broadcast using BoinxTV. It’s sure to be a fantastic night filled with talent and inspirational success stories.

The winners of the Bully Award will fall into one of three categories: “Yearlings,” which includes firms that seek or have received angel/seed rounds or equivalent, considered classic start-up companies; “Young Bulls,” which includes firms that seek or have received Series A financing, considered early stage companies (like Boinx!); and finally, “Longhorns,” post-Series A firms, considered growth stage companies.

Click here for a full list of the finalists for the 2013 Bully Award. We wish all of the nominees the best of luck, and we thank White Bull for honoring Boinx on their list!

Boinx | Comments

by Megan - -

Hey iFans! Day Two of Macworld | iWorld is shortly coming to a close, so we wanted to check in and announce Boinx has been given a 2012 Macworld | iWorld Best of Show award! We’re very honored and excited to receive such an award, especially when pitted against some pretty cool software and product developers. iStopMotion for iPad was one of 11 winners of the esteemed award, with products handpicked by the ever wise editors at Macworld. Overall, Day Two has been another success for the Boinx crew. We’ve had Gordon Straub of Moose Movies demonstrating iStopMotion for iPad and received lots of great feedback and praise from Macworld attendees. Thanks to all for making our experience at Macworld | iWorld so great! And the fun doesn’t end today, stop by the Boinx booth (818 – 2J) in the Mobile Apps showcase tomorrow for more stop motion fun. Photos of the event and award presentation to come!

Boinx | iStopMotioniPad | Comments

by Oliver - -

There are things in life that, although you see them coming, still hit you like a brick wall. And although you were sort of thinking you'd have enough time to deal with them, when they happen, you realize that you are in fact very ill prepared.

One day in early 1977, my father met Steve Jobs. And it was not just a brief handshake, either. The encounter over lunch led to the first Apple 1 computers being brought to Europe, to the basement of my family's house, where my father had his microcomputer lab. I was 7 years old. The miraculous machine captured my imagination and has not let go of it since. Eventually the passion ignited in me and my brother that year led to the creation of Boinx Software, more than 20 years later.

Letter from Steve, pre-email. Photo taken with iPhone 4S

The similarities between Steve Jobs and my dad don't end with both being fascinated by technology and both having a profound influence on my life and my company. In April of this year, my father passed away. Incidentally, he died of the same cause as Steve Jobs, respiratory arrest caused by a metastatic tumor in the lungs. Like Steve Jobs, he did what he loved until just days before his death. Like Steve Jobs, what he loved was driving innovation at the company he founded. I was lucky to be at his bedside when he died.

When I saw Steve Jobs take the stage for the keynote at WWDC 2011 back in June, I immediately knew it would be his last keynote. Not only did he look like my father did just weeks before his death, he also had the same weak, almost squeaky voice. That morning I pondered whether I had seen enough Stevenotes and whether it would be worthwhile to jump through the hoops that Apple hands out before a keynote, including long waiting lines and "People Management" like in Kindergarten. But when I saw Steve, I was glad I bothered to take that last chance to see the genius in action once more.


Apple 1. Photo taken with iPhone 4S

On October 5th, 2011, at 3pm I was sitting in a meeting room at 3 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, CA. I had come more than 5500 miles from my office to demo our latest creation, codenamed Ziegenbart, to a couple of Apple people. They liked it very much and so I left in a good mood. The weather, cold and rainy in the morning, had turned into a bright, nice, sunny Fall afternoon. When he showed me off in front of the building, my contact at Apple briefly wondered about Katie Cotton’s, Apple's PR Manager, car parked seemingly in a hurry at the curb. "Where she is, Steve Jobs is not far away", he said.

When I turned into the rental car return lot at San Francisco International 30 minutes later to return my car and check in for my trip back to Europe, I heard the news on the radio. Steve Jobs had died, an era had come to an end.

I never expected that I would be less than 10 miles away when it happened.

Boinx | Opinion | Comments

by Cara - -

This week, TUAW and MacTech teamed up to speak with developers at WWDC in San Francisco about the keynote and how Apple's new technologies will help better their products. TUAW's Victor Agreda got a chance to sit down with our very own Oliver Breidenbach and chat about WWDC, as well as the brand new Orientator for BoinxTV and LibOrientator for iOS developers. "Oliver's team delivers a great suite of tools for animators, filmmakers, videographers, and presenters," says Victor. "We spoke about their business and what the WWDC announcements mean to them."

Watch the video here!

Boinx | Comments

by Oliver - -

Today is Mega Release Day at Boinx Software. Engineering was very busy the last couple of weeks and so a total of 7 updates just went live on the App Stores and the web site:

  • iStopMotion 2.7 - Full French and Japanese localizations and many bug fixes. All flavors (Home/Express/Pro) have been updated.
  • FotoMagico 3.7.5 - Updates to the audio volume control and bug fixes. FotoMagico Home and FotoMagico Pro have been updated.
  • PhotoPresenter 4.1.1 – Complete french localization and https support for Facebook.
  • You Gotta See This! 1.5 - Post your panographies to Flickr in addition to Facebook and Twitter.

The updates are free if you have a valid license and are available for download from boinx.com or the Mac/iPhone App Store.

iStopMotion | FotoMagico | Boinx | PhotoPresenter | YouGottaSeeThis | Comments

by Oliver - -

Phew.

It is done!

All our Mac Apps are now approved for the Mac App Store.

Shortly after Apple announced the Mac App Store back on October 20th, 2010 we decided that there was little choice but bringing our products to this new distribution channel. But we also decided that we would not go all-in but keep our existing channels and keep the prices in the App Store at the same level as in our other channels.

Unsure about what the published "Submission Guidelines" would mean exactly for our apps, we also decided to try it on one app first before investing the time and money to bring the rest of the apps to the table.

We quickly discovered that the work that needed to be done was primarily factored into our base frameworks, the part of the code that is shared between our apps and that it would be easy to transfer this across our apps. The product causing us most headaches was FotoMagico Pro.

There were two issues with FotoMagico Pro that seemed very difficult to resolve:

PhotoPresenter and FotoMagico

Outside the app store it comes bundled with PhotoPresenter. The reason for this is dated a couple of years back. We have 3 products that focus on slideshows: PhotoPresenter, which is a template based slide show app, FotoMagico Home which gives users the freedom to design the flow or story of the slide show for birthdays or other family events and FotoMagico Pro which helps professional photographers to create additional revenue from the photos they've already sold. In 2008, customers had come to see the products in a linear order based on their pricing: PhotoPresenter -> FotoMagico Home -> FotoMagico Pro.

To drive home the point that PhotoPresenter and FotoMagico Home are equal products and both useful to the same user, we adjusted the pricing so that PhotoPresenter and FotoMagico Home were priced the same and included PhotoPresenter with FotoMagico Pro.

Since then, the market has changed and the Mac App Store does not allow bundles, so we decided to change strategies and make PhotoPresenter independent again. So, beginning next monday, PhotoPresenter 4.1 will be available at the Mac App Store for just US$9.99. FotoMagico Pro on the app store will not be bundled with PhotoPresenter and sell for US$139.99.

Our non-Mac App Store channels will continue to bundle FotoMagico Pro with PhotoPresenter at the current price of US$149.

FotoMagico Pro Plugins

The other major issue are the two plugins we ship with FotoMagico Pro. The plugin for Aperture allows you to collect images in Aperture and open a pre-populated slideshow in FotoMagico. You can then fine tune the story in FotoMagico. The plugin for Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express, After Effects and Motion allows you to more easily use a FotoMagico slideshow in those host applications.

The thing preventing FotoMagico Pro from getting approved was, that, on the first application launch, FotoMagico Pro would look for Aperture and Final Cut and install the plugins at the appropriate places. In order for FotoMagico Pro to get approved, we changed this: FotoMagico Pro users can now download a separate installer for the plugins from a webpage. This solution, while being a less pleasant experience, works for now.

FotoMagico Pro was the last app approved on Feb. 22nd, 2011, almost 4 months after we started to work on the Mac App Store project.

How did the Mac App Store perform?

Interestingly, the very first app to be approved and for sale was FotoMagico Home. It was featured on the Mac App Store at launch and occupied the top right spot in "New and noteworthy":

This lead to massive sales on the launch weekend (Jan 6.th through 8th.). In fact, in the first 5 days we sold half as many licenses of FotoMagico Home as we had in all of 2010.

The other interesting thing was, that our existing sales channels also seemed to get a boost in sales during that time. In fact, the sales through Kagi and our other partners are as strong or better than the same period in 2010.

While the sales on the Mac App Store initially were additional sales, I fully expect this to slowly change over the course of the next couple of months due to a couple of factors.

What did we learn so far?

Keeping the channels in sync is a massive endeavor. Differences in licensing models, release cycles, user experience and more are bound to cause confusion among customers. For example, many people expected to be able to update a FotoMagico Home they purchased on the Mac App Store to FotoMagico Pro by buying an update through Kagi.

There are also problems with pricing. The App Store does not allow for arbitrary pricing but ties a developer to "tiers". This means you can not have "$49" but need to go for "$49.99". The tiers space out more the more expensive an app is, so you can't have "$152" or "$319". Luckily, there are tiers that match our current pricing very closely. We always maintained that having "xxx.99" was kind of silly, but the guy who decided the pricing tiers at the app store obviously thinks it is a great idea. Over time, we will adapt our other channels to match the prices exactly.

The more serious pricing issue, however, is the fact that Apple has different fixed pricing tiers for some currencies like the Euro and that those tiers have deviated quite substantially from the currency exchange rates in the time that has passed since they have been fixed. This is the reason why our products on the Mac App Store are substantially cheaper in Europe compared to Kagi and substantially more expensive in Japan. Action on our part will also be required here since it is unlikely that Apple will fix it.

We also learned that in the app store, having different application "levels" like Home, Express and Pro is more confusing to the customer. Since they can not easily upgrade from Home to Express, the decision of what flavor to go for is actually a barrier to purchase rather than making the purchase decision easier by offering a lower point of entry. I hope that Apple is going to introduce in-app purchase soon. Then, we might be able to change the model and have only one product on the store with add-ons to purchase that take the user to the next level.

I think these factors, combined with the marketing drive from Apple will make the App Store more and more attractive to customers, eventually drawing them away from our traditional distribution channels.

Bottom Line

The review process was (and still is) very inefficient. What took almost 4 months could have been accomplished in just one if the reviewers, instead of looking for the first reason to reject an app on every app we submitted, had done a thorough review with us on one app pointing out all the issues at once.

But, so far, the Mac App Store has been good to us. FotoMagico Home was featured at the launch which brought a big spike in sales, I was quoted in the official press release and we found out that the Mac App Store reviewers are real people who give their best. Apple has done a tremendous job getting the App Store up and running in less than 3 months after the announcement.

BTW, if you are interested in how we manage the build process with all the different products for the various sales channels, our engineering is preparing an article which is about to be published soon.

FotoMagico | Boinx | PhotoPresenter | Comments

by Oliver - -

AppleTell's Kirk Hiner spoke with Oliver Breidenbach at Macworld 2011 about the future of the Expo and how the event needs to focus on being a meeting platform to remain interesting to vendors.

Boinx | Opinion | Comments

by Sarah - -

Watch the interview about BoinxTV Home with Oliver Breidenbach and Mike Schramm of TUAW. Directly from the TUAW booth at Macworld Expo 2011, produced with BoinxTV on the show floor.

Boinx | BoinxTV | Comments

by Oliver - -

2011 is off to a good start with the launch of the Mac App Store. Steve Jobs even quoted our CEO in his press release.

Many customers have contacted us with questions regarding the Mac App Store. The answers to those questions are probably of interest to all of our customers, so we are posting them here:

Q: Are you going to continue to sell your products outside the App Store?
A: Yes. All currently available products will continue to be available through our website. However, we are going to announce an exciting new product soon which will be available exclusively at the Mac App Store to begin with, because we want to try out this path of action.

Q: I noticed that the apps in the store are newer versions. Are you abandoning customers who bought the apps the traditional way?
A: No way! For the launch of the App Store, we had to submit new versions of our products. Those do not have new features except for the licensing stuff that had to be added for the App Store. The versions available from our website will be updated ASAP. In the future, because of the App Store approval process, it might be that some versions are released first outside the App Store, some will be released simultaneously, but overall the goal is to keep everything in sync as much as technically possible.

Q: Why are the prices different between the App Store and your website?
A: The Mac App Store does not allow us to set the prices arbitrarily. We chose the "tiers" that are closest to the pricing on our website. Over time, we will harmonize the pricing.

Q: I bought FotoMagico Home on the App Store. Can I upgrade to FotoMagico Pro?
A: No. Unfortunately, the App Store does not allow for cross- or upgrades. For the time being, this remains an advantage of buying the apps from our website instead of through the Mac App Store. The unofficial way is to request a refund with Apple and repurchase FotoMagico Pro from our website.

Q: Why is FotoMagico Pro not available on the App Store?
A: Currently, FotoMagico Pro comes with plugins for Aperture and Final Cut Pro. The App Store submission guidelines prohibit an app from installing plugins anywhere on the system. Until we figured out a solution for this, FotoMagico Pro will not be available on the App Store.

If you have further questions, please feel free to tweet, post on our Facebook wall or send them by good old email.

iStopMotion | FotoMagico | Boinx | Comments


 

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