When you have multiple apps that interact with each other across multiple operating systems and devices, it’s never easy to just release a major update. If you then throw in some other opportunities (or hiccups?) like sandboxing, GateKeeper and Mountain Lion, it complicates things even further. So I’m here to talk about how a number of our products and some forthcoming updates you’ll be seeing from us.
Let’s first talk about iBank for Mac. We’ve been pushing small releases over the last several months that add enhancements and fix small bugs. However, we have also been working on iBank 4.5, which will offer a number of significant changes. While many of the changes for iBank 4.5 will go unnoticed to some users, the changes are quite significant. First, it will only run on OS X 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8. We are dropping support for OS X 10.5 because we can no longer support 10.5, Sandboxing, Mountain Lion and GateKeeper. For those of you still on 10.5, you will get one more update, iBank 4.3.4, in the upcoming weeks. Unfortunately, we simply cannot compile a single binary that supports 4 major operating systems and keeps up with Apple’s progressive technological changes. Second, iBank 4.5 (and 4.3.4 for that matter) will no longer support iBank Mobile syncing via MobileMe because MobileMe and iDisk will no longer exist after June 30th. Third, iBank 4.5 will add support for syncing with iBank for iPad, including syncing of security transactions. Lastly, iBank 4.5 will be Sandboxed and support GateKeeper via signing the app with a Developer ID issued from Apple. In order to Sandbox the app we will also be removing our backup feature. This is something we aren’t terribly excited about doing, but there is no known way to support backup and Sandboxing. We are working with Apple to get the required APIs, but we don’t have a timeframe for when they might be available. Hopefully most of our customers have moved on to Time Machine enabled backups and if you haven’t yet, now is a great time; you really should be backing up more than just your iBank documents.
I want to talk a little about iCloud. When Apple first announced iCloud, I was excited. It clearly has the potential to be the “digital hub” replacement. However, I’m very much less enthusiastic about how Apple is restricting it. If we want to use iCloud on the Mac to allow people to sync iBank documents, it could only be implemented in copies of iBank sold via the Mac App Store. So we would need to create two separate versions of iBank, or we’d have to stop selling our app from our online store. In a nutshell, it doesn’t make sense for us to do that. I certainly hope that Apple’s policy on this changes, but until then we won’t be supporting iCloud syncing. This is really too bad because I know our customers want it. I want it too, but we can’t do it the way iCloud is currently implemented. So we hope to announce an alternative sync solution in the near future.
Many people have been asking when iBank for iPad will be released. I don’t have a specific date, but I can say it will be this summer. It’s the biggest undertaking we’ve ever done at IGG, and while it has taken a bit longer than we hoped, we are very excited about the end product. When it does ship, we think you’ll really enjoy it. I hope to do a couple more posts about iBank for iPad while it’s still being developed, so stay tuned.