The iPod movement passed me by. From the music was and wasn’t just about listening to the music it was about the DJ moments in between the tracks and so, for a while at least, I did without having an iPod. Then I discovered podcasts, along comes the iPhone, and things were set to change from then onwards. And things got even better with Instacast.
As you are no doubt aware there are plenty of programs to choose that will automate the download of your favourite podcasts rather than trudging through the interface of iTunes. My choice of software was always Instacast. For me the program just felt right. The interface was slick and easy-to-use and I was more than happy to shell out my hard in money for a program that I was using on a daily basis.
I’ve reviewed Instacast here back in the early days and it even made it onto our Essential mac list of essential apps as when I purchased it back on the 29th November 2011 I was happy with good money well spent..
Noticed I used the word “was” back there.
Like all good things I stuck with it through thick and thin. Even when some of the software updates rendered the program pretty much unusable. But overall you got the feeling that the developers were really passionate about the product and you knew that when the book was reported they would be working on it.
So with all this favouritism why am I now dumping Instacast. In the last program update, for a program that I have paid for, were removed. Needing me to repurchase the program to get the existing functionality back that I had already paid for.
Yes, you read that right. They removed features that I had paid for upon purchase and we aren’t talking about minor features. Some of them were the reasons why I bought the program in the 1st place.
Features that were removed can they be purchased with the use of the micro-payment system within the application itself.
But what really annoys me is that on the update screen within the application store on my iPhone there was no mention all warning of what would happen upon the update, simply citing “fixes”
Buyers / Upgrade Anxiety
My main reason for writing this article is that I’m a little bit worried. Not being a developer I’m not privy to the terms and conditions that are applicable when you write down the text to say what will happen in the next update. Will this set a worrying trend for other developers? Will they follow suit and start removing features from a paid for program only to release them in the guise of a pro or HD version?
The other side of the argument?
For the console gamers out there who are familiar with the PlayStation. Upon release the PlayStation could originally play PlayStation 1 games to maintain backwards capabilities. This was not a core feature of the console but merely an add-on. Several months down the line, Sony then remove this feature for whatever reason. Yes, in this case they do reserve the right to do what they want with the hardware because technically if we read the license agreements, the only really renting the console.(Yes that is a gross oversimplification I realise)
But where does this stop? If you bought and paid for the next version of Lion, Apple then release an upgrade which removes several key features, then ask you to purchase those key features it removed is that okay?
Are the actions of the Instacast developers less heinous because of the cash amount involved? Originally I paid £1.49 for the app and you could argue that in the grand scheme of things, another £1.49 (incidentally the arm for the USA only cost $.99) is in Islamabad, is the whole principle of the way it was done.
Let’s be fair about this.
I am going to post my thoughts on the review on the application store but am not going to follow suit like others and only give it one star. 1 star reviews really do stick with an application throughout its life span and despite all this it really does deserve more than one star. I’ll probably give it a 2 or 3 star rating because although I understand the need to generate revenue from a good application I still feel like I’ve been penalised.
Update 28th May
Credit where it’s due. A recent release of instacast has put some of the removed features back in such as smart playlists. Its a step in the right direction for sure meaning that there is hope for updates that don’t remove features.