iBird Ultimate and Plus: Why Can't I Update?




  • Fred M. Rhoades

    Apple is rapidly losing my interest in sticking with their products.  They are discontinuing small phones.  Their OS upgrades continually push me out of using old apps that work perfectly well.

    iBird is not much better.  I bought iBirdPlus early on because it had just enough features that I was happy to use it.  Then they separated the journaling from the ID app, forcing me to buy a new, stand-alone and made it quite difficult to move between the two.  Now you are saying I have to quit both to get into something different.  On and on it goes.  I'm not buying right now.

    If you want my business, you need to offer some kind of discount to previous iBirdPlus users - I know Apple somewhat ties your hand in how to do this but it should be relatively simple for you guys and girls can send out the $$ reimbursement.

  • Tomas Nonnenmacher

    I agree with Fred. I bought iBird Ultimate because it was the "ultimate" version. It is very disappointing to then be told that this version is discontinued and I must now buy another version. It can't be impossible to offer a discount to folks who bought non-pro versions.

  • John Lanum

    Fred you said: "Apple is rapidly losing my interest in sticking with their products.  They are discontinuing small phones.  Their OS upgrades continually push me out of using old apps that work perfectly well."

    I think this is a conclusion that many Apple fans are reaching. Part of the problem is that with the iPhone, Steve Jobs created a huge inflection point and disruptor that totally altered people's lives. Since 2007 Apple has not been able to offer any kind of follow up, which is not surprising given its master visionary passed away.

    For the last 10 years Apple has been able to milk the profits of the iPhone in record producing ways. But with no product as radical to follow the iPhone, Apple has had to raise prices to keep up profits. They have tried producing new models of phones to keep their sales up. But with the worldwide  sales of smartphones saturating at 500 million per year for the last 3 years, there is really no where for Apple to go but incremental improvements. They have tried the smartwatch market and done well, but its a rounding error in it's contribution to the bottom line. They have managed to increase their services business substantially but its not clear how its going to make up for lost iPhone sales.

    I wish we could offer some kind of discount to previous owners of iBird Plus and Ultimate but as I tried to explain there is no way for us to do this.

  • John Lanum

    Tomas as I explained in the FAQ there is no way for us to provide a discount to prior customers. As I said we don't even know who are customers are. Until Apple provides us a method to give us discounts our hands are tied.

  • Snettocs

    I have had Ultimate for some time as well. They have a bundle of 3 apps right now for $14.99, which seems like a pretty reasonable deal as long as there is quite a bit of improvement to the app from Ultimate to Pro version. One of the 3 apps is iBird Sleuth which is a photo IDing app.


  • Wilf Vielguth

    I bought Ultimate in January 2018.  Frustrated and angry that iBird knew in 2017 they would be curtailing their app lineup to one app and didn't have the courtesy to make that information available to the buying public on the App store.  And I am surprised that you didn't negotiate/discuss with Apple for the "promo code" when all of this was taking place.  You now have my email address so you can forward me an e-transfer of my costs for Ultimate to purchase Pro.  I did send an email to Apple.

    I wonder if either of you will come through for your customers.

  • John Lanum

    All developers are under a non-disclosure agreement with Apple. So there was nothing I could talk about. Further we were not even sure we could get the consolidated app to work the way Apple asked us to. We put in a gigantic effort to try to get the new tools to work and we kept hitting a wall. Negotiate? Have you ever developed apps for Apple or Google? There is no negotiation.

    Let us know if you hear from Apple, I really hope you get a satisfactory solution.

  • Fred M. Rhoades

    John,  I'm sorry but not surprised to hear these things about how Apple runs its business.  Only supports my growing dislike of their ongoing corporate policies.  Does your new iBirdPro Version 12 (or whatever you are calling it) have the journaling feature back within the app, or does it still require that separate app purchase.  My experience with iBirdPlus and the Journaling app was that they were next to useless used together.  Many things didn't seem to carry over from the iBird app to the journaling app so you had to reenter them.

    If all these good things you have done in the past, and the new good things you describe are in the present (& future?) I might reconsider.

    I am writing Tim Cook however.

  • Tomas Nonnenmacher

    Hi John,

    I'm asking because I'm curious: I've registered my product, bought in-app purchases like the Mexican Owls expansion, and get emails from iBird. All that, and you still don't you know who I am? If you have the email list, why not send out an email to your ultimate and plus mailing list telling them that you're having a super sale on pro to help ease the transition over?

    The $14.99 isn't a big deal and I'll most likely buy iBird pro at some point. In the meantime, I'll be testing out the new Sibley app.

  • John Lanum

    Fred I understand how you feel, and I hope your email to Tim makes a difference. Because iBird Journal is a large and different set of functionalities than a field guide and so we need to keep it a separate app with free updates. However we do plan a major overhaul of Journal in 2019 and make it much more seamless and unobtrusive. 

  • John Lanum

    Tomas, that is correct, even though you have purchased IAPs and registered your app, we have no receipt that shows what you bought from Apple. So I can communicate with you via our newsletter but I can't confirm what you own in any reliable way. 

    Yes $14.99 is not a huge number but think about the customer who bought Ultimate for $19.99, then purchased Mexican Owls and the Time of Day IAPs. They have spent $25! Now the facts are that these apps and IAPs still work just fine, we are not taking anything away. But if they want to participate in the future updates they will have to spend $14.99 as you point out. Thats just not fair to them.

  • Wilf Vielguth

    John, I appreciate your replies to my comment and those of the others on this site and you have developed a good app, no question.  Tomas does bring up a good point that you have all of our email addresses on your mailing list.  So my suggestion is to do as Tomas has suggested email your clients on the mailing list.  And if you truly mean what you say,  provide a refund or partial refund to those who purchased Ultimate or Plus (at the very least from the date when began Apple talking to you about developing the new app) and can provide you with a receipt of that purchase.  I still have mine.

  • Jeff Holle

    I will gladly pay for the new app to replace my iBird Ultimate. Developers need to make a living, and this is one of my most used apps.

    This is the first I have heard of Apple pushing developers to consolidate, and I am all for it. I have been frustrated many times by similar apps by the same developer, and not just this app. Other apps are moving to subscription models, which again, I will gladly do if it is something indispensable to me. I now subscribe to my password manager, which is the most valuable app I have.

    Thanks for a great product!

  • John Lanum

    Wilf thanks for the suggestion about offering refunds. Keep in mind that customers have have owned and enjoyed the iBird Ultimate and Plus apps for many years. The apps have been continuously updated until a few months ago. And so  99% of the content in these apps is still valid. Both apps remain very viable, so we are only talking about future updates. To make a refund, for a payment on a product made years ago, would not be fair to us and could bankrupt our business. The only thing that is fair for both us and the customer is to offer customers a way to "trade in" Ultimate or Plus for iBird Pro. That way they get an app with a future and we don't take a huge loss. I am really hoping Apple comes up with a way to make it possible for us to offer this idea to customers.

    Jeff I really appreciate your viewpoint and wish everyone felt that way. I think most people just don't understand the huge effort that goes it to both creating apps and keeping them updated. I can understand why they are not aware of this too. We've considered subscriptions and may someday use them, but for now we don't have a clear idea of how to take advantage of subscriptions in a birding app.

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