Panic Inc.

Panic Blog

From the desk of Cabel
Portland, Oregon 97205

The 2014 Panic Report

XOXO photobooth

It ended with a bang.

For the last year or so, Panic was typically heads-down quiet. But as 2014 drew to a close, our furious typing came to fruition and a whole lot of magic happened. It felt great.

If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to write a little more about our business than we normally do. Why not?


So many wonderful things shipped in 2014:

Transmit iOS (1.0, 1.0.1, 1.0.2, 1.1, 1.1.1, and 1.1.2)
Transmit iOSYes, a brand new iOS app from Panic! This extremely capable iOS file transfer client is an idea we’d considered in the past but didn’t green-light until Sharing Extensions were formally announced at WWDC — bringing file transfer to other iOS apps made this idea sing. It helps that our engine had already been ported (thanks to Diet Coda), but one interesting note: from start to finish this was a three-month project. I think that’s a tremendous accomplishment given its meaty features and beautiful fit and finish. Feedback has been spectacular — from MacStories to MacUser, people love it.

Prompt 2 (2.0, 2.0.1, 2.0.2, and 2.0.3)
Prompt 2A very welcome update to our popular SSH client for iOS at last went out the door. With a new engineer focused on this project full-time, we updated the UI, added some much-requested new features, and brought Prompt into the modern era. Plus, it was the perfect candidate to help test and implement Panic Sync.

Coda 2.5 (2.5 and 2.5.1)
Coda 2.5A monumental — and free — update to our already-monumental OS X web coding app. It took too long to get out the door — I’ll say it’s no fault of the team, but rather a series of difficult decisions (that I’ll detail below) that meant a lot of wasted time followed by writing our own sync server. But we added huge features (local indexer! indentation guides! plugin improvements!) and cleaned up the UI and I think we ultimately delivered on the original promise of Coda 2.0 in a way I think our Coda customers have deeply appreciated.

Panic Sync
Panic SyncAfter lots of discussion, we decided the only way to provide a truly great sync experience for our customers was to control both sides of the equation — the server and the client. So, after a ton of research into what was available, we wrote our own. After successfully launching Panic Sync service, and its web interface, we’ve been adding it to all of our apps, with more to come. At last count, there were over 400,000 sites being synced with Panic Sync — and nearly zero downtime. I’m especially proud of the transparency on our Panic Sync webpage — no solution can be perfect or fully secure, so we thought it was best to put all of our cards on the table.

MiscEach of the app launches has meant we’ve also been continuously updating our webpages and UI to our latest style and palette, and that always feels good. We also created PunchClock, our cool open-source iBeacon project. We discontinued Unison to free up resources for the future, a difficult decision but one that most people seemed to understand. And 2014 was also the year that our video game project, Firewatch, funded by us and built by a great team in San Francisco, started full-scale production. We are extremely excited about this.


Not everything was super easy, of course. Here are some standout difficulties.

iOS Upgrades

We decided to make Prompt 2 a brand-new app. Amazingly, customer reaction was surprisingly neutral or positive — I was prepared for a 6-foot shitstorm and there was none. Why did we charge? The market for Prompt is small, and its revenue would not wholly cover the cost of infinite future development. The only way we could afford to do a 2.0 was to charge for it. The first problem: we have no idea who bought the app, so how do we let them know? Fortunately, we planned ahead, and added our home-grown Soapbox code to all of our apps, including Prompt 1. It allows us to push out a custom web page, one time, to customers on launch, based on a variety of criteria. So we were able to alert Prompt 1 owners that Prompt 2 exists. But still, we’re sure many people dismissed it immediately, and those people will never know they’re stuck with a version of Prompt that will never be updated. There’s also the matter of when it’s too soon to charge for a new version — as we prepare some new iOS updates, we’re still debating if we want to charge for those as well. My gut says no, that full price every single time is rough, but then we’re setting the precedent that maybe not all of our major upgrades are paid upgrades, which we’ve been pretty consistent about in the past. If we could offer traditional discounted upgrades via the App Store, this paragraph wouldn’t exist. This is one area where the App Store feels like one of those novelty peanut cans with the snake inside.

Leaving the Mac App Store

We’ve well-documented our struggles with Coda 2.5, Sandboxing, and the Mac App Store — first a warning in 2012, then this year when 2.5 shipped. Apple tried their best but realistically speaking we simply would have had to cut numerous Coda features, like the Terminal, MySQL local access, editing files as root, and more. To be honest, I was pretty nervous to be pulling Coda from the Mac App Store. But when we finally did it, I felt an incredible, almost indescribable sense of relief — mostly because as we began to wrap up bug fix releases, we were able to immediately post them to our customers within minutes of qualifying them. My god. That’s how it should be. There’s just no other way to put it — that’s how you treat your customers well, by reacting quickly and having total control over your destiny. To not be beholden to someone else to do our job feels just fantastic. (Also to not pay someone 30% in exchange for frequent stress is a fine deal.)

So, how’d it go? After running the numbers, it looks like Coda’s sales have not suffered significantly since leaving the Mac App Store. 

Coda was removed from the Mac App Store in mid-October, at the same time version 2.5 was released. Since new releases always generate a short-term sales spike and we wanted the numbers to be fairly representative of “typical sales”, we looked at one month on either side  — September and November.

The results were interesting. We sold a couple hundred fewer units of Coda post-App Store removal, but revenue from it went up by about 44%.

Now, two explanations for that: in addition to keeping the 30% that would have normally gone to Apple, we also returned Coda from its sale price ($79) to its regular price ($99) alongside the release of 2.5. Even if those factors hadn’t been in play, though, I don’t think the decline in Coda revenue would have been as dramatic as we originally feared it might be.

Of course we have it easy — it’s an established app with a dedicated customer base. If Coda did not already exist or Panic was not well-known, ignoring the Mac App Store would’ve been a much harder decision with possibly larger ramifications.

App Review

The last couple of months of 2014 got classically “exciting” as Transmit iOS was suddenly flagged by the App Review team for a violation — a well-documented situation, both on our blog, and sites like Daring Fireball and MacStories. Thanks almost exclusively to these articles, we very quickly got a very nice call from a contact at Apple, and the situation reversed almost immediately. Everything ended up just fine.

But I can’t comfortably say “the system worked”. It’s still an awful and nerve-wracking feeling to know that, at any minute, we could get thrown into a quagmire of e-mails, phone calls, code removal, and sadness, just by trying to ship something cool.

There’s a little more history here than I’m letting on. We had a very long, very torturous situation with Status Board almost being pulled that we’ve never written up out of sensitivity to our relationship with Apple. I only mention it here because it proves that it is possible to fix these awkward rejection situations without Apple suffering negative PR in the public eye — we did that “offline”. But it took an absolutely massive amount of mental energy and time to work through — positively Sisyphean. I would never want to do it again — I’ve run out of patience, I guess. I can say for certain that the “bad PR” version of the app dispute process is monumentally more effective. Which is a shame.

The ultimate irony, though, is that the press, and the pulling, totally temporarily bolstered Transmit iOS’s sales. It probably introduced the app to a lot of people for the first time. Here’s our sales chart… guess where the news hit?


When these things happen, the hardest part for me is knowing that Apple has a whole lot of good people we admire doing great work that we are inspired by, and that they are often overshadowed by teams and forces beyond their control. It must be infuriating.

Low iOS Revenue

This is the biggest problem we’ve been grappling with all year: we simply don’t make enough money from our iOS apps. We’re building apps that are, if I may say so, world-class and desktop-quality. They are packed with features, they look stunning, we offer excellent support for them, and development is constant. I’m deeply proud of our iOS apps. But… they’re hard to justify working on.

Here’s a way to visualize the situation. First up is a sample look at Units Sold for the month of November 2014:


Wow! 51% of our unit sales came from iOS apps! That’s great!

But now look at this revenue chart for the same month…


Despite selling more than half of our total units, iOS represents just 17% of our total revenue.

There are a few things at work here:

1. We’re not charging enough for our iOS apps. Or Mac users are simply willing to pay more for apps. Or both.
2. We’re not getting the word out well enough about our iOS apps.
3. The type of software we make just isn’t as compelling to iOS users as it is to Mac users. Our professional tools are geared for a type of user that simply might not exist on the iPad — admins and coders. We might have misjudged that market.

It’s really hard to say for sure. One thing is for certain: we are more likely to increase the price of our iOS software over time in an effort to make it make sense. And we’re less likely to tackle any huge new iOS projects until we get this figured out.


We generally don’t like to talk about future plans because it almost inevitably comes back to haunt us in some way. But I can confirm at least two things that will happen in 2015: a significant update to Diet Coda that will overhaul the UI, and the brand new Status Board 2 which adds fantastic features and is already entering beta. Also, Panic Sync will be added to Transmit for Mac in some form. Beyond that, we’ll have to see…


A handful of changes:

  • We formally moved onto Slack for team communication. We had nothing like this before, just e-mail. It’s been a huge boost for us, mostly because it keeps everybody on the same page a lot more efficiently, and it’s really good at searching. It can be overwhelming to keep on top of, but the good far outweighs the bad. I basically don’t get much e-mail anymore.
  • We moved the majority of our credit card processing over to Stripe.
  • We migrated our website into Git, using Vagrant and VirtualBox to allow each web developer here to run a virtualized version of the site on their desktop machine. It’s been great.
  • All of our other code projects began migrating into Git and GitLab. This was hard — it’s a lot of change and years of habits —  but we’re hoping it will be worth it down the road.
  • QA has become a lot more formalized thanks to some heroic efforts.
  • We also started to establish the idea that there are two tracks of Panic Projects: evergreens and seedlings. We want to give constant attention to the apps that people love — and the apps that bring in good money. At the same time we want to continuously experiment with new ideas, some that might succeed and some that may never see the light of day. So far, this is actually working, and it’s exciting. (The only challenge with this system is giving a chance for the evergreen engineers to work on seedling projects — their extensive knowledge of critical apps makes it hard to ‘remove’ them. We’ve gotta work on that for 2015.)


Panic is a multi-million dollar business that has turned a profit for 17 years straight.

It just hit me, typing those words, that that’s a pretty insane thing to be able to say. (And, sure, we barely qualify). Believe me, I know it won’t last forever — but wow, what a kind of crazy deal.

If you’re curious about some business stuff, our setup couldn’t be more cut-and-dry. We still have no investors or debt. The overwhelming majority of our revenue goes to employee salaries and benefits, which is just the way we want it. Then there’s our rent, our internet, some donuts and chips, etc. Anything left over goes into the magical Panic Savings Account for future projects or emergencies — we’ve always felt it was important to have some wiggle room for who-knows-what. (In the past we’ve actually reduced that warchest by simply distributing it to employees as a bonus.) We also continue to operate on standard office hours, avoiding weekends and crunchtimes with ferocious overprotectiveness, for better or worse. Maybe the most controversial thing we have is an open office, but since we have no sales or marketing teams things are usually library-quiet.


It’s been a long time since Steve and I started writing apps in our apartment — fifty lifetimes in computer years.

But the story of Panic is not about Steve and I anymore. These days, while both of us constantly dig in all sorts of trenches, more often we’re just the loud (well, I’m loud) backseat drivers — backseat drivers that often unfairly get all the glory. Let me be clear: Panic’s true asset, the thing I’m most proud of building, is the incredible team of 20 people who truly make everything happen, people who design and create these great things as a team, people who aren’t comfortable creating anything less than excellence, people I actually like.

Stepping back, of course, we’d have zero employees if it wasn’t for you — the person who buys our software and supports our work. When I’d play NES games as a kid I always thought it was corny when, at the end of the credits, the game would say “Special thanks to: you!!“. But now I get it. This is not a joke: without you we don’t exist.

We’ve just renewed our lease for another 9 years.

Here’s to the further adventures of Panic!

Posted at 11:33 am 69 Comments

Congratulations, gang!

Steve Adams

1/5/2015 12:14 PM

That was a really interesting read. iOS is tough – Some really beautiful, useful, high quality apps seem to have to sell for totally unrealistic prices. I’ve wondered sometimes when buying something awesome for say $5, how in the world did the developer profit from this?

I’m personally content to pay a significantly higher sum for genuinely useful software from a company I trust – I think your existing user base might feel similar, and your reputation might encourage newcomers to feel the same in the future.

I really hope you guys can figure out how to make it work. Your apps are part of why I moved to iOS. All the best is 2015!

Gregory Daynes

1/5/2015 12:23 PM

Awesome summary of 2014, Good year Panic! Excited to see what 2015 will bring

josue salazar

1/5/2015 12:42 PM

That was a pleasure to read. Cheers!

Well written. Thrilled that Status Board 2 will be coming. The idea of status board is amazing, but felt very limited so never used it. But I don’t regret buying version 1 as hopefully it will help support a future more developed version.

I think your iOS apps are under priced, in the same way I think most all apps are underpriced. But people simply won’t pay as much as a desktop app. I think increasing the prices may backfire but if that is what is needed to keep business moving in iOS I support your decision.

Working for Apple certainly sounds like a nightmare, but one we all must abide by for now until Apple figures out a better way or the world get’s a better alternative to Apple.

First of all, congratulations for a good, long journey and my best wishes for the next 9 years, and the 9 after those…

Having just tipped my toe in coding for the first time in the second half of 2014, and actually being very dubious about the real chance to make this interesting career as my living, I usually enjoy reading blog posts about what happens behind the curtain of software development.

Your post raises the bar, because while not discussing exact numbers, it makes particularly clear that, while your iOS apps are actually world class, making a living out of a mobile app – that isn’t a F2P game – for a beginner is almost impossible.

Of course you can have the idea of a lifetime and sell to millions of users, but maybe for me it’s time to look back at the place where all has started, to the pickup truck that people use to work: maybe developing decent OS X applications that are useful for people’s work is the way to go… maybe I won’t have the most original idea in the world, sure as hell my skills are not very good right now (but they can only improve :), but I should at least try to develop for a platform with paying customers…

This also confirms my impression that the model Apple has introduced in the App Store isn’t very healthy for the platform, especially for iPad apps. You can’t have great apps without appropriate pricing, updates, knowledge of your customer base…

Thanks for sharing, it really has been an interesting reading!

Best regards,


William Entriken

1/5/2015 1:46 PM

Thanks for the wrap-up and inside look at the company. As users we look to adopt tools and products that look like they will be around for the long run. Poor reviews for Diet Coda and a slow release cycle for Coda 2.5 have really tarnished Panic. But your openness in discussing the underlying issues and sharing some of these business details do make it easier to stick with you and wait for good things to come.

David Kingsbury

1/5/2015 1:55 PM

Congrats on another successful year from a happy Coda and Transmit customer. So impressed with everything you do – the software, the website, the writing. Just upgraded to Prompt 2 as well. Can’t wait to see what you do in the next nine years…

Cheers, DK

Alexy Chebychev

1/5/2015 3:32 PM

Thanks for sharing your 2014 report, it’s interesting reading about your business. One thing to note on “Low iOS Revenue” is the main point is that you’re making tools for production. Mac systems are aligned well with production processes, evidenced by your healthy sales there (the plural of anecdote is data). iOS systems are primarily consumption devices, and are an immoderately cynical take at that. Software used for production processes find themselves cramped on such consumption devices, hence the trials your are finding yourself going through. Some HID factors on iOS devices invite certain production techniques mainly by dint of multitouch input, such as painting and live music performances.

The business chapter of this post reads like a description of our company, so I’m happy to hear there are more of us healthy long term businesses that can stand by ourselves out there :-) Congrats!

Scott Whitlow

1/5/2015 3:41 PM

This was a cool read. Great job guys! Can’t wait to see what’s ahead for Coda, Transmit, Diet Coda and really, all of your projects!

I am thinking one of your “grand scheme” ideas should involve some sort of visual website editor (ala pinegrow or something similar). I think that would be the one that would put you guys ahead of everyone else. Keep up the great work!

Thanks for the open and honest share.

A few people talking about selling outside the appstore recently. Realmacsoftware notably:

Do you speculate one day Apple will force all sales to happen inside the Mac app store only?

Jeremy Goodrich

1/5/2015 5:05 PM

This is an amazing post, I just had to say that out loud. Wow. There’s a lot of learning, of sharing, and knowledge in this thing…thanks for the inspiring words. I already put together a “client recap,” out there for people who like what we do to see and circulate, which is in a similar vein as this post. Put great stuff out there, do awesome work, the universe will reward you in spades.

Sheree Pennah

1/5/2015 5:20 PM

“QA has become a lot more formalized thanks to some heroic efforts.”

Please please please talk about this some more!

Thanks for being transparent.

Your web form is not displaying correctly on my Note 12.2, So I’ll be quick…
I’ve found that the absolute best projects are not humanly possible, but you accomplish them any way.
There is nothing like it, when a team is disfunctional at first but then somehow comes together to
become something greater than the sum of the individual contributors. And in the end, everyone is in awe of
everyone else, and what they brought to the table. I’m still on cloud nine from leading just such a project this year.

Wishing you much success in 2015, and many impossible projects that you somehow solve working together.

Thanks for this, Cabel & co. It’s really great as a user to hear about all the awesome things that you all have done this year. It goes without saying that your apps are (in my opinion) some of the most polished and enjoyable-to-use programs around. As a customer, it was great to see upgrades to Prompt and the introduction of Transmit for iOS. Prompt was a huge part of how I learned to code, and to use command line tools in my everyday work, and I don’t know what I’d do without your apps for iOS — in short, i hope you all can continue developing for iOS.

Best wishes for a great 2015 to all of you!


1/5/2015 8:47 PM

Great post! Congrats and thanks for sharing biz info that helps others temper their dreams with reality but also know that it *IS* possible. I hope the next nine are divine. ;)

Congratulations on a great 2014, it was great to watch :-)

Chris Lindley

1/6/2015 12:57 AM

A very interesting read. Thanks.

I’d have easily paid double for your iOS apps, and I didn’t hesitate buying Prompt2. Although I only noticed it was available from a tweet. Probably one of those who clicked without reading. Good luck with 2015 and let’s hope for less pain for pushing innovation through App Store boundaries.

Amit Netanel

1/6/2015 2:10 AM

Thanks for a very interesting post. I’d like to see more of these sincere summaries in our industry.


1/6/2015 3:30 AM

What a great report!
I totally second Amit Netanel’s comment: Most other companies could take this report as a model of transparency and clarity.
It feels good to be your customer!

Jaddie Dodd

1/6/2015 3:42 AM

Panic is awesome.

Y’all create beautiful software that provides excellent user experiences.

I love you guys.


1/6/2015 5:23 AM

What a great write-up! Congrats to you, the team, your work!

Abhinit Tiwari

1/6/2015 5:35 AM

Good luck guys! Would love to hear more about what you guys did for QA.

Steve Kirks

1/6/2015 7:17 AM

As a Coda owner, I would spend my money on the quality of the product first, not the upgrade discount or “deal of the day”. Also, like a good dry cleaner, butcher or car repair shop, I would follow a Panic storefront no matter the location. I guess I would compare the Mac App Store to a mall kiosk. It might be convenient, but it’s just a satellite of the main store. Thanks for publishing the notes about 2014 and congratulations on running a great company both on paper and in the community of developers. Excelsior!

Bruce Elgort

1/6/2015 7:22 AM

Thank you for everything you do, Panic. My life as a developer and instructor are made better by your products. Here’s to a great 2015.

Thanks for such wonderful software.. Since it’s now available outside the “App Store”, it’s time to buy more.. !!!

Rick Turoczy

1/6/2015 8:20 AM

Thank you so much for sharing this. I’d love to see more of these insights from the team.

Christian Augustin

1/6/2015 8:30 AM

Wow, what a cool post! A fantastic read and full of insight – even for a simple customer like me.

The problem with professional users on iOS: The system is (or were) just too restrictive to do more than the occasional fix, and there’s a severe lack of really professional apps in many areas. I think this diminishes the demand for your specific apps too. The iPad could’ve been a highly productive environment/device, but this did not materialize in the last 4 years, and I’m sceptical by now that it will ever do … (well, I’m writing this on my iPad Air, so there *are* things I like to do on this incredibly sleek machine ;))

Conrad O’Connell

1/6/2015 8:41 AM

Great post thanks for sharing — I agree with the pricing of the iOS apps. While I’m not your customer on every app you make, I’m happy to pay for quality software. I know that Omnigroup is charging $20 for Omnifocus on iPhone and I think that’s a steal.

Seth Lilly

1/6/2015 10:45 AM

Congratulations on your successful year, and thank you for the transparency. I’m a proud Panic user!

Kris Lord

1/6/2015 10:54 AM

Edovia recently used the app store’s new “bundle” option to offer discounted upgrades. They offered a bundle of screens 2 and 3. For customers who already had screens 2 this meant they could complete the bundle for less than the full retail price of screens 3. It’s not perfect but it allowed them to offer upgrade pricing.

Great article, thanks for the interesting read… and congrats! :)

Mike Schienle

1/6/2015 11:43 AM

A lot of me, too’s to add here. Great article discussing the back-stories, joys and struggles. Also, I would be very willing to pay significantly more for quality iOS software. As a software geek for 30+ years with some serious interest in writing iOS apps, I have a certain amount of self-interest in this statement.

I hope that StatusBoard 2 works with https credentials, and can get through the app store process.
…and I hope that I don’t have to do my in app purchase again :-(

I have a really bad dog named Scarlet and she won’t stop fighting with me.

You are awesome

“But the story of Panic is not about Steve and I anymore.”

Steve and *me* — or even “Steve and myself”. The trick is to take out the “Steve and” and see which one you’d use.

Congrats, thanks for the Mac/iOS numbers, and thanks this year in particular for Unison. I kept waiting for the price to dip a little. I think you’re there. ;^)

Oh, and bring back the Adventure dragon shirts! I’m always sad when I visit that I missed that boat.

Doug Hill

1/7/2015 9:20 AM

Thanks for sharing your story…and for the great software.

Robert ohns

1/7/2015 2:15 PM

Raise your iOS app prices. Across the board. Prompt, Diet Coda, Transmit, and Statusboard are standard-setters for the quality of iOS apps, and I believe they will command a premium price. I would happily pay twice as much for them as you sell them for today — or more!

Buck the cheap-app trend. Take my money!

ps: Thanks for the last hurrah for Unison. A great app, under-appreciated.

Regarding iOS pricing, there’s a 4th option: you’re charging too much.

The amount I’m prepared to spend on an app is directly related to the amount of time I use it, and I don’t use developer-y apps on iOS that often. Usually I’ll wait until I’m at my laptop.

I was more than happy to pay what you ask for Transmit on OS X because I use it every single day. I was a lot more hesitant on iOS, though I did buy it in the end. Likewise, I bought Prompt 1 and haven’t yet upgraded to Prompt 2 even though I’d like to. I probably will eventually through the app bundle you offer but.. maybe not. I just don’t use it enough to justify the price. If it were cheaper, I wouldn’t even hesitate.

This all said, I might just not be in your target market. My disposable income is very low at the moment, so even a $10 purchase isn’t an easy decision. In part, you have only yourselves to blame for making such good software. If Prompt 1 didn’t still work on iOS 8 I wouldn’t have a choice but to upgrade :P

It’s funny. You can tell when something is made with love. Panic! Is part of my every day life; not because it’s well thought out, trusted, quality, or functional, (which it is) but because I feel the whimsy, thoughtfulness, consideration, and most importantly…

…the love.

Sincerely: thank you.

I wish I had a need for your iOS apps just so I could support you. The reality is, I barely even use Transmit anymore, but I updated it religiously, because A) it’s the best FTP client on ANY platform, and B) good indie software companies are so important to the community. Hopefully one day I can give you more than upgrade money for Transmit. You guys are awesome.

Transmit and Prompt for iOS are *amazing*. I’d be happy to pay more for the apps (Omni Group prices would be fine with me). I’m ready and waiting with my wallet for the Diet Coda iOS8 makeover, too. Keep up the great work.


1/8/2015 12:40 AM

The reason people don’t want to pay for iOS apps is that most are website-quality now (maybe even lower quality than websites because iOS apps crash more) and Apple even made them look like websites. Bad websites with no usability testing or visual design. iOS apps used to be lightweight Mac apps that were a true alternative to Web apps and were well worth paying for. And the platform used to be worth investing in, because it saved you time and enabled you to do better work. Now, the past couple of years of iOS have slowed me down and forced me to do many hours of unwanted IT work to get around a thousand horrible bugs and an abysmal user interface. So I don’t feel encouraged to pay for apps and even stopped buying music and movies for my iOS devices.

You pay for an app and months later, the developer replaces it with something that looks like a spreadsheet and requires you to learn gestures in order to use it because they hid all the buttons. On a device that has a million buttons on its face (built into the screen.) Not worth paying for. Not worth investing in. I can get treated that badly for free by the Web or by Google.

I love the Panic iOS apps, but even you guys shipped a crappy icon with Transmit. Looks like bathroom signage. Everything about that icon screams “not worth paying for” to me. I only bought Transmit for iOS (on the first day, too) because I have been using Transmit for like a decade and know Panic software is great. But you are certainly not advertising that with the icon. Why do I need a Retina Display to look at an icon that can be stamped with a potato? The home screen of my iPad looks like a demo of a dingbat font — just page after page of meaningless glyphs. We’re maybe 2 versions away from the iOS home screen just being a Web page of blue underlined app names, which would actually be more usable than inscrutable 1-bit glyphs. Now there is a truck glyph on there. It inspires me to give up on computing entirely and just buy a ChromeBook.

Diet Coda kicks ass. I guess at some point you will stamp a leaf with a potato and the app I paid for will get uglier.

What I suggest you do is make your iOS apps free and fill 75% of the screen with Viagra and punch the monkey ads. That is the nobody-cares-about-software-quality market you are in now.

Jeff Hobbs

1/8/2015 3:18 AM

How long is this yellow piece of folded paper?

Jon Harris

1/8/2015 3:56 AM

Thank you for this incredible insider insight into Panic!

Karsten Baumgartl

1/8/2015 4:50 AM

Congrats for 2014 guys. Really a cool year for people who like your products. I sent you a message awhile back that we connect our software through API to Status Board and I am a great ambassador for it in the company. Can I get a taste of the beta?

Looking ahead, what the Mac platform really needs at this moment is a Panic-apt font-management application. Fontcase used to be my go-to app but they’ve thrown in the towel. If you pull this off, at least one happy customer will take out his credit card happily.

Cheers and have a good one.

Great report, great work! I would like to add my voice to those of all the others who would be willing to pay significantly more for really good iOS apps. It is time to start distinguishing quality mobile apps from trivial ones (the term “crapps” comes to mind, although it is probably too derogatory for wider use). Price would be a good place to start, and Panic would definitely be one of the quality developers best qualified to be one of the initiators of such a sea change.

Neil Wainwright

1/8/2015 7:19 AM

We’ve been building iOS apps for our expense report and timesheet systems since Day One of the App Store (well, our expense app was launched on that day…timesheets was a bit later). I couldn’t agree more about 1) the app review process for established apps is just terrible…for developers and for customers…we build new capabilities for Android first now…at least we can fix and release bugs in minutes and not days/weeks thanks to Apple’s review process (really, is someone at Apple going to “test” an app that has been in continual development for 6.5 years? we have our own QA teams for that and they actually know what the app is supposed to do!); 2) the stress the App Review process puts on developers from time to time; and 3) the need for paid updates. We don’t need it…we’re SaaS and make our money there. How can Apple say there is a sustainable business in apps? I bought MobilityWare Solitaire 6 years ago for I think a dollar…I play it almost every day to clear my brain and I’ve never paid them a cent since. How is that supposed to work as a business model? It doesn’t. Apps stagnate and aren’t as awesome as they should be. Why are Apple and Google afraid of building a healthy ecosystem of awesome apps where developers can earn a sustainable living and be encouraged to build “awesome”? Sure it’s devolved to free, but it can also evolve to sustainable. One of them will move first. I hope it’s Apple, but it might be Google. It just takes leadership.

Anyways, would love to support you in any way about anything. I use Transmit all the time…and it just works.

Neil, CEO, Nexonia

Neil Wainwright

1/8/2015 7:42 AM

p.s. “fix and release bug fixes: :)

You should charge more

Otto Hammersmith

1/8/2015 11:01 AM

Charge me more for Prompt 3 (or even 2.5). Seriously.

I’m not sure I would have gone over $10 for the initial purchase, but I would have paid $20 for the upgrade, now that I know I prefer Prompt over the other alternatives. That amounts to the constant problem with lousy demo support in the iOS App Store.

In-app upgrade doesn’t solve it, because I’m more apt to hold off on an IAP, because I fear forgetting I’ve paid for it and not even trying to restore purchases. I (and family share members) can see if I bought an app in the App Store because the button changes (BUY becomes INSTALL or OPEN, but GET stays GET or becomes OPEN).

Jess Have

1/8/2015 2:06 PM

Hi Cabel and gang,
Just a heads up and compliments on your great apps! You probably should and could charge more for your iOS apps.

Richard Kettering

1/8/2015 4:12 PM

Please for the love of god increase the price on your iOS apps to something sustainable. I will pay, and I know quite a few others who will too. It’s the same principle driving the cost of *macs*. You’re not competing with anything on price, because you’re in a tier of your own on quality. Price what it takes to operate in the black.

You’re not competing with Candy Crush; you’re selling real tools; necessities, rather than luxuries, and we’re more than happy to pay just about anything for them, just like any desktop software. There’s not some weird fairy dust that makes mobile apps monetarily worthless. Everyone has this bogeyman idea that people just aren’t going to pay for iOS software, and they can’t justify it outside of an appeal to the status quo – “that’s just how it is, it’s obvious and self-evident, etc”. I’m an anecdote saying that’s false – I don’t think I’m alone.

But you have to try, because under the status quo, everyone goes broke. Everyone expects to make it up on volume, and no one can. It’s *literally* like treating “winning the powerball” as your planned revenue stream. Out of thousands and thousands of developers, a few of them quite good, nobody has those numbers. Nobody. The worst thing is the 10 random lottery winners have no relation to merit; they got there by dumb luck.

We need a group of popular developers to draw a line in the sand and put an end to this, because I’m genuinely worried about the long-term effects on the ecosystem. I think it’s killing the incentive to develop great software, rather than shovelware. I think, furthermore, that a slide into shovelware-as-the-norm could kill iOS, as a platform – it’s a mad idea, but not any crazier than someone in 2000 saying that the windows ecosystem was headed for an iceberg. It was, and it hit it. This is our iceberg. We must establish a new conventional-wisdom that it’s totally viable to make great iOS software and sell it for $30. Or we’ll wake up in a couple of years and realize there’s none left.

Neil Day

1/8/2015 9:34 PM

I’d like to add my voice those who are suggesting that you to raise your prices on iOS apps. Bring it up to something sustainable, and I will go and buy all of your apps. You do great work, and I’m all in.

A thought: There needs to be a good way to do a “Free trial period”. That would make it a lot easier for me to plunk down real money for iOS apps. There have been several expensive ones I’ve been disappointed with, and many “screaming’ deals” that I’d happily pay more for.

Peter Labrow

1/8/2015 11:01 PM

Congratulations. When considering your OS X / iOS revenues, don’t lose sight of the fact that this is an entire ecosystem rather than thinking of it as two markets. Both can contribute to the single whole and it’s likely that one will always be more profitable than the other. In the UK, in the 60s, the Government stripped out the unprofitable railway lines – but forgot that passengers coming from those fed onto the profitable lines, so income for both was hit.

Just came back to read other comments… I’d like to play devil’s advocate a little. I really respect what you guys are doing, and I think the quality of your software is absolutely amazing, which is why I continue to be a Panic customer. I do worry there’s a bit of an echo chamber here though, and it’s probably fair to say that the comments here are not reflective of the general attitude towards pricing on the App Store, for better or worse. Perhaps a customer survey is in order?

There may also be a general attitude of, if people buy the OS X app first, they feel like they’ve already ‘bought it’ and perhaps feel like there’s probably a lot of code re-use between the products and so don’t like the idea of the price being the same or similar as the OS X version. I’m not advocating this position, and I know the people likely reading these comments are not going to agree with it–but that doesn’t mean this couldn’t be what the average person browsing the App Store is thinking when they see the price tag.

I like the update, and it’s lovely to see such transparency and information coming from a small company like yourself. This is the type of thing I wish more developers were up to.

I’m concerned over the price increase of the iOS apps – I don’t think this is the right more. In fact I think that this is the opposite of what you should do and I know that this feel counter intuitive. There’s a reason for this: You either price high due to get a solid amount of quality to pay your devs, but you expect low sales. Alternatively, which is the direction you want, you price low and get a huge volume of sales, with a slower dev time for new features (allocating less dev time to iOS dev.)

Having bought Coda, I do feel that a free airpreview mode would be great – Even if it was as simple as a command to my ipad to refresh. So asking for £14.99 for an iOS app is something that’s outside of the norm. This is even high for games, so the question is also what is the right price, but what are you charging for? Aka if you build your app to have more in-app purchases in which case you’re selling modules, this might be a more feasible approach and lower your dev time too.

Food for thought.

Michael Savich

1/11/2015 11:19 AM

It’s important to consider the value of getting new users through iOS. Even if the iOS apps don’t generate a lot of app revenue, it does introduce a large number of people to Panic and I’m sure that those people will want to buy the same apps for their Macintosh. In the meantime, I’d focus on fixing as many bugs as possible in your iOS apps, then freezing development until it’s time to work on a new release. And although I sympathize with the lack of tools the App Store provides devs with, I don’t think releasing big updates as a new app is weird. Think of it like video games; when a new “version” comes out, it is released as a new title. I think the best way to deal with this would be to decouple version numbers from the app name– think “Prompt 3 version 1.0”.
Finally, I know you guys had great reasons for leaving the Mac App Store, but I’d still consider creating a stripped-down version of Coda for the MAS and selling it for like $10 and call it Coda Express. Then when people want to do more with Coda, they can buy the full version from the Panic store.

Joshua Withers

1/11/2015 5:55 PM


Nice job Panic, I love the transparency. Congratulations on going it alone and making such great products for so long. You remind me of the early days of Mac software: Quality and efficiency. BBEdit also ditched the app store and with good success. As a user I’d rather buy direct anyways. Keep up the great work!

Good work guys, I really like it when companies are transparent about their successes (and even failures). It makes a company a lot more human. I only started properly learning coding this year, and I can say that getting Transmit (for mac) was the best program I’ve purchased. Congrats on being a great independent business that actually cares about their customers :)

Good work guys, when ever I think about going back to Windows (not as often as it once was), I always try and find software that compares to yours. But I can’t, so I stick with Apple OSX and Panic software. Keep up the good work!

Thank you.

Excellent products, excellent promotion writing. Good luck for this year!

I’m just going to quickly comment on the iOS piece: I like your apps on the Mac. Love Coda and Transmit, particularly. I’m an admin and a developer and exactly the customer your iOS apps would be targeting. But…I can’t justify paying the price for them as long as I have a laptop.

I’d love to use Coda on my iPad. I just don’t love it enough to pay $20 for it, after paying $100 for it on my Mac…especially given it’s 2-star review average. Maybe if there was a trial version, something I could use to see for myself that it’s as good as you say, and not the 1-2 star app that the reviewers say. But at that price, and those ratings, it’s too expensive a gamble.

The same is true for Transmit on iOS to be honest. There are SO many apps that do FTP, SFTP, & S3 Access, but ALSO handle Google Drive, OneDrive, DropBox and SugarSync in the same app and are half the price. Heck, Goodreader will let me move files in and out of more services than Transmit (even Transmit:Mac) and doubles as a PDF markup program, while still costing less.

TL:DR: your iOS apps haven’t reached the sweet spot of functionality and price that would make me buy them, even though I’m squarely in your target market, and use your Mac Apps.