Thinking a bit more about older apps

Something about Jakob’s video started me thinking about older apps, apps that haven’t been updated for a while and that we, as a community might think are abandoned (although that’s a different debate really), and what we do with them.

Often I think that the mobile music community is overly obsessed with the ‘new’. New apps, new devices, new ways of connecting things (i.e. AU). But that we don’t spend enough time thinking about how we use existing apps. Perhaps it is simply because I spend a lot of time talking about and posting about what’s new and that my view is somewhat skewed as a result, but I think that there’s a lesson here about using what’s good for what you want to do, and also about getting the best out of a piece of software and using it for what it is.

There are a bunch of apps that I go back to regularly because they simply fit my workflow. Some get updates, on occasion. Others, not so much. Some I suspect will never be updated. But that’s ok. Just because something doesn’t move forward doesn’t mean that it’s no good. Developers stop updating things for a host of reasons. Many of which we will never get to know about, but what they made in the first place is worth celebrating. Bhajis Loops is a good example. Palm OS is long gone, but Bhajis is still one of those things that works really well and does some amazing things and is never going to be updated, moved to another platform, or anything else. But it’s still great.

So, what am I saying here? I guess I’m saying that it is perhaps important to focus on what something does rather than what it could do but hasn’t been updated to do (possibly as yet), and work with what you have. Older doesn’t mean bad. It just means older.

Food for thought? Possibly, but probably just time for a few revisits. That’s my take anyway.


  1. Great post! I think maybe we think too easily of software as disposable, or anything digital really. It doesn’t have the same perceived value because it’s not tangible. My biggest concern with older apps isn’t so much that they aren’t updated, but that a new version of iOS might come out (or Android or whatever) that totally breaks an older app. This happened to me with Looptwister 🙁 I used that quite a bit.

    “Older doesn’t mean bad. It just means older.” — well put! Think about ANY vintage synth, or a fine wine lol. I’d still rock out with my old school Electribe A and M, or RM1x if I still had em…

  2. Agreed! There are quite a few apps that I adored that I abandoned because of a lack of updates. Fingerbeat I thought was long dead and then suddenly it came back and was 10’times better!

    I use nanostudio on the daily. It’s still the most sonically dynamic app I own. It plays very well with other apps too! I’m just so entrenched in its workflow. However blip interactive, while I know full well are working on something new, have let this wonderful app get a bit dusty. There are a few key features ( such as audio tracks, full midi learn for transport controls, or a step sequencer) that would make this one of the only apps I use. It keeps me searching for new apps to fill in the gaps in my workflow, but nanostudio is such a powerhouse and a familiar flow…. I’ll always keep coming back

    On a side note, I use my iPad a ton for visual art too…. And Adobe’s abandoning of Adobe ideas was my greatest tragedy yet. It was the best workflow for vector graphics on the iPad. It just works better then their new alternative. However when I updated my OS, I lost not only access to the app….. But ALL THE FU***NG ART I MADE IN THE PROGRAM. Here’s where planned obsolescence is a dishonor to your customers. It’s support like this that made me abandon Adobe for other apps.

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