Race to Under the Bottom

August 7, 2018

By Jeff Johnson

Today I released Underpass version 1.0.4 for Mac and iOS, in the Mac App Store and iOS App Store respectively. I also lowered the price of Underpass for iOS to free. Free as in loss leader. This new price is intended to be permanent. As in marriage. 'Til divorce do us part.

Underpass is a peer-to-peer chat and file transfer app with end-to-end encryption. The irony of my making a chat app is that I'm a lone developer. I don't have an employee or business partner to chat with. Nonetheless, I still use Underpass myself all the time. The 2 P's in P2P can be persons, but they can also be personal computers. Underpass allows you to easily transfer text and files between your own Apple devices: Macs, iPhones, iPad, iPods. You don't need Handoff, you don't need iCloud, and you don't need Bluetooth. Underpass is completely reliable, secure, and private.

For marketing purposes, I want to emphasize the device-to-device capability of Underpass, because I don't think the person-to-person capability has taken off or will take off. P2P seems like too small a niche for a chat app. Even if there's an audience for P2P chat, the price was a barrier. It's difficult enough to convince one person to buy your app, and if every version of the app is paid, then you have to convince two persons to buy the app in order to chat with each other. On the other hand, if one person just needs to transfer data between their Mac and iPhone, they still have to buy two copies of the app. Thus, I had the idea of making one of the versions free, to lower the barrier to entry. The free version would also serve as a kind of trial.

The iOS market is much larger than the Mac market of course, so why did I make the iOS version free rather than the Mac version? For a number of reasons:

  1. My Mac version brings in more total revenue than my iOS version. There's not a huge difference, but there's a significant difference.
  2. Mac apps tend to have higher prices on average than iOS apps. Unfortunately, people expect iOS apps to be very cheap or free.
  3. My Mac version is more powerful than my iOS version.
  4. A free iOS version can bring more customers to a paid Mac version than vice versa.
  5. If for some reason I ever had an issue with the App Store, I could still sell the Mac version outside the App Store.
  6. The Mac is my first and one true love!

Really, the last reason should be first. Anyway, please try Underpass for iOS, and please buy Underpass for Mac. Thank you!

P.S. Don't forget StopTheMadness.