Halo effect for iOS coders moving to Mac OS?

There are some good reasons iOS programmers might consider jumping to Mac OS X. The one that led FX Photo Studio across the divide: the Mac App Store.

Stephen Shankland Former Principal Writer
Stephen Shankland worked at CNET from 1998 to 2024 and wrote about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Expertise Processors, semiconductors, web browsers, quantum computing, supercomputers, AI, 3D printing, drones, computer science, physics, programming, materials science, USB, UWB, Android, digital photography, science. Credentials
  • Shankland covered the tech industry for more than 25 years and was a science writer for five years before that. He has deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and more.
Stephen Shankland
3 min read
FX Photo Studio for Mac brings some more advanced controls to photo editing tools than its predecessor for iOS.
FX Photo Studio for Mac brings some more advanced controls to photo editing tools than its predecessor for iOS. MacPhun

First came the halo effect of computer purchases: iPod or iPhone buyers deciding they'd like a Mac. Now I'm wondering whether there will be a similar trend among programmers.

I started pondering the idea after hearing from MacPhun, the developers of FX Photo Studio, a $1 iOS app that just made the jump to a Mac OS X app that costs $20 for the regular version and $40 for the pro version. If MacPhun is willing to take the leap, perhaps others are?

I see the move as an interesting possibility because of a few factors:

• The Mac is a growing market that's not as saturated with software as Windows.

• The iOS market is pretty crowded, making it harder to get noticed, so Mac customers could be a new market to expand into.

• iOS developers probably aren't as put off as other programmers who haven't learned to use Apple's XCode developer tools.

• The Mac App Store could open up new channels for publicity, discovery, and software distribution--a channel that iOS developers are already familiar with.

FX Photo Studio logo

The Mac App Store was indeed a factor for MacPhun.

"We thought of it for quite a long time, starting development only when the Mac Store was launched," said Alexader Tsepko, who leads MacPhun marketing, in an interview.

Making the jump wasn't easy, though--not a simple translation of the same code from one platform to another.

"It was quite tough as we didn't port the iPhone or iPad version to Mac, but basically developed a new app from the very beginning," Tsepko said.

By the same token, though, it was also a chance to expand to new territory. On iOS devices, the software provides an abundance of filters to apply to photos. On Mac OS X, MacPhun is aiming for a more serious photo editing tool, as the price difference suggests.

"Of course the concept is the same, but the differences are noticeable. First of all, the design and UI [user interface] were created from scratch. Second, the Mac app supports export and import of a larger variety of image formats, including raw formats and image resolution up to 32 megapixels. Third, the choice of filters in Mac version is different. We took a number of effects from iOS versions away. Also the version for Mac features more color correction and photo editing adjusters," Tsepko said. "The quality of filters is similar to a professional post processing software, as well as the quality of other adjustment tools."

Of course, there are plenty of potential pitfalls moving from iOS to Mac OS X, too: the expense of writing a new version, the complications of support, and the fact that the Mac market is somewhat off the beaten track. The business model is another question mark: personal computer software makers, Apple included, typically make money by selling upgrades to software, but thus far at least the App Store approach involves paying once for perpetual use.

But heck, Angry Birds--every new platform's favorite killer app--was an early arrival on Mac OS X with the debut of the Mac App Store, and I won't be surprised to see more developers beyond Rovio Mobile and MacPhun take the plunge.

What iOS apps would you like to see on a Mac?

FX Photo Studio, an app that started on iOS, now lets people apply a range of filters to their photos on Mac OS X.
FX Photo Studio, an app that started on iOS, now lets people apply a range of filters to their photos on Mac OS X. Appular