Realmac to unify Clear and Clear+

photo feb 17 3 15 10 pm

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Remember “New Coke?” Back in the 1980s, Coke responded to competition from Pepsi by creating a new formula—”New Coke”—for its venerable flagship brand. But that produced a backlash: The company soon restored the old formula to the shelves as “Coke Classic,” which gradually reclaimed the “Coke” name as New Coke gradually disappeared from the shelves

The folks at Realmac Software, makers of the Clear and Clear+ productivity apps for iOS, may have a pretty good idea how that feels.

Stuck with a conflict between its original Clear list-making app for iPhone and the newer Clear+ app for both iPhone and iPad, the company’s founder now say the two offerings will be combined into a single paid offering under the original Clear name. And to move Clear+ users back to Clear—which will be the only version of the app offered or updated through the App Store—the original app will be available for free to everybody, during two 24-hour periods at unspecified dates in coming weeks.

Prior to Tuesday, Clear was selling for $1, while Clear+ was priced at $5.

“We know this is risky—we rely on the income from Clear to run our small, independent company—and so whilst this was by no means an easy decision for us to make, we simply want to do the right thing for you, our customers,” Dan Counsell, RealMac’s founder, wrote in an open letter to customers.

Clear originally launched as an iPhone-only offering in early 2012. Clear+ emerged late in 2013 as a universal app for both iPhone and iPad, and its predecessor was discontinued. But in response to user outcry, the original app was restored to the App Store—complete with a freshening for iOS 7. “Our sole aim was, and remains, wanting to do the right thing for users,” Counsell said in his letter.

But the existence of two versions of a single app has caused marketplace confusion, he said. “We’ve heard from customers that they are excited to pick up Clear but uncertain which version to buy—or even worse—users mistakenly buying the iPhone version when they want the Universal version,” he wrote.

Thus, the decision to combine the two offerings back into a single app. The free download period is being offered, Counsell said, because Apple doesn’t offer a way to migrate users from one version of an app to the other.

Users can sign up at the Realmac website to get notification of the free download times.

The good news for Realmac? Coca Cola is expected to make a $2 billion profit this quarter. Give customers what they want, and missteps can become history.

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