Goodness, such an unexpected but very welcome outpouring of kind words. We can’t thank you enough for those.

We’re sorry not to be able to respond to your comments individually. If you have a specific question not addressed here, feel free (as always) to reach out to us at essupport@emeraldsequoia.com — we’ll be around at least until the end of 2023.

To respond to a few common comments and questions:

  • Subscriptions: Subscription revenue is unlikely to generate sufficient income to matter: Apple’s rules correspond to our own ethical position, which is that people who have already purchased the app should not be forced to buy a subscription just to continue enjoying the same content they originally purchased. So subscription revenue would be quite small, and even if all new customers who are currently downloading the apps for free paid for a subscription instead (doubtful!), it wouldn’t be enough to sustain us. It would also be a fair amount of developer work just to set this up, so it’s not a zero-cost experiment.
  • The Google WearOS version (for many non-Apple watches): It is documented at https://emeraldsequoia.com/aw/index.html, and there are “how to buy” links there — note that all of the apps are free now (as with iOS), so just download the full “paid” app with all of the faces if you want to try it.
  • A special note to Google WearOS users: At the suggestion of a user, we have posted an “unsigned APK” (download link here) to allow “side loading” (installs that happen outside of the Google store). Doing a sideload is a tricky technical process typically done only by developers, but it has been well documented elsewhere (e.g., here), and unless Google changes how this works (unlikely given the upcoming DMA in Europe), this should allow installing an app even after it has been removed from the store (until the OS no longer supports the version the app was built for).
  • Apple side loading: As Apple doesn’t currently allow side loading, the above mechanism won’t be available for our iOS apps. There have been reports that this might change, at least in Europe, when Europe’s DMA goes into effect in 2024, and if it does, we’ll definitely look into it, and post an update here if we do anything.
  • Availability of apps for iOS and WearOS: There is reason for cautious optimism here; reading between the lines in documentation for developers, it sounds like Apple and Google may keep the apps available for existing users even if the developer delists them. Note that even if this is true today:
    • The companies can change their minds about that policy at any time, and
    • The policy may not extend once incompatible new OS versions are available (we already know that this won’t apply if you upgrade your phone to the new OS, but at some point they may stop supporting downloads for older OSs as well).
  • Selling the company (or its code IP): Before taking the steps we are taking now, we did in fact look seriously at selling the company. One thing to keep in mind is that if the company doesn’t make sense as a money-making venture when the original developers are doing the maintenance, it is unlikely to be an attractive option for someone else who doesn’t have that background and experience. And this was borne out by our market research. Even if we installed ads (something we were loathe to do, but we considered it), the number of people who are looking at our apps daily is too small to generate significant revenue there and thus affect the value of the company. We appreciate the offer to set up a non-profit to purchase the app, but if we do anything in this area, it will be open sourcing the code (the next item).
  • Open-sourcing the app (putting the source code on GitHub): This is an idea we originally rejected, but given the interest expressed here we are taking another look at it (no guarantees; there are a couple of serious obstacles). This by itself won’t keep the apps in the store, but if we do this and a third party decides to build and support one or more apps using that source code, those apps can live in the store after Bill & I stop supporting them. If you are a software developer and are interested in being part of that process, please reach out to us at essupport@emeraldsequoia.com. If this does wind up happening, we’ll provide another update here.

Thanks again for all of your support,

– Steve & Bill