Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Spark Switches to Electron and Subscriptions

Readdle (MacRumors, Hacker News):

Now people who use Windows can focus on what’s important and enhance their productivity with Spark. […] Please be aware that Spark is working hard towards feature parity between platforms and the experience across iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows may vary.


See the full list of free and Premium features.

The premium features are $7.99/month or $59.99/year. It also sounds like they are leaving the Mac App Store.


The app size and average RAM consumption has doubled.


Update (2022-10-13): Garrett Murray:

The problem here is that I don’t need any of their Premium features, and now I’m forced to either pay a monthly fee to remove this ad or stop using Spark. In the case, I’m going to have to stop using Spark.

Frustratingly, I did not notice it was adding a signature ad like this after the most recent update until today, which means I’ve been sending business emails for a week with this ad at the bottom. Yuck.

Garrett Murray:

Good news for Spark users who didn’t want this “Sent with Spark” ad: Readdle is removing this from the Premium feature set[…]

13 Comments RSS · Twitter

I don't mind paying to support developers (and the new iOS version is fine) but the new Mac app is such a massive downgrade. I'll keep using the old mac version for now, but I'm not confident in them re-adding old features back in — as that would probably require re-engineering the whole app again.

On the new Mac app: the sidebar can’t be left open, the preview pane is completely gone, and you can’t even open messages up in different windows. Even support for Teams Shared Inboxes is gone, and that’s an extra feature my company is currently paying for. 🤷‍♂️

After losing Sparrow, Mailbox, and now potentially Spark, this is very disappointing.

I've been so frustrated with Postbox lately that I re-downloaded Spark to see if it was worth migrating to. Dragging it over to AppCleaner now, thanks for the heads up.

They were one of the only ones using swift on windows. It’s rather sad that it didn’t work out. https://github.com/readdle/swift-windows-gha

I’ve found MailMate to be good: https://freron.com/

If you’re beholden to Gmail in any of its many flavors, Mimestream is incredible so far — and currently free in beta. Which almost makes up for the name. 😉 (h/t MacStories)

That said, it’s hard to fault going Electron. Easy to find developers, nearly write once carefully, run anywhere… Never as good as the same thing native, but almost always better than no thing at all.

"After losing Sparrow, Mailbox, and now potentially Spark, this is very disappointing."

It seems every few years I am blessed to swear a lot whilst migrating all of my email to the number 2 Mac app for email as the number one app's programmers does something stupid. Usually that stupidity is selling to Google or Dropbox, then watching the previously great Mac native email app that is not the train wreck called Apple Mail get flushed away or given up on while the purchasing company harps on about "focusing on core products".

Now it's Spark's turn. It seems a few folks are irritated the side menu keeps closing up and won't stay open. I get warm fuzzies looking at all the email accounts I have. Why take things away?

It seems the world is dimming on folks who like having their email private and backed up locally. I'm looking at MailMate now (thanks).

I fucking hate this cycle.

This last post. ^^^^
That is everything right there that sucks about this newest direction for spark and readdle.

Good to see MailMate mentioned; it's surprising to me that more people don't consider it.

But really, how much longer do you think it will take Mac users to recognise that they just don't matter any more? It's been a long time since there were great native apps for Mac from outside the boutique Mac scene. Remember when Skype was a Cocoa app? Or Microsoft Messenger, or Mesh? It's just not the case that desktop matters, no matter how discerning you are. The best you can hope for is a good port from mobile. As we see, the cost of accruing Windows users is far less than that of keeping Mac people sweet. My commiserations to Spark fans.

My general rule for software over the last five years now has been that all major updates make it worse, not better. This rule is constantly proven right. Whether it's important features tossed out, new bloated that no one asked for added in, redesigned and "improved" GUIs that embrace all of the same shitty patterns and flaws that everyone else is for no god damned good reason, everything switched to being a poorly integrated web app, or one of a myriad of other things that make me fall out of love with a piece of software, it just keeps happening as time goes on. My currently software is basically locked in to what it was circa 2019 or so because there's no incentive for me to upgrade. If I do, my computer using experience will get worse, not better.

1) if Apple can’t convince a developer like Readdle to do native apps, then who’s left? The number of 3rd party apps that I frequently use on the Mac which are fully Mac native is probably less than 20% now. If Apple doesn’t see that as a crisis, we’re in big trouble. But then again even Apple isn’t really Mac native anymore with all of the garbage apps they release now like the Music app, Home app, etc. At this point I think my Windows PC has more native apps than my Mac.

2) I’m so sick of monthly subscriptions for apps. I realize that it’s not fair to buy an app for $25 and expect to get free updates forever, or even just for 2-3 years. I’d pay $8/year or whatever but not $8/mo. Give me a break.

Subscription is a deal breaker. Bye!

"2) I’m so sick of monthly subscriptions for apps. I realize that it’s not fair to buy an app for $25 and expect to get free updates forever, or even just for 2-3 years. I’d pay $8/year or whatever but not $8/mo. Give me a break."

And this. I will pay once a year for software if it was essential to my workflow in the previous year and I think I want it in the next year. Parallels was like this for a long, long time. It was always too expensive, so I would wait until the new version was in a bundle for the $40 price. Now it is subscription and the price is ridiculous and the biggest insult is not being able to use the license on more than one computer. I use legacy Macs that are stuck at 10.15 or 10.13 with pre-subscription Parallels.

Panic's approach is a little better and I could (will?) probably learn to live with it when Transmit goes Nova's way as long as I don't think of it as a "subscription" and instead of a "yearly auto-purchase".

The Iconfactory's approach with Linea Sketch is the one I like—the choice is yours: the app is free or pay monthly or pay yearly or lifetime. I went with a lifetime purchase ages ago. I used to hit their tip jar when major updates came out. Sadly, there is no more tip jar!

If there were similar options with Spark ... maybe. The tier system they chose is crap. It will cost $60 a year or $5 a month to have emails I send not say "Sent with Spark". Just ... why? That's just dick move territory. Spark is a UI for without advanced features (e.g. viewing raw emails) for my email which comes from somewhere else. Spark is not hosting the domain names or actually sending the emails. Real companies on the backend get my money monthly or yearly for the heavy lifting.

Digging into MailMate, but I may just go back to Thunderbird to avoid the future where MailMate sells to Google to be discontinued or started subscription tiers, or shakes me down for a few bucks to stop adding junk text to every email I send. Sure MailMate's developers would say, "Never!", but the history of non-Apple independent email software on MacOS is a damning case against them ...

Mailmate is outstanding, I’ve used it for several years. Powerful, configurable, works with all my email accounts (I use fastmail, O365, gmail). Try it.

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