I feel like desktop apps are having a moment. Facebook Messenger is getting one, Apple is reportedly splitting iTunes up into separate Music, Podcast and Video ones at the next OS update, and Pandora has just rolled one out for Mac (with a Windows version following soon). The app allows subscribers full access to Pandora music streaming functionality, plus keyboard controls and onscreen notifications. However, at the moment it doesn’t contain any podcasts, which is slightly surprising given the interest in spoken word audio shown in that quarter recently, from the Podcast Genome Project to the arrival of SiriusXM’s shows as podcasts. No word on whether the podcasts will turn up in a later iteration of the app.
In my head, the same correction is happening with desktop apps vs smartphone/tablet as occurred with print books vs ebooks a few years ago. Yes, the new tech did completely change the game and shift the market, but it also didn’t make what went before obsolete, far from it. If you work long hours on a screen (and plenty of us do), you’re going to be using something with desktop processing power and a physical keyboard. The “everything will be a smartphone app” bubble has therefore burst, and companies are realising that it’s worth refreshing or in some cases creating a desktop offering. I feel like Sarah Perez over at TechCrunch summed it up really well:
Many people today prefer a native desktop app to a web browser experience — especially for features like the notifications, keyboard controls and because you don’t have to dig around through a bunch of browser tabs to find Pandora as you work on other things in your browser.
All hail the desktop app, we missed you.