K6TU Remote iPad app - Update

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  • Updated 3 years ago
With BIG THANKS to all the folks who have helped test the alpha versions of K6TU Remote, I'm happy to report that I submitted the application into the Apple App Store review process today.

This process generally takes 2-4 weeks to complete depending on the questions/issues raised by the staff reviewing the application.

As part of the review process, I had to shoot a video showing the application in use.  Its about 25 minutes long and can be seen in the embed below on YouTube - the video is in HD so you can run full screen if you wish.




This first release of the app is:
  • A free download for receive only, single slice operation
  • Works best on iPad Air, Air2 or Pro as its bandwidth, compute & graphics intensive
  • Requires in-app subscription to enable transmit and dual slice operation
  • Works with built-in, wired or wireless audio input/output
  • Wired headset remote control can be used for PTT 
  • Support Phone transmit operation in AM/SSB
Around 20 minutes into the video, you will hear a QSO I had with Joe KJ2AM who serendipitously responded to a test transmission I made to demonstrate the audio meters.

You can find back up documentation on the app at http://k6tu.net/ipad/k6turemote.html  - there are several screen shots of the different views of the application together with details of how the app controls work.

The app does function on older iPads that have less CPU capacity than the units recommended above BUT the audio will break up when you scroll tune the slice or the pan adaptor.  I spent a lot of time attempting to recover performance but the CPU on the older units just isn't up to the task.

I will update this post when Apple approves the app for availability.

Thanks & 73!
Stu K6TU
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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  • an app release coming on...

Posted 3 years ago

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AE0MW

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Congrats Stu!

I'm not sure I'm going to be a regular user of this app, but I'm certainly happy that it's available!
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K6OZY, Elmer

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Congratulations, Stu!  Your app is top notch, and the care you put into developing this app really shows.   Your efforts makes our wonderful radio even better.
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Congrats, Stu - Can't wait to try it.
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Watts - K4QJZ

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Great News, just purchased an iPad Air 2.
Thanks for the work!!
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Ted, NX6C

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Very nice app Stu!
   Your original app for the iPad gives me easy and quick access to all the buried settings. I am looking forward to this new app that will provide remote operations!
Ted
NX6C
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Lawrence Kellar KB5ZZB

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looking forward to trying it.  I will have to wait little while though, my iPAD 3 didn't make the cut and the iPad pro hasn't been released yet.  I have one of the original iPad unlimited data plans and look forward to using a lot of their data
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George Molnar, KF2T, Elmer

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Have viewed the video a couple of times, now. Each time I get more impressed with your GUI, Stu. A very intuitive way to work things. I eagerly await your CW implementation! Then who knows, SSTV? Digital modes? Could you imagine, one side of the screen running the rig, the other with a terminal application? Talk about armchair copy. 73...
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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George,

My current plans roadmap wise are (roughly in this order)...

- add CW support via onscreen and Bluetooth keyboard
- integrate with login software so you can log on the iPad
- station integration to allow control of amp, rotor etc

After that we will see but I'm not so sure about digital mode support. I wouldn't rule it out especially on the Air 2 or Pro iPads but addressing digital without support in the radio will be a ways out. I'd be happy to collaborate with folks who have the digital apps on the iPad but that doesn't feel the right approach.

RTTY and PSK support in the radio itself would be far preferable.
Stu K6TU
(Edited)
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Roy Laufer

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Stu, do you have any plans for an app that will "play" live Dax audio channels, for us guys with less powerful apple gadgets (an older mini iPad, iPhones). It would be a nice app to monitor the frequencies while I have to step away from the mic...
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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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Roy,

Streaming a DAX channel requires 1.5 MBps of bandwidth per DAX channel - versus the CODEC audio for Remote audio from the radio of 70 Kbps.  HUGE difference.

The app will run fine on older iPads - even with transmit and dual slices BUT the audio will "tear" (pops and drop outs) when you drag the pan adaptor or slice to tune on anything less than an iPad Air.

If you are not tuning, the older iPads keep up fine with the audio and the pan adaptor display.  You can also reduce the pan adaptor update rate to reduce the amount of data going to the iPad.

With 24 frames per second of pan adaptor, a line duration setting of 100 on the waterfall PLUS the remote audio, you are dealing with about 1.8 Mbps of data.

The pan/tuning breaks the bank processor wise on the older iPads.  I had planned to restrict the app to versions of the iPad which support Metal/OpenGL3 - which would have eliminated everything before the iPad Air - instead, I figured I would state the requirement and then leave folks to make their own judgement regarding their own iPad and its abilities with my application.

If you want to receive on a single frequency, you will be able to download the app for free (like in you got it for free) and try it out on your own iPad.  If its an older iPad, the audio will pop a little when you tune and if you don't turn down the frame rate for the display update, the display will take a while to catch up but the app works with these constraints.

I do NOT plan on supporting this app on the iPhone.  Although the iPhone 6 and later have the same processor as the Air2, the screen format is different enough that I would have to rework the UI and that isn't going to happen.

So K6TU Remote will only be available on the iPad.

Hope this helps!
Stu K6TU
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Dave Dave

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Are you using the internal mic on the ipad?


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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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Dave,

Yes - you can see this in the video demo, or the write up at the head of this thread.
  • Works with built-in, wired or wireless audio input/output
In the demo video I use the built in speakers and Mic.  Depending on the surroundings, the built in microphone will pick up a lot of extraneous noise.  The video was shot in a quiet room with good acoustics and a minimum of sound reflections.

Stu K6TU
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Dave Dave

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Love the work you've done!

Your pricing puts me out, Few will actually use the app very often and I think if your pricing was different you would actually make more money, I would guess your not a conservative.

I FULLY support your right to set the price as high as you want, Its your app and your work .... I'm not asking you to change pricing.

Wish you best ..... Dave

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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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Well Dave, 

I spent a LOT of time thinking about how to price the application.  The app only works with the FlexRadio 6000 series so the market is the size it is - no more, no less.

The software world has moved a long way from the "perpetual" (until it breaks) licensing model to where software that is useful and gets extended is mostly sold by subscription - think of it as an annual support charge.

From my days running Software Development at Cisco Systems, it was clear that getting value for software is difficult.  Cisco gets the value by shrink wrapping software in Aluminum and charging a 15% support fee per year.  That's one approach...

Microsoft even for Office 365 has moved to yearly pricing - but you get the updates for the same price.

I opted for a similar approach.  The basic app is free as a download and useful - it lets you monitor, tune around the bands etc.  If you want to transmit, well, that needs a subscription.

I provided the monthly option for folks who don't use the app very frequently or want to see how well it works before shelling out a larger sum of money.  US $9.99 a month is less than many folks spent on the non-fat-moca-frapachino-slightly-wet-with-soy-lattes in a DAY.

My original thought about pricing was $150 as a one time license for a specific version and with the need to buy the new version when it came out.  I think the annual subscription (or monthly) is a more reasonable approach given the size and exclusivity nature of the market in which the app is useful.

Hams have to realize that software is NOT FREE and if they want to see continued support and additional functionality, they need to be prepared to pay for it.

Professionally I have first hand experience of what it costs to hire an iOS Developer and have them write an app.  Believe me, if you had to hire a developer to write K6TU Remote it would never see the light of day.  The revenue from the market would takes years to recover even the initial development cost - let alone pay for the work necessary to keep the app in sync with the software in the radio, Apple's changes (annually) to the Apple iOS oh and don't forget new features in the app itself.

I decided on the subscription model for the capabilities of the app as being a reasonable balance of cost and value delivered.  Its no different than your cellular phone bill, satellite or cable entertainment and isn't out of proportion of what folks spend weekly on coffee, newspapers or many other things.

I don't know who you are (you don't provide a callsign), but I know how much hams spend on their stations (guys, don't add it up out loud, your spouse may get into a serious shopping mode as a result)...

Someone spends $5000 on a radio, add more for those with an amplifier, tower, antenna farm etc... and all of a sudden $99.99 a year (of which Apple takes 30% off the top) doesn't seem so out of whack.

Stu K6TU

PS:  At least folks don't have to spend $14.5K for an IC-7851...  maybe I should raise my prices ;-)
(Edited)
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Dave Dave

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I'm not finding your app as demo .... maybe you should put that here, I probably missed it but more people that have app the more than become customers.

I have 4 ipads.....I use all regularly as a sound engineer, maybe subscription is for user, not per ipad?

I've wrote software so I understand, Please understand I wasn't asking you to lower your price I was just telling you what I know to be true on pricing structure.

More power to you ..... I support your right to price your own product as you see fit. 

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Stu Phillips - K6TU, Elmer

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Wow - I don't now how to be more explicit...  again, at the top of this thread:
  • A free download for receive only, single slice operation
I even say this explicitly in the video...

The app is NOT yet in the app store.  As I said in the original post, the app has just been submitted to Apple for review and this takes 2-4 weeks.  When the app is approved it will be available for free download.  Not a demo - just as receive only operation on a single slice without a subscription to unlock the other functionality.

Under Apple's policy (revised but if you don't accept it - too bad, they remove your app from the app store), when you purchase an application you get it on ALL compatible devices you own.  If you happen to have a family Apple ID, then all purchases are available on ALL devices EVERY MEMBER of the family owns.

Oh and did I mention that Apple takes 30% commission OFF THE TOP regardless of the price at which your app is sold or how many copies you sell?

I know you aren't questioning my rights and I'm not taking umbrage at your comments.  Just trying to get over to folks why they are stuck with what they have and that until they get used to paying for value, will have what they get.

Stu K6TU

PS:  So Dave Dave - please ID with your callsign OM.
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K0UNX

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I, for one, will purchase it, and if it remains useful, will renew annually.  I'm tickled pink with people who write for Mac / iOS, and want to encourage it!  I am an author, and my most recent book cost about $6,000 to publish, and net a lot less than that in five years.  I can't imagine how little Stu will make from this project, so it must be an "act of love" to write these apps.

I'm very impressed with what I've seen so far!  BTW: I have a Maestro on order, so the K6TU Remote App is a "duplication" for me.  I may end up using one over the other most of the time, but will have a blast comparing the two.

I might also add that I have SSDR 1.5 running on my iMac, under Parallels and Windows 10, AND on a new Windows 10 laptop AND on a Windows 10 Surface Pro 3.  Which works better?  The iMac!  It works SOLIDLY on the iMac, but I can't keep a connection on either Microsoft device.  So the Microsoft devices are sitting, unused, on a shelf.

I'm also using DogParkSDR.  It isn't finished yet, and shows great promise.  It is quite USABLE at this stage, but still has features that haven't YET been implemented, so I find myself primarily using SSDR.  KUDOS to DON AGRO!  He is pumping out code like a madman, and is VERY RESPONSIVE.  I am certain that DogParkSDR will be GREAT down the road.

de K0UNX
Jim Flannery
Littleton, Colorado
unixman@mac.com
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Justin - KL2D

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Stu - Thank you so much for developing an iPad remote App! I agree with the sentiment of the others here, I think the number of hams using Apple products is increasing and I am very happy to see more and more software developed for Apple's various OS. 

I am more than happy to pay for someones time who was willing to sit down and write software (when I was most certainly not) that I find useful.  

Let me just say thank you one more time, and please post an update when it hits the App Store, I will be happy to buy a subscription.


Justin KL2D