The latest iteration of Bento, which features improved label printing, form printing and allows data to be exported along with templates for simpler emailing, will be the first of the company’s programs to be offered for download from the Mac App store. With this release, Filemaker has cut Bento’s price from $79 to $59.
Filemaker’s systems engineer for the Asia Pacific, David Head, told Australian Macworld that offering the product through the App Store will open the product up to a new range of customers.
“Typically, with something like Bento, people don’t know they need a database,” comments Head. “But, they can search for it through app store and see things like ‘organise contacts’ or ‘track projects,’ and think ‘well that sounds like what I want.’ From a discoverability point of view it’s going to be big for us.”
For the future the company, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Apple, is concentrating its efforts on the iOS platform.
“As a company, we have quite a heavy focus on the iOS products, because we see this as our future, getting the data mobile,” says Head. “Certainly, we’re working on the next version now.”
Portability, he believes, is set to be the next significant phase in software’s evolution. Bento for iOS, for example, already runs on a port of the OS X’s full database engine as it stands.
“Maybe it’ll be the case you don’t need a laptop to do all the work you need to,” he says. “From a development point of view, we certainly want to build in all the features we can on the platform. Of course, there are limitations on the platform in terms of making things happen, and it takes a bit of time to bring those through. It’s hard to predict at what point you get parity between the desktop version and the IOS version.”
Head believes the processing power of the iPad 2 is going to be of serious benefit to software developers:
“It certainly takes the next step as far as the iPad platform goes. It’s going to be good for us having a faster processor, making our database applications working even more seamlessly,” he says. However, Head believes its not simply a matter of presenting an OS X program on a tablet, rather, apps need to be tailor-made for the device.
“When you’re developing for that platform, you’ve really got to be respectful of that platform. It’s really not a laptop. It’s got its own personality. You’ve got to build applications for that personality. While you want the features to be there, they’re going to work differently.”