With that, Apollo’s last update has landed! It includes:
Some fun easter eggs!
Tidies some things up for the closure later today
Adds more wallpapers to the “Goodbye Apollo” wallpaper set
Adds the option to export your Pixel Pals to the separate Pixel Pals app, and gives you a fun easter egg for doing so (or if you download the app while having Apollo installed)
I’ve stared at this empty text editor for like an hour now, and I really don’t know how to even start this post. It feels like summer camp as a kid when it’s the last day and everyone is remembering how much fun we had together, while also trying to fight back the emotion of things coming to a close.
So I just really want to say thanks. I set out to build Apollo right out of university and an Apple internship, and wanted to create a Reddit app so good it felt like Apple themselves built it. The initial version was a little rough, but the community grew and grew, and people kept providing such phenomenal feedback that shaped the app into something absolutely unique that was enjoyed by so many people over the years.
It feels disingenuous on the surface to say “I want to thank all of you”, but in this case it’s demonstrably true. I’ve worked on this app for over 9 years, and I’ve never felt burned out, I get such a crazy amount of energy and enjoyment out of building something so publicly alongside such an awesome community, and you seriously have no idea how easy product development is when your north star is just “listen to what people are saying”. So much less guesswork, A/B tests, focus groups, stress, when instead you just talk to people every day and listen. It’s hard to believe I’ve made almost 20,000 comments in this subreddit!
I’m really heartbroken with how this whole process unfolded, I truly drank the Kool Aid talking to Reddit at the beginning that this was something they were going into in good faith with the interest of developers, moderators, and the community as a whole, but as many people pointed out to me, it’s clear now that ultimately wasn’t their intent. If they wanted something that could work for everyone, they would have simply made an effort to listen, instead of being dishonest, callous, and punitive in pricing. I’m sorry to all the folks who, like me, lost Apollo abruptly as a result of this. I had so much more I wanted to do with this app!
But, legitimately, I really feel a sense of that “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” right now. I grew up so much developing Apollo, I met and learned from so many incredible people, made lifelong friends, got to go to multiple WWDCs and was even featured in a few, and I got to work on a product and platform I absolutely loved for 9 years. That’s an incredible run, and it’s hard to feel anything but thankful for that.
Here are some other random things I wanted to take a chance to mention! And hopefully none of it sounds too shill-y, I tried to get a Raids Shadow Legends or Squarespace sponsorship now that my main app is gone, but in the absence of that, I wanted to point out some of the other things I’m working on that you can support me in if you like what I’ve built and are able to, it would really mean a lot to me! ❤️
Update Apollo! This last update includes some fun stuff, easter eggs, migration tools, and a fun mode for the app that automatically enables when I delete my API token later tonight
Check out the “Goodbye Apollo” Wallpaper set! It’s 20+ incredible wallpapers by Apollo icon designers, so you’ll be able to remember Apollo for years to come. I’m so proud of how it came out. It’s available in the app, but you can also just buy it online too if you want!
Download my Pixel Pals app! It takes the really fun pixel pals functionality in Apollo and makes it into its own separate app with a ton more fun features to customize your iOS device with. It’s now my only app really, so it would mean a lot to me if you considered supporting it! (There’s also a secret easter egg for Apollo users!)
If you have time left on a monthly or yearly subscription, please consider declining the automatic refund! These refund costs are paid out-of-pocket by developers and while the small amount left might not matter a lot to you, multiplied across a big user base like Apollo’s, it gets painfully expensive. Cancelling your subscription or deleting the app is not enough, you have to download Apollo and manually decline the refund, otherwise it’s automatically given to you. The costs really hit me out of nowhere, a month ago Reddit was still being promising with claims of equitable API pricing, and 4 months before that they said they had no plans to change the API this year.
Beyond that, some people have asked if they can tip jar me directly, and I’m Canadian so unfortunately no Venmo/Cashapp, but I do have PayPal! I had some questions about crypto too, and I don’t know that side of things too well, but here’s a link to my info for that.
The mythical iPad app is something I was so excited to be able to push out the door, and has been the hardest programming challenge of my career. While it won’t get to see the light of day unfortunately, I did want to take the chance to share some details with you about it. I’ll upload some screenshots later tonight, but I was really inspired from the outset by Loren Brichter’s Twitter for iPad app over a decade ago before I could even code. You have these stacks of content that just effortlessly stack on top of one another so even if you’ve gone down a deep rabbit hole of content you can easily keep track of things. I had a few extra flourishes that modern hardware permits like tabbed browsing as well. It’s something I may end up finishing up and even open sourcing one day just because I was pretty deep into it, it was a lot of fun, and I kinda want to see it finished.
Anyway, I just really wanted to write a final post to say a big thanks to the community who used Apollo over the years, it’s been the journey and dream of a lifetime working on Apollo, and whatever I do next, be it Pixel Pals, or another thing all together, I’ll do my best to make it measure up to Apollo!
I’m not sure if I’ll be sticking around on Reddit much beyond this week, but I’m on Twitter and Mastodon if you want to keep in touch wth me!