What it is: Apple adds new features to macOS all the time, and many of those features compete against third-party developers.
If you’re an independent developer, how do you compete against Apple? The simple answer is how you compete against any bigger company. You offer a better product.
The latest macOS Catalina will offer a feature called Sidecar, which will allow a Macintosh to use an iPad as a second screen wirelessly. This directly competes against a product called Duet Display, which also lets you use an iPad as a second screen for a Macintosh.
So how can Duet Display compete against the free Sidecar feature? The answer is easy.
Sidecar only works with the latest macOS Catalina and with the latest iPad models. If you have an older version of macOS or an older version of an iPad, then you won’t be able to use Sidecar.
In addition, Sidecar only works with the latest Macintosh models. If you have an older Macintosh, you won’t be able to use Sidecar either.
So Sidecar is a great feature but only for those with the latest equipment. That’s where a product like Duet Display can offer more features.
First of all, Duet Display works by connect a USB cable between a computer and the iPad, which makes a wired connection less convenient (because you need a cable) but also faster and more reliable.
Second, Duet Display can work with older versions of macOS and older Macintosh models. Duet Display can even work with Windows PCs so you can use your iPad as a second screen for a Windows computer.
Even better, Duet Display works with older iPad models. That means Duet Display offers compatibility with more devices than Sidecar while offering a faster and more reliable connection through a cable (at the expense of needing a cable).
Some people might be perfectly happy using Sidecar but Sidecar won’t necessarily displace Duet Display or similar products. Apple has no interest in supporting older Macintosh models or iPad models, nor do they care about supporting Windows PCs either.
Duet Display is like Sidecar but with more options. So if you ever want to compete against a big company like Apple, simply offer more features to reach a broader market.
Sidecar may be free, but if you don’t meet those exact requirements to use Sidecar, you’ll have no choice but to rely on Duet Display or a similar product.
It’s easy to compete against larger companies as an independent developer since you just need to go deeper in features than the larger company may wish to do.
Competing against larger companies may not be easy, but it’s not impossible. Sometimes a free option like Sidecar can actually promote greater awareness of a competing product.
Once people realize what Sidecar can do, they may find they can’t use it or that it’s too limited for their purposes. Then they may find a product like Duet Display is better.
If you’re a third party developer, just focus on making the best product possible. Chances are good you’ll have a product someone will be willing to pay for. If not, then you’ll still have plenty of experience creating something worthwhile.