- If you are already a Learning Pack user, none of this impacts you!
- If you use Synthesia on iPad (or Android), none of this impacts you!
With that out of the way, let's talk about what's happening and why this will hopefully make a lot of things better.
"Add the Learning Pack" will become "Unlock Synthesia"
The "Learning Pack" has always been kind of a weird idea that is hard to communicate. "Here, you get some features for free... others aren't, but they're spread out all over the place." Lots of email comes in asking where the thing they just purchased actually is. More perplexing are the emails asking why they can't find all their new Learning Pack songs. What's more, lot's of development effort is spent conditionally disabling little bits of the interface, adding tiny padlock icons, and testing they work depending on whether you've got the Learning Pack or not.
A year ago, the iPad version gave me a chance at a fresh start to rethink the unlock model. Instead of being able to play any song and unlocking features, it switched: you could only play a handful of demo songs (with all the features) and then unlock "Play any Song" to allow the rest of the built-in stuff and adding your own. This has gone remarkably well. The only confusion I've ever seen is from users that are also familiar with the desktop version's unlock model. They've had to learn two contrary systems, which has led to more questions. Worse: the shared Synthesia code base has to handle the iPad and desktop unlock schemes simultaneously, which requires even more careful development and testing whenever new features are added.
Taking all of those things into consideration, I'd like to unify the unlock model across the board. This is a good time to clarify the language on the iPad, too:
- Desktop: "Add More Features" → "Unlock Synthesia"
- iPad: "Unlock All Songs" → "Unlock Synthesia"
- Much easier to communicate. Everyone is familiar with the Try/Buy paradigm.
- No more confusion between desktop/tablet unlock methods. Fewer email questions means faster development.
- Unifying the unlock behavior means faster development and testing.
In the meantime, we understand some users still like the idea of playing any MIDI song without paying anything. The older version is still available and will continue to work with custom songs forever. You can download Synthesia 9 for both Windows and Mac from the "Older Versions" section on the download page.
(When switching back to version 9 from 10, there is a known issue that disables your MIDI output the first time you run 9 again. The workaround is to go to Settings and re-enable output for each of your MIDI devices.)