If I could summarize our situation – we are a genuinely tiny, guerrilla indie team, but very passionate about rebuilding the app for the next ten years.
Being so tiny we have to both be pretty brutal about picking our main targets, while also really leaning into our strengths and the more unique personality and perspective of Clear initially to maximize our impact and ship something that excites the world again. The kind of features other developers can’t do for their apps because their apps have the same perspective like all the other to do apps, but for us and our app being Clear, happens to slot in quite easily and naturally.
Syncing happens to be a feature that seems deceptively simple, but at least from our past experience, can be a year+ long project to get like… 98% there in reliability. But it could take another year to stamp out the next 1% of edge cases, and so forth. (If you’ve ever run into strange syncing issues with Apple’s own services you’ve probably wondered why this is happening with a trillion dollar company in charge.) Unfortunately the current Clear syncing code is ancient and in that ~95% reliability zone which does not make it an efficient ‘fixer upper’. So when we attempted to write a new sync from scratch… it turned out to be a prohibitively costly project for a team of our size and the current state of Clear’s business where it needs a reboot to have a chance to survive and thrive in the future.
To be honest when I look back, if I have a single regret about Clear 1.x’s roadmap, it was pursuing sync and clients on Mac/iPad way too early. It was a huge amount of baggage for an also then very tiny, indie guerilla team, and quickly enough burned us all out, before we were able to get the business to a sustainable kind of place to support that kind of longterm ramp up on development costs.
Oh and there was also always a side I think you know and appreciate to Clear of feature minimalism, and keeping you totally focused on your lists. So there is a side of the new Clear resetting back to an even simpler place (to regroup and rebuild on cleaner foundations) that is also healthy I think for its design longterm. Think Casino Royale for Bond after the Brosnan years.
That said… we now have a foundation we dug deep underground, to support what we want to build over the years above ground, and it’s going to move FAST compared to the stasis you’re all used to over most of the past decade for Clear (iPhone) updates.
I also believe we have a good new angle to support layering on some more opt-in functionality just for those who want it. (A set of personalizable gestures you can set up.) So this will be a good way to accommodate some Clear 1.x features cut for now and bring them back in a way that doesn’t clutter the app for those who don’t care for them. (Like sorting a list, or sending list via email, etc.)
That’s a lot to say we are going to focus our effort on the ‘90%’ of our user base and trying to make the experience as exciting and robust as possible to start, and then should hopefully be in a great place to start filling in support for various very important more specific requests etc.
Sorry this turned out so long! It’s a complicated situation even to try to summarize