Rogue Amoeba’s Piezo Records Other (Sandboxed) Mac Apps

| Product News

Rogue Amoeba announced Wednesday the release of Piezo, an app that can record audio from other Mac software, even apps that have been sandboxed. Armed with a “charmingly simple” interface, to use Rogue Amoeba’s description, the app is available on the Mac App Store and the company’s website.

Piezo Screens

Piezo Interface Examples

“Almost any app’s audio can be captured in Piezo, just by selecting it as the source,” the company said in a statement. “Piezo will grab web streams in Safari or music from services like Spotify and Rdio. If you need to capture sound bites from DVDs or even from movies in iTunes, Piezo can do it. It works with audio devices too, so when a microphone (such as an Apple headset) is connected, Piezo can record that audio right into the Mac.”

The significance of this app starts with Apple and ends with Lion. Apple only allows apps that have been “sandboxed” in the MAS—sandboxed apps can’t mess with other apps, nor can other apps mess with them.

Such limitations prohibited Rogue Amoeba’s previous Mac recording software, Audio Hijack Pro, from being offered on the MAS. Piezo, however, has apparently met whatever restrictions and methods Apple has in place at the MAS because there it is.

Piezo is priced at US$9.99 and is available now on the Mac App Store. If you’d prefer to purchase directly from Rogue Amoeba, it’s $10.

[UPDATE] Editor’s note: Those wanting to use Piezo to record Skype calls should be aware that there are some idiosyncracies at play. Specifically, as soon as you start recording with Piezo it echoes your own audio back to you. On headphones this is actually OK (your landline phones have been doing this to you for years), but in speakerphone mode it causes an immediate feedback loop and makes it unusable. Rogue Amoeba is well aware of this and is working on a fix.

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Well, they either met Apple’s restrictions or it’ll be pulled by tomorrow. smile


I heard an analysis of the sandboxing rules by Steve Gibson on the Security Now podcast. The guts of the issue is that the application has to ask the OS for specifically whatever resources and access it needs. So the developer needs to be upfront about what the app does with data from other applications. It’s not about total prevention of interaction between applications, but true and clear declaration up front of the interaction required.
Since this application is upfront about what it does (capturing audio from other applications), and it (presumably) only asks for the resources and access it actually needs to do that, then it was accepted.
I suspect that Audio Hijack Pro was not engineered with this restriction in mind, and could not be easily rewritten. That would explain why Rogue Amoeba has presented this new application.

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