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Foreword Meet the Developers
And the Developers are...

3 5

Perfecting a Killer Idea
Brainstorming Techniques Be the First Be Better, or Different


12 14 16 18

Building Your App Around a Service

The App Store

Getting Started Your Product Definition Statement Choosing an Application Style The Approval Process How to Craft an Effective App Store Listing Dealing with Crashes, Errors, and Bugs The Benefits The Challenges


24 24 25 28 30 36 39 42 48 52 58 64

Making a Development Decision
Developing Your Own Native App Hiring a Developer Developing a Web Application


Quick Guide: Creating an iPhone Optimized Site

The Importance of Simple, Sexy Interface Design
Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines Why Is Sexy Interface Design So Important? The Interface Design Process Crafting an Irresistible Icon Design Kits, Interfaces and Icons


67 69 72 77 80

Learning to Keep it Simple and Iterate
Iteration in Action


Pricing Your App Right
Breaking Down Your Revenue The Pricing Dilemma Advertising Options


88 89 93

2 The Perfect Promotion Mix Perfecting Your Website Quick Guide: Creating a Video Demo Generating Launch “Buzz” Reaching Apple’s Top Lists Go Social With Your App Connecting With Users Advertising vs. APIs and Frameworks 120 121 121 124 125 126 127 128 130 One Piece of Advice Words of Wisdom 134 135 The iPhone Developer Survey Part 1 – Business and Company Part 2 – Developing Apps 141 142 148 The iPhone User Survey Conclusion Credits About the Author 158 165 166 168 . Word of Mouth Top Notch Support and Regular Updates Conquer Your Stage Fright 97 98 101 102 106 109 111 113 115 117 Useful Resources Apple’s Documentation Books Screencasts Podcasts Blogs and Websites Forums Conferences Development Libraries.

craft a stunning interface.000 iPhone users. This book won’t give you a killer idea. nor will it teach you the ins and outs of programming for the iPhone. Drawing on survey responses from over 1. it isn’t enough just to have a decent idea and some programming knowledge. despite the occasional success story. Good luck. get the most from the App Store. Unfortunately.FOREWORD The iTunes® App StoreSM launched on July 10th. Opening up a marketplace for software developers to target the iPhone®. the fact remains that becoming an overnight App Store phenomenon is difficult. What it will do is provide you with all the knowledge and technique you need to spot a great opportunity. 2008 to much fanfare and drama. At the time of writing this. The potential for success has proven to be phenomenal. and I hope you enjoy the journey! David Appleyard AppStorm Editor . Developers have the ability to easily reach millions of users through a central marketplace. make smart decisions about development. and many are leveraging that opportunity to make thousands of dollars every day. If you’re wanting to strike it big as an app entrepreneur. and it’s a tough market to succeed in. and in-depth insight from a handful of incredibly talented iPhone developers. this guide will equip you with everything you need to successfully become an iPhone app entrepreneur. Many developers struggle to achieve great success with their application. it has rocketed to success over the past two years. and promote your app successfully. iPod touch® and iPad™. over three billion applications have been downloaded.

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designers. . you’ll encounter interviews with sixteen people who have an intimate knowledge of developing for the iPhone. Over the next few pages I’d like to introduce you to a handful of the most talented and successful people working in the industry. and App Store entrepreneurs who helped to make this guide possible. I want to offer a special thank you to the developers. Their insight is remarkably helpful for starting out on the right track when developing your own application. Throughout the book. who generously gave up their time and expertise to contribute to this book.MEET THE DEVELOPERS Before we get started.

Dave Verwer – Shiny Development shinydevelopment. and to manage your wine library. and developed the popular iPhone game “Balloons”. An expert in iPhone UI design. a wonderful way to take simple notes and keep them synchronized between multiple apps and services.com Simplenote is. Michael Johnston & Fred Cheng – Simplenote simplenoteapp. Graham has seen recent success with the release of The Early Edition for the iPad. .. Essex. Graham Clarke – Glasshouse Apps glasshouseapps. He runs a number of different Mac user groups. a brilliantly unique RSS reader. she has worked on a number of beautiful iPhone applications.com Glasshouse Apps started out with Barista and Cellar.com Sarah is the talented designer behind You Know Who. a web design and development studio based in Leigh-on-Sea.com Dave has years of Mac development experience under his belt. By far and away the best note taking application for the iPhone..6 Meet the Developers And the Developers are. two unique applications to help you make a great cup of coffee. and knows everything there is to know about programming and development! Sarah Parmenter – You Know Who youknowwhodesign. as the name suggests.

and 37signals have recently taken the plunge into the App Store themselves.com Select Start Studios are the developers behind Headquarters. Another of their applications. Devin has some interesting information to share about promoting your app. David Heinemeier Hansson & Jason Fried – 37signals 37signals.7 Marc Edwards – Bjango bjango. . collaborating with other developers. provides an additional way to add push notification support to your iPhone. and working with the App Store. Joshua Tessier. Tariq Zaid & Adam McNamara – Select Start Studios selectstartstudios. 37signals have over three million users and a passion for keeping things simple. Their unique illustration style and interface design sets them apart from many other developers. and they seem to have an endless stream of fantastic ideas.com Meet the Developers Bjango create wonderfully designed apps both for the Mac.com Developers of a range of online business productivity software.com Attic is a slick music controller for all those unplayed albums that are collecting dust sitting in your iTunes library. and iPhone. iPad. An expanding ecosystem of companion iPhone apps have sprung up over the past few years. a popular Basecamp application for the iPhone. AppNotify. Devin Ross – Attic atticapp. including iStat Menus and the incredibly useful “Consume”.

beautiful products and innovative projects. an icon design service responsible for some of the best Mac app icons.com Gedeon works for The Iconfactory. you should. the company behind apps such as Twitteriffic. stunning icons. filmmaker. Lee Mallabone – Broadersheet iphone. a company that creates novel.com Meet the Developers Sebastiaan runs Cocoia. Ramp Champ. and addictive user experience. and automatically login to your favorite websites. Garrett Murray ego-app. and Frenzic. It . These include Icon Designer. blogger. Gedeon Maheux – The Iconfactory iconfactory.broadersheet. a site for learning how to design icons yourself. is any web designer’s best friend. offering beautiful stats for a range of web services. His creation for the iPhone. and Icon Resource. a personalised newspaper for your iPhone. seamlessly sync it with your Mac.com Garrett Murray is a developer. They’re renowned for gorgeous interface design.com Dustin is the developer behind the delightfully designed “Wallet” for Mac and iPhone.8 Sebastiaan de With cocoia. If you’ve never tried any of their apps. and general all-rounder. podcaster. Wallet offers a central place to store your personal information.com Lee Mallabone is one of the developers behind Broadersheet. Dustin MacDonald acrylicapps. Ego.

Avatron’s Air Sharing application.com Dave Howell is a six-year veteran Apple engineering manager. a Javascript framework for iPhone development. Sophia Teutschler – Sophiestication Software sophiestication. Recently. He currently works as the creative director at Sencha. David Kaneda – Sencha sencha.com David Kaneda has nine years of experience designing in a variety of fields. which is run by Sophia Teutschler.9 Meet the Developers provides news from around the world that you care about. from the sources that you trust. downloaded by over one million users in its first two weeks. human interfaces by striving to achieve the perfect balance between form and function. . and Broadersheet learns what topics you’re interested in. from architecture and fashion to education and software. raised the bar for iPhone application design and software quality. Sophia loves to create simple. and the founder of Avatron – a leading developer of popular applications for the iPhone and iPod touch. Dave Howell – Avatron avatron. David created jQTouch. yet easy to use.com Sophiestication Software is a small software design and development company.

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or entertain a user in a completely novel way. Solve someone’s problem in a simple fashion. . In this chapter. we’ll explore the tips and techniques you can employ to craft the perfect iPhone app idea. and you’re on the road to success.PERFECTING A KILLER IDEA So you want to launch your first application. Often the first hurdle met by developers is how to come up with a successful idea. or solve an existing problem in a really fantastic manner. Most of the really successful applications available today either offer something completely unique. A well thought through idea is everything. how do you come up with something original? Or how you can you execute an idea better than everyone else? I’ve heard many people say that ideas are ten-a-penny. With hundreds of thousands of applications available on the App Store. I don’t think this theory holds a great deal of weight. and that it’s the execution and persistence that makes an application successful.

Here are a few examples: • • I always struggle to calculate a suitable tip to leave at a restaurant. Price comparison websites are great. http://ego-app. I asked Bjango: As a company with several different applications. These ideas are not just odd concepts chosen at random. Perhaps begin by listing the challenges. they have a few tricks up their sleeve. Each is a real problem faced by many people. It would be good to have one central place where all this information is automatically downloaded.com/. This is the type of thought process many developers go through.sophiestication. brainstorming and proactively considering new ideas can be a worthwhile task. but they aren’t much use when I’m out at the store. . It would be great to have a way to check prices online using my iPhone. then consider how they could be solved with a suitable iPhone app.com/tipulator/. problems and annoyances you face on a daily basis. and various iPhone apps are now available to help solve them (Tipulator1. • Logging into a number of different services to check all my website statistics takes ages. http://redlaser.12 Perfecting a Killer Idea Brainstorming Techniques I’ve often wondered how developers with a huge repertoire of applications constantly come up with new ideas. and Ego3 respectively). how do you come up with new ideas? 1 2 3 http://www. As it turns out.com/. RedLaser2. I wish there was an easier way to do this automatically. Although you may find that an idea just “comes to you” at the time you least expect it.

You might be passionate about the wing span of a mosquito. and The Early Edition for the iPad. as even a small app can take a month to develop. and the latter gives you a virtual “wine cellar” in the palm of your hand. . including Barista and Cellar for the iPhone. The former offers advice on how to craft the perfect coffee. We keep a long list of possible app ideas. I asked the developer how they chose which of their ideas to take forward for development. If I’m not inspired by an idea. and which to drop after the brainstorming stage: I try to start by thinking of ideas that inspire me personally. There are notable examples of developers ticking all the boxes and then falling dramatically short of their own expectations. it’s time to do some research and make sure there’s a market for it.13 Perfecting a Killer Idea Most of our ideas are born from necessity—the result of a lightbulb moment while trying to do something the hard way. Glasshouse Apps have three successful applications in the App Store. Concentrating all your energy on a specific niche and offering a valuable service for a select few people can be equally successful. it’s going to be harder to stay motivated down the track. but if no one else is. It’s important to have a big list to work from. success certainly isn’t guaranteed. It’s the simple notion that if there’s something we need ourselves. then you’re fighting an uphill battle! Even if you think you have a brilliant idea and a solid market. so you don’t end up working on a dud idea. and I’m only pursuing it because I think it might sell well. It’s critical the best ideas are the only apps you produce. hopefully others will too. It’s also important to remember that you don’t necessarily need to focus on solving a problem faced by every iPhone user. Once I’ve established a few initial ideas that I think have merit.

and generally less “clutter” available for that particular device. it could be a while before a completely new physical piece of hardware is released by Apple. as the opportunity to have your application available to coincide with the launch of a new device is an incredibly rare one. so be prepared to experiment with a few different projects before you stumble upon one that really takes off. and early adopters were downloading it from the day the iPad App Store opened. Launching on Day 1 gives your application a huge advantage. The Early Edition was one of the first RSS readers available for the iPad. I asked the developer how important it is to be the first to market with a particular type of app: We saw it as quite significant to have The Early Edition ready for sale on the launch day of the iPad.14 Perfecting a Killer Idea Don’t assume that the first idea you take forward to development will be your main success as an App Store entrepreneur. Hardware and software upgrades often introduce new features that give developers an opportunity. . you don’t always need to wait for a completely new product to take advantage of this. or the first to utilize a new platform or hardware feature. It takes time to understand what works and what doesn’t. Aside from the unprecedented opportunity of offering our own application on the very first day of an entirely new category of device (which was incredible). Be the First Being “first” gives you a huge advantage on the App Store – whether you’re the first person to release a particular type of app. With the iPhone and iPad now available. This type of thinking is important. Fortunately. having The Early Edition there on Day One meant that we were on a level playing field right from the start. as there are far fewer competitors crowding your niche.

you need your own map information. With something like maps. People already have music on their iPhones.html. . so it’s worth taking the time to see whether you can spot a new opportunity.15 Perfecting a Killer Idea One such new feature in iPhone OS 3 was the ability to access the iPhone’s iTunes library. saw this as a great opportunity: When iPhone OS 3. That application turned into something similar to the photo flicking apps on the App Store where you can throw around and rotate album covers. Attic developer. I then set my mind on creating something that could be a worthwhile application. I initially made a simple application to explore not only the music API. Here’s an example of the new API features available in iOS 4 (formerly known as iPhone OS4):4 4 http://developer. Documentation is always available well in advance of a new software update or device being released. or opens up new functionality for developers to exploit.0 came out. After looking further into the API. My product definition statement read as such: “an easy to use application to find albums in your library that aren’t played often”. For people like me that like to listen to entire albums at a time. I watched the Apple developer videos on the ingredients of a good iPhone application. but the multi-touch gestures and the shake notifications. so I knew I had to make my app achieve a specific goal. Writing that application helped me learn a lot in many different areas. The music API was appealing because the data was already there. Apple regularly adds new hardware and software features. Devin Ross. I came up with the concept of Attic. this concept was exciting. I investigated the new APIs like maps and mail composition. Apple had already made a great player for your entire collection. I spent a lot of time looking into the new additions to the SDK.apple.com/technologies/iphone/whats-new.

The same is true for application development. less functionality than many competing devices. The iPhone itself is a wonderful example of this. The first version offered. if anything. . you can look for a page such as this and brainstorm a list of application ideas that weren’t possible previously. It’s a regular opportunity to be “first” with a completely new type of app. or Different While important. Be Better. Many developers have had huge success in well-established niches simply by solving a problem better. being first certainly isn’t everything.16 Perfecting a Killer Idea Whenever a new software release is announced. It was all about the style and execution of the concept.

Something we’ve always tried to do. Birdhouse is simply a place to work on draft messages and publish (or unpublish) them. With . retains a simple interface. then no. or more efficient. works reliably. and has seen great success in this simple niche. takes this approach to differentiate his application in a very crowded niche: One obvious thing that I think a lot of developers miss is putting time into crafting a great user experience.17 Perfecting a Killer Idea Tweetie wasn’t the first Twitter client for the iPhone. One company that has epitomized this simple approach in the web applications space is 37signals. “killer idea”: If killer idea means something awfully clever. I asked them whether they thought a successful iPhone app needs to be a unique. the developer of Wallet. Focusing strongly on the user experience can be a great way to ensure your app stands out from the crowd. Another application that executes a small piece of functionality in a wonderful way is Birdhouse. but it quickly established itself as the best-in-class due to the thought that went into its design. is to reach for that same quality experience in our own apps. you’ve probably got something. It’s phenomenally difficult to develop an application that includes all the necessary features. Rather than offer a full Twitter experience. Most people don’t have problems all that complex and if you can just make some part of their day better. Most “killer” ideas are simple solutions to simple problems. Although there are now hundreds of thousands of third-party apps on the App Store. choosing simplicity over new features time and time again in their software. and is a pleasure to use. This functionality works because it places emphasis on only one task. Dustin MacDonald. whether on the Mac or iPhone. It’s designed for people who like to put thought and care into their use of Twitter. or more fun. very few are of the same level of quality as Apple’s own bundled software. Most people buy Apple products because of the fantastic user experiences they provide.

I never do any brainstorming – ideas just appear to me out of the blue.18 Perfecting a Killer Idea Wallet for iPhone. and animations. Sophia Teutschler. the developer behind Articles. this meant simplifying our app down to the core features. Quality always makes the difference. elements. I don’t force myself to come up with new ideas. Twitter. . No other app does that in my opinion. Flickr. Amazon. Tipulator. Articles is about retaining focus on the actual article content. offering a familiar structure and feel (in this case with the Contacts app). Building Your App Around a Service With the huge surge in web applications offering high quality APIs in recent years. Yahoo. Often there is already “an app for that”. It’s not an app to “manage” Wikipedia. Google Maps. but most of the time these apps offer such a terrible experience that I’d rather put time and money into making my own version of that idea. I’m sure I’ll add new and clever features in the future. many iPhone developers are seeing success from building an app around an existing service. but only those that fit into my vision for the app. Facebook. it’s about reading articles and consuming knowledge. and polishing the app with great looking icons. that’s just not the point. Groceries. PayPal – the possibilities are endless. and a several other great iPhone apps. Articles will never be the Wikipedia App with the most features or the lowest price. feels that the approach of “being better” can be enough to give you a successful app: I make Apps that cover functionality that I miss on my iPhone or iPad.

Headquarters is one such iPhone app built around the 37signals API that provides a mobile interface to Basecamp. we focused on three (and only three) major features: a dashboard that combines data from all of your projects. To accomplish our goal. it’s simply not enough to take that information and put a pretty face on it. Rather than building another Basecamp application that simply exposed all of its data on the iPhone. easy to use launchpad to help you get to work. I asked the developer. and regularly promote these iPhone apps to their users. remain in the loop and stay focused. But I think the most difficult challenge is to provide additional value to your users without overwhelming them with pointless features. Select Start Studios. When we were building Headquarters. we had to make the tough decision as to what goes in and what does not. The results speak for themselves. a dashboard for a single project and the ability to manage multiple accounts within the application.19 Perfecting a Killer Idea 37signals makes a range of productivity tools for businesses. They’ve encouraged developers to create applications around their software. software that is perfectly suited for use on the iPhone. This is mainly because Basecamp has an extremely rich API that provides access to a wealth of information. we decided to focus the application on users who want to “get things done” and cut out anything that was superfluous. you have a simple. It was obvious that we needed to clamp down on a small set of features and make those features as close to perfect as possible. Nor is it very appropriate on a mobile device. Rather than having an overwhelming application. As a . Although all of that information is valuable. or I could talk about all of the small implementation details. I could talk about how the underlying API may one day change or disappear all together. whether there are any unique challenges to building an application that offers an iPhone front end to an existing online service: Building on top of an existing platform is always a challenge.

And rightly so. Another possibility is to build an application that interacts with the desktop in some way. Developing to connect to the desktop is nothing to be taken lightly. A few apps do this through a local Wi-Fi connection. it’s taken us years to develop iStat Menus and iStat Pro on Mac OS® X. fewer issues with how to handle storing a user’s information locally. and is bound to increase development time and cost. in that there’s not a lot of direct competition. especially when interacting with several different devices. others though a cloud synchronization system. I asked them how they feel that this gives iStat an “edge” over other applications: iStat for iPhone is fairly unique. The advantage is a unique pair of applications that are far harder for others to clone. Relying on another third party for the ongoing success of your application always involves some risk. Bjango’s flagship app can connect to the desktop to provide real time statistical and performance information. You’ll have an existing user base with their data immediately available to them. I asked the . but the associated benefits could certainly make this risk worthwhile. we left out a lot of features from our initial release but each feature we left out only improved the final product by making it easier to use. I guess that could be seen as an edge. the apps that formed the core of iStat Server. It was such a big project that I’m not sure we’d want to start from scratch again. One application in particular that takes this approach is iStat. It comes with a new set of challenges. Synchronization is another important aspect of your application to consider.20 Perfecting a Killer Idea result. and a potential avenue to help promote your app (developers are often happy to help spread the word about apps that use their API).

when done well. it’s an avenue worth considering when generating your killer idea. should be as transparent as possible. then it hasn’t been implemented as well as it could have been. I think Simplenote’s synchronization can still be improved quite a bit. We can focus on improving speed and reliability rather than adding and maintaining long lists of new features. I’m not sure how much time has gone into that part of our service. . as we are always making improvements. how challenging this is to implement: The basic idea of synchronizing data among different clients and services is not that complicated. an app with particularly robust synchronization. It’s hard to say why other apps might not seamlessly synchronize as effectively as Simplenote. I suppose we’ve been doing this for a while. Synchronization. Whether you’re connecting to another web or desktop app. and we’ve learned a lot. you’re far more likely to have a unique position in the market. Having said that. Simplenote and Dropbox set a high standard for how well this process can work.21 Perfecting a Killer Idea developer of Simplenote. but in practice there are lots of little things that can go wrong. and it’s worth aiming to emulate their seamless process. We also have the advantage of simplicity. It’s by no means perfect. If you manage to succeed in creating an app that turns a user’s iPhone or iPad into a useful companion to another service. If the user needs to initiate a sync or watch a progress bar as it occurs.

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and promotion. The App Store has been the subject of much discussion over the past few years. there’s certainly a strong argument for fully understanding how the App Store works before diving in and launching your application. In this chapter we’ll be discussing this whole process with developers. Others feel that the opportunity to list and showcase their app in a central location makes it far easier to reach their user base. and a closed store is but a small price to pay. Whichever camp you fall into. development.THE APP STORE Before we move ahead to the specifics of interface design. Some see the closed marketplace as restrictive. it’s worth taking a broader look at the App Store platform and how you can start the process of developing your creation. pricing. in order to help you avoid a few potential pitfalls. and a difficult entity to deal with. and to make the most of what the App Store has to offer! . controlling.

24 Getting Started

The App Store

To start developing for the App Store you’ll need a Mac running OS X, and you will need to register for the iPhone Developer Program with Apple. This allows you to download the SDK to build your apps, test them on your iPhone, and submit them to the App Store. Registration is free for those just wanting to experiment with development. You can access all the guides and videos from Apple, but testing your app is restricted to an iPhone simulator on your Mac. If you’d like to to test on your physical iPhone and move ahead to officially release your app, you will need to enroll in the standard program which costs $99 a year. Once you’ve registered for the Developer Program, you are given access to all of the information Apple has produced to help you develop iPhone applications. Download the iPhone SDK and Xcode, then you’re ready to get started. Apple has an extensive set of “Getting Started Documents”5, which are vital reading if you’re going to be developing an application yourself. These are the best place to start when learning about the technical details of iPhone OS development – something we won’t be going into at length in this book. Another important document to read is Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines6, which walk through the different requirements of the user interface design of your application.

Your Product Definition Statement
Before you dive in and start designing, it’s important to take a step back and come up with a product definition statement. Apple defines this as a
5 6 Getting Started Documents: http://developer.apple.com/iphone/library/navigation/.

iPhone Human Interface Guidelines: http://developer.apple.com/iphone/library/documentation/ UserExperience/Conceptual/MobileHIG/Introduction/Introduction.html.


The App Store

“concise declaration of your application’s main purpose and its intended

Consider the list of your app’s features, and what makes this set of features stand out. Also think about who your users are, when and how they would use your application, and in what way your interface can reflect this. Your product definition statement should take all these elements, and combine them into one simple sentence. For instance, a statement for GarageBand could be “an easy-to-use music composition application for amateur musicians”. It’s also important to include a picture of the person you envisage using the app – in this case, “amateur musicians”. When you’ve nailed a product definition statement, you’re ready to start investigating some of the other requirements and demands of the App Store.

Choosing an Application Style
Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines for developers talk a great deal about the importance of selecting and sticking with a particular “application style”.8 These dictate the type of software you’d like to create, and fall into three categories: 1. Productivity Applications 2. Utility Applications 3. Immersive Applications We asked Sarah Parmenter about the importance of “positioning” your app into one of these categories, and whether it should be something that developers consider from an early stage:
7 8

http://bit.ly/bm6XTj. Three Application Styles: http://bit.ly/9okLIx.


The App Store

It is hugely important. By positioning your app in the appropriate category from the start it will make it easier for you to define and establish user interface decisions right from the off. Each different “type” of app has some clearly defined user interface guidelines, and so getting this right from the start has to be a very simple but necessary rule. This is a great place to start when defining what type of market your application is aiming to reach, and the three different styles each come with certain recommendations:

Productivity Applications
This type of app is focused on the process of organizing and manipulating detailed information. They’re generally used for fairly important tasks, and organize their interface and data through a hierarchy. Although the purpose of these apps is usually fairly serious, it doesn’t mean that Apple wants you to design a boring piece of software. Their interface guidelines state: Seriousness of purpose does not mean that productivity applications should attempt to appear serious by providing a dry, uninspiring user experience, but it does mean that users appreciate a streamlined approach that does not hinder them.

It’s unusual to “drill down” through a hierarchy as you would in a productivity app. This can be used “at a glance”. and shows another characteristic of utilities – a set of preferences being displayed on the “reverse” of an information panel. Utility Applications The second category of applications are utilities. letting you swipe between different items to access them. namely that anything that needs to be changed often should be located within the app itself. The example provided is that of the Weather application. A useful tip is also provided relating to settings. and requires a minimum of user input.27 The App Store Mail and Photos are examples of this type of software. Anything not changed regularly can be moved to the iPhone’s “Settings” panel. . Information in a utility application is generally fairly linear. software that provides a single purpose.

The Approval Process Discussion surrounding the App Store approval process is always ongoing.28 The App Store Immersive Applications The third and final category contains applications that immerse you in their content. In such an application. This could be a game. full-screen environment. or a utility that has a full screen interface. even though it doesn’t fit the definition of a game. Apple uses the example of a virtual spirit-level: An application that replicates the experience of using a bubble level works well in a graphics-rich. while others do not. as in a game. but are also usually the most complex type of application to develop. the user’s focus is on the visual content and the experience. not on the data behind the experience. Immersive applications give you the greatest freedom to explore an original and innovative application design. . with many developers frustrated at the lack of clarity Apple provides over why certain applications make the cut.

At the time of writing this.com/iphone/news/appstoretips/. and is a solid step towards having your application approved.com/hotnews/apple-answers-fcc-questions/.apple. . and (b) an App Store executive review board exists that determines procedures and sets policy for the review process. 9 10 http://www.apple. inappropriate content. but will avoid frustration when you come to submit it. This is where a good understanding and application of the Human Interface Guidelines will serve you well. This will no doubt require plenty of reading (and likely restrict or modify a few of the grand ideas you had for your app). Apple is fairly efficient at approving applications. A few things Apple has released are that (a) at least two different reviewers study each application so that the review process is applied uniformly. privacy infringement. In theory. Aiming to uphold and improve the core experience of the iPhone certainly puts you in Apple’s “good books”.29 The App Store The best way to ensure that your application makes it through this process is to ensure you stick by every guideline given in Apple’s documentation. Make sure that you submit the absolute best standard of application you can. Ultimately. as well as reviewing applications that are escalated to a higher level.10 Be prepared to wait a little while. 85% of new apps and 95% of app updates are approved (or rejected) within 7 days. and take on board any advice received from Apple’s team of reviewers. App Store Review Status: http://developer. and “avoiding applications that degrade the core experience of the iPhone”9. it’s best to accept that the approval process is a necessary frustration. Reviewers look for a variety of different things when assessing your application. and use the time wisely to start working on different promotion methods. with the main factors being bugs or regular crashes. How Long Does It Take? The entire process of application review seems to be shrouded in secrecy. use of unauthorized APIs.

Screenshots 7. Your listing is made up of several parts: 1. Rating . Price 6. Most developers aren’t also skilled in writing sales copy and producing a compelling pitch. Title & Description Icon Links What’s New 5. 4. so we’ll offer a few tips that should help you craft an effective listing. 2. 3.30 The App Store How to Craft an Effective App Store Listing The way in which you put together your listing in the App Store can have a huge impact on the success of your application.

A few equally excellent applications (such as “Hipstamatic”) appear lower down the results chart. Trying to aggressively optimize your title or description to achieve a good search ranking is predominantly a waste of time. you should do that with all your copy. In iTunes. only the first paragraph of your description is shown. Here’s a great example of this in the official Twitter for iPhone app: .31 Title and Description The App Store Aim for a title that contains your application name. With this in mind. Focus on creating a brilliant app. brings back plenty of relevant applications with “camera” in their application name. so be short and straight to the point. incorporating these keywords into your application name itself can’t hurt. and crafting a relevant listing rather than over-including certain keywords. for instance. so make sure you pick the 5 best hero shots. Bjango have a few interesting tips to share on this topic: In the current App Store. possibly because they don’t have the specific keyword of “camera” in the title. it’s worth making the first paragraph an accurate description of your app’s core functionality. You simply can’t expect that anyone will read all your text. rather than trying to pad it out with related keywords. It’s your one chance to craft a compelling one paragraph sales pitch. rather than a quick summary of what’s new in the latest update. That said. I think your app’s images are more important than your description. In fact. A quick search on the App Store for “camera”.

and go to the appropriate pages. What’s New This is your opportunity to draw attention to the new features and fixes in the latest release of your app. The obvious advice would be to ensure these are correct. . Users aren’t going to read a technical.32 The App Store The copy used here is simple. One to your company or product website. Write concisely. People choose apps based on their visual appeal. Links iTunes only shows three prominent links in your app listing. We’ll be offering plenty of tips on how to design bold. and the icon is your only piece of graphical branding visible in search results. and so avoid receiving negative reviews and bad publicity. Icon Your application icon is arguably one of the most important marketing elements to get right. and one to a license agreement (shown within iTunes itself). to the point. attractive icons in Chapter 5. An easyto-use support system can ensure you’re able to help our users in a timely fashion. and makes it very clear what to expect when using the application. indepth change log of every technical alteration since the previous version. and focus on the main changes with a particular release. It’s also worth thinking carefully about support. one to a page offering support for your app.

so a selection of (up to) five screenshots is your one chance to impress users with the design and functionality of your application. This is another topic we’ll be covering in more depth in Chapter 7. Too low. and you’ll struggle to break even on development. One option is to stick with simple. Pick screenshots that clearly illustrate the main features you offer. Screenshots There’s no way to offer a video demo of software on the App Store. static images of your app: . and don’t be afraid to edit them with annotations to show what exactly is going on. and you might put off potential buyers. Too high. Take a look at some bestselling apps to see a few different examples of how you can approach them.33 Price The App Store Pricing decisions are important.

and often acts as a huge influence upon potential buyers – your rating and reviews: .34 The App Store Another is to incorporate more than one screenshot to show more functionality: Rating The final element of your App Store listing is one that you have little to no control over.

do everyone a favour and don’t bother. high quality application. all the time. and bump up their rating artificially. and something that you need to get right in order to persuade iPhone users to pay for your application.35 The App Store The best way to earn a good rating is to create a bug-free. The notion of App Store ratings can be a challenging one. While it’s no doubt possible to an extent. it’s a sign that you need to go back and take another look at why people are struggling to use (or not enjoying) your software. Devin Ross isn’t quite sure just how important ratings are in the big picture: Ratings certainly have some role in whether customers will purchase the application. post fake reviews. . and ensure that time is dedicated to offering support and assistance to users (however frustrating they may be!) Obviously this becomes considerably harder as your application grows in success – it’s impossible to please everyone. That said. Who knows if the majority of customers even read the description or just look at the screenshots. There have been various examples of people trying to game the system. How much is hard to tell. If you find that your application is receiving a high proportion of negative reviews.

Application bugs are obvious reasons for getting lower ratings too. If they know what the application does before they purchase it.36 The App Store A few things developers can do to get higher ratings is to educate customers better before and even after they purchase the application. 43% found them “a little important”. test. you’ll more likely meet their expectations. or never used them. Dealing with Crashes. How Important Are Ratings? We asked our readers how important ratings are when deciding whether to purchase an application. Errors. because customers are more likely to inform themselves of the product before purchasing. and only 9% of people either said they were “not very important”. crash-prone application is obvious. then promoting it through official channels – blogs. Test. A higher price can mean higher reviews too. and Bugs The first way to avoid a buggy. Make the most of Apple’s “ad hoc” distribution network to gather . word of mouth – is far better than investing all your energy into a perfect rating. If you truly believe that your application is good enough to succeed and sell well. and you’ll reap the benefits in the form of positive ratings and reviews. It turns out that they are fairly important! 48% of people classed them as “very important”. offer a great level of support. competitions. test. Treat your customers incredibly well.

That nature of the App Store means that it takes time to fix bugs. 34 . crucially. How Often Do Users Update? In our iPhone user survey. but even with that considered. report back to you). file an update. and 16% just once per week. This is undoubtedly skewed by our “iPhone enthusiast” reader base.37 The App Store a group of beta testers who are happy to push your app to the limit (and. it’s interesting to note that over a quarter of your users might not install your crucial update for over a week! Less than once per week (11%) Once per week (16%) Every day (34%) A few times per week (39%) Chart 1 P. and wait for approval. a user still needs to login and download the update you’ve provided. 40% complete the process a few times per week. Even after that process has completed. we found that 34% of users update their iPhone apps to the latest version every day.

as errors that are not your fault may be attributed to your application. This is always a risk. when your application deals with other companies’ APIs. you may find yourself dependent on the uptime and stability of another web application to keep your users happy. it can make things difficult. . which I was aware of and working on (or which I couldn’t do anything about at the moment). After a while. People don’t realize (or willfully ignore) how Ego works and when something happens with a 3rdparty. Garrett Murray implemented a fascinating new feature called the “System Status Indicator” in a recent release of Ego. there will inevitably be problems you cannot control. I can’t protect against those issues. Google changes their API. and give it negative reviews and ratings. to notify people when a problem beyond his control was occurring: The biggest hurdle with Ego is that it relies on 3rdparty services. so that users felt less abandoned if something went wrong.38 The App Store If your application relies on third party services. and when they happen I can’t fix them immediately due to how the App Store approval system works. It takes at least a week to get a new version released just in approvals alone. Often. Twitter has an outage. The system status indicator was a way for me to more easily report issues to users. et cetera. it becomes a support nightmare.

I absolutely love that I can tell someone about my app and they can do a quick search for it and have it installed in a minute or two. and it can make supporting and promoting your application far easier. The Benefits Despite many people complaining about the constraints and challenges of working within the App Store. letting them know about problems beyond your control. That process was an incredible step forward from apps on previous mobile platforms. The possibility of featuring your app within an active ecosystem of users and developers is very appealing. People were immediately gracious about the feature via Twitter because they suddenly knew what was happening and when it would be fixed. You have a method to communicate with users.0. Let’s explore a few of these benefits further: A Single Point of Distribution Dave Verwer is clear on what he sees as the main advantage of the App Store for developers: The main benefit of the native App Store is the complete ease of distribution. Although implementing something along these lines will certainly take a little longer to develop.39 The App Store In fact. I ended up having to use it only a few days after it was released in Ego 2. there’s no doubt that it brings a whole range of benefits. . it’s a great safeguard.

let’s face it. Garrett Murray also appreciates the infrastructure of the App Store: The App Store created an entire market overnight. before the iPhone the urge to do so was much lower). and promoting it through the App Store. and people know exactly where they’ll be taken after clicking it. You submit your app. Developers seem to have widely accepted this as a fair rate – and rightly so. you had to deal with carriers and other nonsense. Dave Howell feels that this is the major benefit of working with the App Store: . you receive 70% of the selling price of your application. if you wanted to sell applications for mobile phones (and. This has become the universal indicator that your app is available through Apple’s marketplace. handling payment. The other 30% cut is taken by Apple in exchange for hosting and distributing your application. you get paid.40 The App Store takes away any ambiguity of where and how to download your application. the user knows that the process for any other software will be exactly the same. A Fair Commission Rate As a developer. The App Store One way you can help to make this even more obvious is by including an “Available on the App Store” graphic on your application website. The App Store is a fantastic infrastructure for getting your application out to users. In the past. it’s fast and you don’t have to deal with any of the payment nonsense. After purchasing their first app. it sells.

some testing.11 Apple recently showcased a handful of apps that had resized their display controls for the “Retina Display” and implemented iOS 4 features early. Apple takes on a lot. For only 30%. no more than traditional software distribution margins. international administrative overhead. localized sales in over ninety countries. Garrett Murray had a little insight to share into how important this promotion can be: 11 http://daringfireball. One great way to help increase your chances of being featured is to integrate new software API features as soon as they become available. returns. direct deposit. Japanese withholding. and a shopping storefront. having your app featured on the iTunes homepage (or in some cases. the primary advantage of Apple’s App Store is that people actually buy apps in it! Five billion of them so far. including: credit card transactions.net/linked/2010/06/25/ios-4-gallery . import duties. in TV advertising campaigns) can be a great boost for sales. With such a large audience of users. downloads. Free Promotion Another benefit of the App Store is the possibility of free promotion from Apple. As a software developer. Having all this managed centrally takes away an unnecessary burden. no doubt boosting their sales to owners of the latest iPhone. And compared to other mobile app marketplaces.41 The App Store The App Store removes all of the transactional costs of selling software to consumers. VAT. the last thing you’ll likely want to do after perfecting your application is to start working on a payment and licensing system. for a reasonable cost.

The Challenges There are. I think if I had been featured after international or 3G release. considering Ego is a very niche application and during the time it was featured the only iPad available was the non-3G US-only version. it would have been even higher. But when Apple features you. as having a strong knowledge of the difficulties you may face will allow you to tackle them head on.42 The App Store Ego was recently featured in the “What’s Hot” section of iTunes. It’s best to be aware of these at the outset. During the week it was featured I sold about four times as many copies each day. . challenges when working within a large. That’s not too bad. closed ecosystem such as the App Store. you take what you can get. of course.

one of the main criticisms often leveraged towards the App Store centers around the approval process. your chance of survival is slim. There’s no one way to do this. All these come together to produce an application that people download.43 Standing Out from the Crowd The App Store As you’d expect. good ratings at the outset. It’s a combination of a great idea. Frustrating Approval Process As we mentioned previously. With so many apps released each week. but the vast majority are approved with no issues at all. along with what you need to do to fix the problem. however. Dave Verwer. Bjango echo this as the main difficulty they find when working with the App Store: The main challenge would have to be visibility. an attractive interface and icon. and remains. visible amongst thousands of others. talk about. and igniting wordof-mouth promotion. If your application is rejected. If you’re not charting or being talked about. and rejections usually happen for justifiable reasons. Apple explains what they are. it’s difficult to ensure your app has time in the spotlight. it is very rarely a terminal situation. Apple recently gave some statistics on this and the most common reasons for rejection are: . It’s no secret that there are hundreds of thousands of apps on the store. feels that much of this is hype. and the problem isn’t as rife as you may think: There have been a handful of ridiculous decisions made by Apple with apps being unfairly rejected. one of the main challenges is how to ensure your app becomes. and gradually push up through Apple’s rankings.

the developer of Broadersheet. Do beta test your applications before submitting to Apple. Common problems here include things like not testing the application without an internet connection.44 The App Store 1. Tracking How People Use Your App Lee Mallabone. On the . This is really easy to avoid. Your application uses private APIs. just in case. 3. private APIs can be removed and worked around using standard functionality. Your application crashes! This sounds really obvious. Be as accurate as possible here and do not make your app sound like it can do more than it actually does. there are now tools built into Xcode that will do a preliminary check for them before submission to Apple. 2. Crashing bugs can (and should!) be fixed. It is fairly difficult to use these APIs by accident but. Apple can easily check for these APIs and will reject your app for using them. While the private functionality may be very tempting to use during development. but is one of the top reasons for app rejection. and not testing with access to location services being denied by the system settings app. Your application doesn’t work as advertised. When submitting an app to the store you are asked to describe what the app does for the iTunes store listing. and your application description can be easily edited to be accurate. None of these are actually going to be a permanent barrier to your application approval. believes that the biggest challenge on the App Store centres around tracking app usage.

Many of the best tricks for online marketing are hard to achieve with the App Store as you can’t add your own tracking code to pages.45 The App Store web. the popular website statistic tool.12 This is certainly worth doing if you think it will provide valuable feedback.com/mobile/analytics/docs/. 12 http://code. Apple recently took a hard line on a few companies that inserted tracking code into various applications to monitor usage. You can’t know for certain what people are searching for. Not so on the App Store: The biggest challenge is probably the way that the store’s closed nature acts as a black box when it comes to marketing analytics.google. so you have to make your best guesses for the first release and gradually refine your app’s keywords and listing over time. this is an incredibly simple task with various services offering in-depth analysis. and you have no data relating to how many people have looked at your app’s page. and Apple moved to block this with a change to their terms and conditions. offers a set of APIs that you can integrate into your iPhone application. you don’t see referrers. . Google Analytics. A few solutions are available if you’re willing to take the time to integrate them. They were collecting user information without consent.

4 .

outsource the development to another company. it’s worth hearing what our experienced developers have to say on the matter . the aim of this book isn’t to make you a technical coding wizard overnight. Whether or not you’re a programming guru. or choose to bypass the App Store altogether and launch a web application that’s viewable through Mobile Safari (the iPhone’s web browser). books and websites for learning Cocoa Touch / Objective C and understanding the process of programming for the iPhone (we cover plenty of them in the last chapter). There are countless other resources. You can program and develop the application yourself. you have three routes to consider when launching your application.the choice isn’t as clear-cut as you may think! .MAKING A DEVELOPMENT DECISION As I mentioned in the introduction. Before you dismiss any of these.

Many developers have become accustomed to sacrificing performance for easierto-use APIs. but nothing exceptionally steep. There are a few differences in the iPhone SDK that take some time to get acquainted with. As powerful as the iPhone is. We asked him whether the expansion into iPhone development was a steep learning curve. If you’ve never heard of Cocoa. it’s about ten years behind modern desktop machines in terms of processing power and available memory. The worst case scenario would be to struggle through a frustrating development process for six months. making the transition to iPhone development is likely to be a very pleasant experience. but good optimization matters much more on mobile platforms. and feel uncomfortable with the acronym “API”. or something that seemed fairly straight-forward? Starting development for the iPhone with Cocoa Touch felt right at home. Coming from a desktop world.48 Making a Development Decision Developing Your Own Native App Let’s start by clarifying that this option isn’t for everyone. only to launch with a bugridden piece of software. I think the biggest overall challenge is learning to fine tune your app for a device with significantly less resources and horsepower than a Mac or PC. don’t know what Object-Oriented Programming is. If you do have a basic understanding of programming. The best case scenario would be that you’d invest a week of time into understanding how iPhone development works. developing your own iPhone application would probably be a bad decision. . Dustin MacDonald has been developing using Cocoa for over seven years. before giving up and hiring a developer.

and he agreed that the experience can be a fairly straight-forward if you’re used to developing for the desktop: The basics of moving from Mac development to iPhone are very easy. Play to your strengths – if you’re brilliant at designing in Photoshop. performance will be a huge consideration. we all had a very steep learning curve. Even better. craft a beautiful interface and hire a developer to implement it. or anything similar. If not. What was not so easy at the outset was finding documentation on iPhone specific subjects. a significant amount of my code just worked without any changes when I took it to the iPhone platform. . because noone really knew how everything was supposed to work. then you are going to have a head start learning your way around Objective C and the iPhone SDK. consider focusing on promotion and contracting out the whole process of app development. object-oriented language like C#. this option could well be very straight-forward. Ruby. During the first few months after the initial SDK release. Really if you have experience with any modern. Python. I also asked Dave Verwer about this transition. as – the documentation and tools are now excellent and getting better all the time. Everything I had learned about Mac development made iPhone development seem very familiar. This was not helped by the tools having a few bugs in them! Luckily that has completely changed over the last two years.49 Making a Development Decision This is an important consideration. If you’re a marketing whizz. Java. it’s going to be a steep learning curve. and if you do decide to develop your own application. The main lesson to take away is that if you already have experience programming.


Making a Development Decision

Is Developing an iPhone App Going to be Fun? This depends upon how much you love development, and how passionate you are about your idea. That said, a huge 75% of the developers we surveyed said that iPhone development was more fun than their previous job. It certainly looks promising!

If you do decide to develop a native application, there are several advantages to be realised over a web app. I asked Dave Verwer about how a native app excels over a web app: It all comes down to look and feel, really. Using the native user interface elements is going to make your app feel much more like the standard apps that come with the phone. This is important because consistency is going to help people know instinctively how to use your application. They have already been trained by using all of the standard apps that came with the phone. There are web frameworks that emulate the standard iPhone user interfaces in HTML and CSS such as Phone Gap or jQuery Touch. I approach these with caution. They are generally very good, but they are unfortunately unable to get all of the details right in terms of the standard user interactions expected of apps. Where embedded WebKit and HTML5/CSS really shine in iPhone applications is within the content areas inside a native application. Using the standard iPhone controls from the iPhone SDK for navigation and combining this with an embedded browser for the content area can often be a good compromise between native and web apps.

How Long Does it Take?

Making a Development Decision

Our developer survey asked people how long it typically takes them to develop an application. The results were varied, but most respondents said that it takes between 100 and 250 hours:
1,000+ (4%) Less than 100 (19%)

500–1,000 (9%)

250–500 (22%)

100–250 (46%)

Chart 1 P. 46

Whichever approach you take to development – but particularly if you develop an application yourself – testing is vitally important. You need to take the time to iron out bugs and perfect functionality before publishing your software. Dave Howell from Avatron offered a little insight into how they approach this process: We employ your garden-variety development cycle. As three of our employees are ex-Apple, we borrow some best practices from Cupertino. We have a full-time quality assurance manager, a tester, occasional interns, and an army of external beta testers.


Making a Development Decision

We rely heavily on source code control and bug database tools to manage our tasks. Our full-time tech support technician runs our external beta program. And of course our engineers do a lot of testing before submitting code changes. Near a release, we implement code reviews. For our beta testers, we seek a mix of technically adept power users as well as smart novices. If you have the expertise to develop your own application, go for it. You’ll save a great deal on development costs, and have invaluable knowledge about how your application is put together. If the thought of opening up Xcode makes your stomach churn, don’t worry. You can still enjoy the benefits of a native application without any programming knowledge whatsoever.

Hiring a Developer
The second route is to hire your own developer. There are plenty of incredibly talented programmers out there who could do a fantastic job of taking your idea, sketches, and graphical mockups and turning them into a finished application. You’ll need to gradually build up a good working relationship with a developer. You could look at this process as a one-off transaction, but in reality you’ll want to continue working with the same person in the future for feature additions, upgrades, and bug fixes. Spend time getting to know the work and personality of a developer before embarking on a new project. I asked Dave Verwer for the advice he would give to people looking to hire a developer for their app: The best advice I can give here is to put as much thought as possible into what your app will do and how it might do it before asking a developer for a quote. When a developer considers a new

You don’t need to have a degree in art to do this – just a pencil and some imagination. If I could split the ideal preparation for planning an iPhone project into a couple of key points. As you draw the screens. as there are quick ways for developers to implement standardised user interfaces within an app. User interface consistency is very important across the iPhone platform and being familiar with the standard conventions and behaviours that are used by other apps will let you think in the correct terms. or they will underestimate the effort and subsequently find themselves trying to squeeze your development into an unrealistic deadline. Also look at some of your favourite other apps – not specifically with the same or similar functionality to the app you are intending to build – but just think about software that you enjoy using and get inspired by how it works.53 Making a Development Decision app from a client. ambiguity in the description of what the app needs to do makes the estimation process much more difficult. Sometimes the developer will add on time (and therefore budget) for the inevitable unseen features and problems that will be uncovered. Using these standard behaviours is also a great way to get a vast amount of functionality for free. . Draw and Prototype The second step is to start to plan out your app on paper. place them in order on the table and start to think about how the user will navigate through your application. Just start drawing out screens on separate pieces of paper and laying them out on a large table. The best way to avoid problems like these is to remove ambiguity from the outset. I would suggest the following: Become Familiar with the iPhone The first step towards designing a great app is to be as familiar as possible with how the iPhone itself works.

and he feels that it pushed the application into a different league: I had Attic at a point where I could have released it to customers. but putting time into thinking about how your own app might function will let you plan all the little features that don’t appear when thinking about an idea at a high level. Obviously the developer will work with you to do actual designs for the app. Take pictures of all of your pieces of paper and use them as part of the information you provide to the developer. This will lead to them being better equipped to give you a significantly more accurate (and probably cheaper) quote. I saw Taptivate had 13 http://shinydevelopment. and that there will be fewer unseen expectations or hidden features. . The key aspect to understand is that the interface comes first. and thinking about them in this way is a really useful exercise to understand user perspective. but I wasn’t happy with how everything worked.54 Making a Development Decision Also. try and fit the data that needs to be input onto a screen using an iPhone design template (mine is freely available13). but it’s the only way to ensure your vision is created exactly as you want it to be. You need to spend time and effort considering exactly how you’d like your idea to be realized on the iPhone – right down to each individual screen. Devin Ross worked alongside Taptivate when developing Attic. Even if you’re a competent developer.com/blog/iphone-screen-design-template-pdf/. there’s no reason approaching someone else for advice should be a bad thing. This might seem like a daunting task. it will give them far greater confidence that you have thought through the app. If you do these things before contacting a developer. Mobile apps are very different to web apps or desktop apps.

and well worth taking a look at. If you’re going to take the former route. any programmer can learn anything.55 Making a Development Decision a hit with Postman and Voices. Sure. one of the best websites we recommend is TheyMakeApps. They helped change the way the application functioned in a way I had imagined but never realized until they came along.14 This is a directory of different companies that design and develop iPhone apps. there are a huge range of resources to help you find the right person. This could be a particularly good idea if the process is completely new to you. There are two general approaches to take: (1) look for developers already advertising their services. but the Highrise app was separate enough that we could source it out and get it done. 37signals worked with Overcommitted on the development of a companion iPhone app for their Highrise web application: Our core competency is building web applications. Building Objective-C powered iPhone apps is a different ballgame. fully sortable by location. fee. or (2) post up an advertisement for your job. and let developers apply. We still had our design team specify what we wanted and how it should work. so it made sense to reach out to them to see what they could bring to the table in any regard. The same can be true if you’re a developer with experience in a certain language that’s unrelated to iPhone development. Despite being a software company themselves. and numerous other factors. If you do decide to go ahead and hire someone to develop your application for you. This type of collaboration can work well if you’re happy to bring in some advice and expertise from other people who have succeeded on the App Store. 14 http://theymakeapps.com. . It’s a simple website to navigate.

com/categories/6/jobs 37signals have a dedicated section for posting iPhone developer jobs.com With 2. Listings you post are also shared via their iPhone app.jobcoin.com There are always quite a few jobs on offer at GetAppsDone. Some are free. .56 Making a Development Decision For the latter route. CocoaDev cocoadev.000 unique visitors a day and adverts priced at just $99 for 30 days. GetAppsDone GetAppsDone. there are a number of different job boards where you can post a position.37signals. and others charge you to list the project: 37signals Job Board jobs. It currently costs $300 for a 30 day advert. you can reach a large number of developers for a small payment.

000 for their application development. eLance elance. Used by developers across the world. These people are obviously doing everything themselves – interface design. Relatively few people paid upwards of $10.com Similar to eLance.com/jobs Making a Development Decision The Unofficial Apple Weblog have their own job board.org Although derided by many. and also helps you manage the project as it goes along. with both iPhone and Mac OS X development jobs. development. Guru is another widely used place to find a freelancer. Guru guru. .com A marketplace for finding a freelancer to work on the development of your project. the total cost was centered around the lower end. Craigslist is still a valuable resource for those looking to find work and is a great place to post adverts.57 TUAW tuaw. and promotion. For those that pay for their app development. eLance is a cost effective way to source a developer. How Much Does it Cost? When asked how much it costs to develop an iPhone application. Craigslist craigslist. many respondents noted that it’s simply an investment of time.

and runs in the iPhone’s Mobile Safari browser. It’s clear that you have a choice of approaching development in a thrifty fashion. or investing more into a better polished and functional application.000 – $50.000 – $25. is not distributed through the App Store.000 – $5.58 cont’d Making a Development Decision Series 1 $50. Developing a Web Application The third and final option is to develop a web application – an app that is hosted on the internet.000 $10.000+ $25. 53 15 20 25 Because our survey was targeted at developers.000 $500 – $1. .000 $1. we expected to see that many people would be able to produce iPhone apps for a relatively low cost – investing only their own time.000 $1 – $500 Just my own time 0 5 10 Series 1 Chart 1 P.000 – $10.000 $5.

Although the iPhone has a built-in Mail client. the biggest gain is just that it’s a web app. and be available to a rapidly-growing majority of mobile traffic. This makes it far easier than you may expect to create a web application that looks and feels great on the iPhone. but it could be a great option for some projects. barring most games. There’s a massive range of web developers out there which can help in finding talent and getting a job done quickly and inexpensively. HTML/CSS/Javascript is a more common skill-set than Objective-C is. Lastly. There are a variety of benefits that go along with doing so. David Kaneda offered some insight into the circumstances when a web application can be more suitable than creating a native app for the iPhone: A great deal of the apps currently on the App Store could be recreated using web technology. It’s also possible to save a web page to your home screen. which I believe will be the largest rival to the iPhone for near future. like the ability to also serve your app on Android. If you choose to host it. and access it as you would a normal application: .59 Making a Development Decision Mobile Safari is a very capable web browser. Likewise. One example of an iPhone optimized web app executed particularly well is Gmail. make live updates. you can deploy your app with no approval process. many people still prefer the web interface of Gmail and its custom interface. You’ll never quite recreate the responsiveness of a native app. supporting an array of emerging web technologies such as CSS3 and HTML5.

and 42% of people didn’t have one at all. Awareness (at least among our readers) seemed high. Do People Use Web Apps? Although the iPhone is perfectly capable of running web apps to an almost-native standard.com/webapps/. how many users actually use this functionality? We found that 34% of people questioned had more than one web app on their home screen. 21% had just one. .60 Making a Development Decision It’s worth mentioning that Apple maintain a regularly updated directory15 of iPhone optimized web applications that can provide plenty of inspiration for ideas and techniques. with only 4% of people answering “What’s a Web App?” 15 http://www.apple.

com. . David Kaneda highlights a number of other inherent difficulties in making your app with web technology: One big one is monetization: Web app developers need to wrap their app in something like PhoneGap16 to get on the App Store. so the user feels that they’re actually using a local application. 56 Obviously the main hurdle to overcome when taking this approach is your application interface. The goal is usually to mimic the iPhone’s native interface as closely as possible.61 cont’d Making a Development Decision What's a web app? (4%) Yes – More than one (33%) No (42%) Yes – Just one (21%) Chart 1 P.phonegap. 16 http://www. or create an entire payment system within their app.

more robust touch events. But Apple has a limited team and they do make great strides with the browser on a regular basis. offline storage.62 Making a Development Decision Another big stumbling point in web technology is the unavailability of cross-domain requests. .com/yql/. It’s easy to get the impression that Apple doesn’t value web apps as highly as they do native software on the App Store. It’s worth re-iterating the downside of this development approach: your application is not listed in the App Store. There are lots of features I’d love to see in Mobile Safari: accelerometer access. and Apple does not handle the payment processing and distribution for you. it’s quite impressive what is possible with web technology. 3D animations. as it brings them revenue. Developers are forced to either stick with JSON-based web services. This is doing great things to move the web forward altogether. beyond some of these stumbling points. with a lot of emphasis on HTML5/ CSS3. camera or contacts access etc. they’ve been forced to put a renewed interest in the web standards recently. At any rate. or again. That said. This is a fairly important 17 http://developer. they obviously put more marketing focus behind native app development. David feels that this isn’t necessarily the case: I think Apple has done a great job guiding WebKit and also creating the most powerful mobile browser in the world. as it is providing one of their key arguments against allowing Flash on the iPhone. providing a robust tool for making JSON requests to normally REST/XML-based APIs. wrap their app in something like PhoneGap. and cross-device compatibility.yahoo. YQL17 also provides a fantastic service for this. Luckily.

A number of different Javascript libraries have sprung up for helping with the development of web applications. the JQuery plugin for mobile web development. for instance). this approach could be a good one.com As David highlighted.google. as it would be difficult – if not impossible – to reach the profitability and popularity of some of the bestselling App Store software. PhoneGap is also an excellent solution for turning your web application easily into a native app. iUI code. For targeting new users. PhoneGap phonegap. it’s likely to be a greater challenge than the native route.com/iphone An ingenious bookmarklet from Manifest Interactive helping you to build and debug iPhone websites.com/p/iui iUI is a Javascript and CSS framework for creating web apps which look and act like standard iPhone apps. .com Spice up your iPhone websites using JQTouch. and they are worth taking a look at for help when putting together your application front-end: JQTouch jqtouch.63 Making a Development Decision factor to consider. iPhone Web Developer Toolbar manifestinteractive. If you want to create an application for an existing user base (if you already run a successful web application.

png"/> • The first of these removes the standard Safari navigation bar. Nettuts+ published an article18 that offers a great insight into this. and ensure that everything is well optimized for a touch interface. This will have Apple’s glossy overlay placed on top of it. but if you’d prefer for this not to happen. These needn’t be present if you’re designing a web app that has its own set of controls for navigating around. and the controls that are usually present across the top of the window. 18 http://net.tutsplus. It’s simply a case of including the following three declarations in your HTML page. and is well worth taking the time to read.64 Making a Development Decision Quick Guide: Creating an iPhone Optimized Site Although we aren’t delving too deeply into development in this book. The second prevents the user from being able to zoom and scale the interface – usually the case in websites – which makes the page feel far more like a native application. userscalable=no"> <link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="iphoneicon. to ensure that it will function correctly on the iPhone. The third and final declaration tells the iPhone where you’ve located an icon file that will display when the user saves the app to their home screen. you can change the name of this declaration to apple-touch-icon-precomposed. somewhere between the <head></head> tags: <meta name="apple-mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes" /> <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width. • • In addition to these. you’ll also need to consider producing a stylesheet that accommodates the iPhone’s screen size.com/tutorials/tools-and-tips/learn-how-to-develop-for-the-iphone/. I thought it would be useful to quickly go over what you need to include in a webpage. .

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.THE IMPORTANCE OF SIMPLE. a highly talented interface designer with plenty of experience to share. We’ll also be talking to Sarah Parmenter. Depending upon the type of app you’re creating. SEXY INTERFACE DESIGN As I’ve already mentioned. and there are plenty of developers to profile in this section who are doing a great job. interface design is all-important. you may have less control over the interface than you’d think. Apple exerts a surprising level of control over the style that your application should adhere to – it isn’t just a case of opening Photoshop and creating something pretty.

and move on to offer recommendations for the style of interface you should design. we asked people how important they feel each of these four characteristics is for an application to be a success. 61 19 http://bit.ly/bvPM2b. These walk you through the process of planning your application at the outset. The results speak for themselves.67 The Importance of Simple. Just How Important is Interface Design? In our developer survey. . and it’s clear to see what an enormous role interface design plays in the success of failure of your project: Perfectly Crafted App Store Listing Low Price Great Interface Design Unique Idea 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Irrelevant Not So Important Quite Important Very Important Chart 1 P. and it’s the most important guide to read before you get started thinking about your application’s interface and functionality. Sexy Interface Design Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines We’ve already dipped into the Human Interface Guidelines19 when looking at different “types” of iPhone application.

. gestures. Steve Jobs was recently questioned about handwriting recognition systems using a stylus. first and foremost.68 The Importance of Simple. while giving prominence to the task by providing standard controls and behaviors. a productivity application should keep decorative elements subtle and in the background. Apple’s guidelines also explain clearly how you should use gestures in an appropriate manner. An interface should.21 His response? “If you need a stylus you have already failed. Gorgeous interface design supports this process. Your application is designed to serve a purpose and help the user complete a task. When placing focus upon “sexy interface design”. accessibility. Sexy Interface Design You’ll learn about the use of metaphors. and users expect a beautiful appearance that promises fun and encourages discovery. For example. Although an immersive application tends to be focused on providing diversion. It’s a measure of how well the appearance of your application integrates with its function. it’s incredibly important not to make the interface design itself the end goal.” Apple are strongly committed to the idea of a user’s finger being the only pointing device they need: 20 21 http://bit. direct manipulation. its appearance still needs to integrate with the task. http://d8. An immersive application is at the other end of the spectrum.ly/ckTjGS. Apple has a great explanation:20 Aesthetic integrity is not a measure of how beautiful your application is. and different elements of the iPhone user interface. One point worth highlighting relates to aesthetic integrity.allthingsd. Be sure you design the user interface elements of such an application carefully. and what this means. so that they provide an internally consistent experience.com/20100607/steve-jobs-at-d8-the-full-uncut-interview/. make this task simple and enjoyable to achieve.

Read it cover to cover. they are capable of many different movements. fingers have one major disadvantage: They are much bigger than a mouse pointer. Why Is Sexy Interface Design So Important? Let’s move on to consider why interface design is actually so important. and how can you. . and whether the extra effort paid off: With Headquarters. read it again. regardless of their size. and creates a thoroughly unique look and feel. we actually went through about three or four different designs before settling on the one you see in the app today. Sexy Interface Design There are real advantages to using fingers to operate a device: They are always available. such as a mouse.69 The Importance of Simple. When designing your interface. Apple specifies different size requirements for areas of the interface a user can tap on. In the context of a display screen. However. and they give users a sense of immediacy and connection to the device that’s impossible to achieve with an external input device. then get started. use this to your advantage? Headquarters steers clear of the standard iPhone interface elements. fingers can never be as precise as a mouse pointer. their shape. it’s important to remember this fact. I can’t overstate how useful the Human Interface Guidelines are to read through. Why are we drawn to attractive application design. as a developer. or the dexterity of their owner. I asked the developer if this involved a great deal more work than using the standard iPhone UI controls. and fully understand before you begin designing the functionality and layout of your app. and you’ll want to follow these to ensure your app is usable.

Despite these two controls being completely alien to the iPhone platform. We received a lot of great feedback on the interface – not only because it looked good. with the high level of customization we were able to integrate completely custom controls that wouldn’t stick out. the developers of The Early Edition. Sexy Interface Design In the end. Although developing these custom controls extended both our design and development cycles. Glasshouse Apps. But more importantly. Two great examples of this are the tabs on the dashboard and the custom navigation bar we use. took the approach of crafting an interface that mimicked a real-life newspaper. they fit in really nicely and they open up the ways a user can interact with the screen. but I asked Graham whether he thought it could work equally well on the iPhone: My gut feeling is that real life metaphors can work well at any size. sleek design.70 The Importance of Simple. but because people liked how the screens were laid out. This makes perfect sense on the large iPad screen. they were definitely worth the risk and the effort. . It just depends on the suitability of the object you’re alluding to and how seamlessly you can integrate it with your app. we found that the application simply looked more polished and pleasing to the eye with the dark.

They only see your user interface. Apple’s Notes application is a good example of this. Marc. realistic texture. of course. You may have a world class app backend (which is also important). from Bjango. . It’s also crucially about how it works. but the user can’t actually see that. it’s the only thing a user sees. as are the sticky notes found on the Dashboard of OS X. It could be something as obvious as the newspaper above. Sexy Interface Design Many applications use this idea of metaphor – designing something on screen that closely resembles a physical item. or it could be more subtle – a gorgeous. important to remember that “design” is far more than just how your application looks. for instance.71 The Importance of Simple. had something really interesting to say in this regard: I think a great interface and app workflow is crucial. After all. Any interface design that makes you stop and say “wow” usually uses some form of metaphor in one way or another. It is.

as well as the way it looks. Design certainly isn’t just the role of one person. Sexy Interface Design Now might be a good time to mention that we consider design to be the way something works. When we’re mocking and testing different layouts.72 The Importance of Simple. If you expect the layout to include mainly standard iPhone controls. It’s more about structure than colouring in pixels. The Interface Design Process You have a few different options available when approaching the interface design of your application. then you’ll probably be able to work on the positioning and layout of these yourself. everyone’s involved. . They go hand in hand.

you want a more customized user interface.73 The Importance of Simple. Sarah Parmenter. or what to expect when hiring an interface designer to craft your application’s UI for you. I nearly always go through a wireframe stage. I generally get sent a beta of the app to test drive and make notes on. I produce this as a Keynote presentation and design screens with notes and annotations on each document so that the client has something to either pass on to their developer or use as reference. Although this sounds expensive. as there may be tweaks and adjustments that could be made to benefit the user that the developer has not thought about. it is a choice that’s worth spending some time on. If you have experience in this area. someone fairly talented may well charge a few hundred dollars per day. Sexy Interface Design If. Though the cost of hiring an interface designer will vary depending upon the experience of the designer you hire. an interface designer could go a long way towards turning your app into a success. If not. walked us through the process she takes when designing iPhone applications. One such designer. This offers a good insight into how the process could work if you approach this task yourself. even if I haven’t been commissioned to do so. on the other hand. and carefully considering. you’ll need to think about hiring a designer. by all means explore how you could design the interface yourself. If you want your application to really stand out from the crowd but have no design experience yourself. there are plenty of great interface designers who specialize in working with iPhone developers. .

74 The Importance of Simple. Sexy Interface Design .

it can be a bigger hurdle than you’d expect. I then move these back into a Keynote document and annotate the screens again so that the client understands why things may have been designed in a certain way. There are unique challenges associated with the interfaces of mobile devices – even if you feel comfortable in Photoshop and Illustrator. Sexy Interface Design I almost always start on paper and then move into Photoshop for the actual design elements. Once I have crafted the UI.75 The Importance of Simple. I find that explaining design decisions rather than just sending them a screenshot is always a better way to communicate. Designing an iPhone interface isn’t simple. .

The latest release of the iPhone has a far higher resolution screen (960x640 pixels) at greater pixel density (326 ppl) than we’ve ever seen before on a mobile device. You may have hired an incredibly talented developer. how the interface should adjust for different orientations. this is hardly ever the case).76 The Importance of Simple. I get clients who just have an idea for the app. full wireframes and then betas of apps which need some UI help. I get sketches. Sexy Interface Design It isn’t just a case of putting together a screen full of pretty graphics. it’s vitally important that you give this stage of the process the time and investment it deserves. how large different interface elements need to be). Whether or not you choose to hire an interface designer. If you do decide to hire an interface designer. then try to do as much of the groundwork yourself and simply hire a professional as a consultant for an hour or so to check over your work and suggest any changes. but this doesn’t mean that they can also design a beautiful interface (in fact. If you are unsure of what you are doing. and on a shoestring budget. Sarah had some great tips to ensure that you approach the process as well-prepared as possible: I receive projects in all kinds of phases. the way in which different pages interconnect. This means that graphics will use more pixels for the same effective artwork size – something your interface design should take advantage of. . All of those mentioned require varying degrees of work and budget allocation. so a developer would need to be sensible when approaching a UI designer as to what their budget is and how they want to spend it. and spend time thinking about minimum hit size (and correspondingly. You also need to consider how animation and movement should display.

attractive package. Sexy Interface Design Crafting an Irresistible Icon After you’ve perfected the design. look carefully at how Apple designs interfaces and icons. Renowned icon designer Sebastiaan de With had three pieces of great advice to share on this topic: First off. you’ll need to start thinking about producing an irresistible icon. and it’s a good chance to inject some UI beauty and texture. Achieving this in a 57 square pixels is no mean feat. instantly recognizable. study them. . and clearly conveys the essence of your application’s purpose. It’s best to stick with a bold image that conveys your application’s branding. Redraw them. Apple has a few suggestions surrounding icon design that they like developers to follow:22 This is a place where branding and strong visual design should come together into a compact.ly/caLQqX. You also need to produce a 512x512 version of your app icon that Apple are able to use for promotion if they decide to. functionality and interface of your application itself. rather than trying to include text within the icon. Try to balance eye appeal and clarity of meaning in your icon so that it’s rich and beautiful. and it can be a very challenging process to get right. It’s impossible to overstate just how important your app icon is – it’s the one element of branding that appears everywhere. and learn their style and the constraints 22 http://bit. and needs to clearly convey what your application is all about.77 The Importance of Simple. This can include a greater amount of detail than the smaller app icon.

It’s such a challenge to sum up everything your app does in a single. or hire a professional from the outset: Generally. you can see how much fun you can have in those little rounded squares. Second. by all means design for yourself. Sexy Interface Design the designers imposed on themselves to make designs fit in and achieve a consistent result. let some designers take a look. go design. front and center. yet uniquely yours. Lastly. If you’re unsure of the quality of your design work. Always consider consistency with the OS. You can always hire a designer if you feel the need. Although that’s advice that we haven’t taken ourselves. What can you remove? Even more? Take it down to the basics and then some. I think my only tip would be to find someone who’s a great icon designer and pay them to do it for you. This sentiment is echoed by Bjango. have some fun. A gold star if you chose a concept that was delightfully simple and appropriate in your first swing at the icon. it can be the difference between ending up on some screen or on the home screen. If you make sure your design is simple and feels ‘native’ to the iPhone or iPad. memorable and beautiful symbol. But don’t take that from the designer guy. Something that is focused. descriptive. If you’re capable and can be brutally honest in judging your own product.78 The Importance of Simple. . who has a distinctive style across all their application icons: I find designing app icons difficult. Done? Start taking stuff out. Steal that spot. and it’s fun to dive in and see what those are! Sebastiaan also had a few tips regarding whether it’s a good idea to attempt icon design yourself. There are a billion possibilities. it’s a good idea to hire a designer.

and you’ll need to provide various resolutions for their different devices (iPhone. a recognizable silhouette and something that works very well at small sizes. Make sure you fine tune for all sizes. These are outlined in the following table:23 Apple’s Icon Size Requirements Description Application icon (required) Size for iPhone and iPod touch (in pixels) 57x57 114x114 (high resolution) 512x512 29x29 58x58 (high resolution) 512x512 50x50 for Spotlight 29x29 for Settings Size for iPad (in pixels) 72x72 App Store icon (required) Small icon for Spotlight search results and Settings (recommended) 23 http://bit. Apple specifies a number of different required sizes for icons.ly/c4f64Y. and the high resolution iPhone 4).79 The Importance of Simple. You’ll definitely need to fix and tweak your final 57x57 pixel (iPhone) or 72x72 pixel (iPad) home screen design. too. then you will probably want to ensure you have a prominent colour. Sexy Interface Design If you really have to design your icon yourself. iPad. but also plenty of detail when the icon is shown large. .

.80 The Importance of Simple. Interfaces and Icons In this short section. Sexy Interface Design Document icon (recommended for custom document types) Web Clip icon (recommended for web applications and websites) Toolbar and Navigation bar icon (optional) Tab bar icon (optional) 22x29 44x58 (high resolution) 57x57 114x114 (high resolution) Approximately 20x20 Approximately 40x40 (high resolution) Approximately 30x30 Approximately 60x60 (high resolution) 320x480 640x960 (high resolution) 64x64 320x320 72x72 Approximately 20x20 Approximately 30x30 Launch image (required) Both 768x1004 (portrait) and 1024x748 (landscape) Design Kits. Some of these are pre-built templates that you can use in Photoshop or Illustrator. sliders and graphics you need to quickly create mockups of your apps.com/blog/2009/06/18/iphone-gui-psd-30/ This brilliant Photoshop GUI kit comes with all the different types of buttons. others are great tools that can help with wireframing and getting your ideas down on paper! iPhone GUI Design teehanlax. we’re going to share a series of links and resources to assist with your own interface design.

looks great. Plenty of room to jot notes and wireframe in style. iPhone Application Sketch Book amazon. Simply drop your flat image into the kit and it layers the shine over the top. Sexy Interface Design iPhone PSD Vector Kit smashingmagazine. iPhone Stencil Kit uistencils. iPhone Sticky Pad uistencils.blogspot. These sketchbooks come in various different styles and sizes for different devices.com/2008/10/iphone-icon-shine-kit.81 The Importance of Simple. You can then stick your designs around the office and create flowcharts of your apps.com Quickly put your iPhone and iPad app designs on paper.com/products/iphone-stencil-kit A brilliant little stencil with all the major buttons and shapes you will need to create quick and sharp mockups of your iPhone apps.html Easily recreate the glossy icon shine using this clever kit. .com/products/iphone-sticky-pad Design your iPhone apps on this sticky pad that ties in with the above stencil. Icon ‘Shine’ Kit notlost.com/2008/11/26/iphone-psd-vector-kit/ Smashing Magazine brings a much simpler iPhone GUI for those of you focusing on straightforward applications. App Sketchbook appsketchbook. Saves time. this book provides 150 templates at 1.com/gp/product/1430228237 For those of you who prefer to sketch out your applications.5x zoom.

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Even if you have a huge. They suggest that you should launch an application with minimal features. Determine the bare minimum of what a user would be satisfied with. and then work on the basis that the most oft-requested features should probably be included. It’s easy to add new features as they’re requested. Apple actually advises this approach in their developer guidelines. . but execute it phenomenally well. grandiose idea for your application.LEARNING TO KEEP IT SIMPLE AND ITERATE Most successful apps tend to approach a fairly simple concept. and consider producing just that. This cuts down on development costs and ensures people understand clearly what the core functionality of your application is. beginning with a basic feature set is certainly the best place to get started. but you’ll encounter far more resistance if you try to remove something that a few dedicated users have become accustomed to having available.

rather than a half-assed product – is a good way to develop. especially when building upon an API: When creating larger. it’s always important to remain focused on adding value. Select Start Studios completely understand the importance of starting simple. 24 This turned out to be “Sketch”. and feel it’s particularly important when developing for a mobile device: The Highrise application we built for the iPhone omits a fair amount of stuff. you just don’t have the patience for complexity. a straightforward sketching/drawing app for the iPad: http://37signals. It allows users to make posts. your apps or any of the extra stuff that Facebook has added over the years. It’s easy to throw in a ton of little cool features. They took this approach when developing their iPhone application for Highrise. I think if anything. but it’s my personal belief that if there are features that are not helping the users accomplish their primary task then these features are in the way. . see other posts. it’s very limited in comparison to their website yet it’s a fantastic application.84 Learning to Keep it Simple and Iterate Iteration in Action This iterative process has been used by many of the most successful applications in the App Store. so that we could wrap it up and get it out quickly. When you have three minutes of downtime to do something with your phone.com/draft. 37signals’ philosophy seems to be that keeping a product simple at launch – building half a product. upload photos and a few other small things. it focuses on what’s important to the platform and it does it remarkably well. more complex applications. If you look at Facebook’s iPhone application. It doesn’t let you access your games. We’re working on another app at the moment that’ll go even simpler still24. it’s even more true on a mobile device that the app has to be simple.

Most successful projects focus on one simple task. release early. With Ego. when launching Ego. Mint 2 and Twitter). my initial focus was to cover the few services I wanted right off the bat (FeedBurner. Apple states that “an app must solve a user’s problem clearly and elegantly.85 Learning to Keep it Simple and Iterate In a similar vein. I built the core app with growth in mind so it would be easy to add new services down the road. The App Store is full of examples where this process has worked for a developer. FOWD London 2010) . I started with three. He’s gradually increased the scope of the application over time: There’s definitely a benefit to starting simple. This is especially the case when you take into account the volatility of the App Store – it’s much better to get a product to market and to add functionality than to sit on it for a year without a release. You’re not making any money if there’s no product out there earning income. which is exactly what I’ve been doing over the last year. Garrett Murray started out by only offering statistics for a handful of web applications and services. release often. Apple (via Sarah Parmenter. As the old adage goes.”25 Stripping away all the unnecessary clutter is the absolute best way to achieve this. now Ego supports eight. helping the user complete it as easily as possible. And there are several more to come over the next few months. 25 Eric Hope – User Experience Evangelist.

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and have equal success aiming for a high price as compared to a lower price. the App Store has given developers the option of many different pricing models. and can be very difficult to nail the first time around. we’ll investigate which choice might be right for you. Just take a look at Apple’s “Top Grossing” list. Fortunately.PRICING YOUR APP RIGHT Pricing is a tricky concept. don’t be afraid to charge more than a couple of dollars – people will happily pay. If you believe that your application offers enough value. and many examples exist that show this approach works. Different companies take wildly different approaches to pricing their apps. In this chapter. . each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Although Apple handles downloads. it’s important to understand Apple’s revenue breakdown clearly. and plan carefully so you aren’t left with a huge hosting or bandwidth bill. it’s important to consider what the ongoing costs will be of running your app. and Apple takes a 30% cut in exchange for handling downloads. so will the demand placed upon the hardware that you maintain yourself. Apple pays you on a monthly basis. payment processing. and distributing your app. you may need to maintain a server that is capable of powering any community features you implement. bandwidth. you’re getting into the App Store business to make money. Before you pick a pricing model.88 Pricing Your App Right Breaking Down Your Revenue In all likelihood. With this in mind. so be prepared to wait a little while before the revenue from your sales reaches your bank account. As your application grows in popularity. the way that revenue sharing works means that you receive 70% of all sales of your app. Whether this is through direct sales of your app or advertising – the motive is usually the same. For those of you considering the web app route. or decide to give away your application for free.. etc. it’s worth mentioning that the process of deciding how to price and sell your app can be difficult. Even if this is just a simple database. As I’ve mentioned before. David Kaneda had the following to say: . credit card processing. You’ll also need to generate at least $250 worth of sales before Apple will release a payment. Be sure to factor this in. several thousand simultaneous users is still going to pose a problem.

89 Pricing Your App Right Pricing is a universal challenge. It really is the best of both worlds. Charge for your application outright One of the predominant models on the App Store is to utilize both of these options – offer a free version of your application. and an ad-free commercial version with additional features. Most web app developers are currently using PhoneGap to get their web apps sold in the App Store — they could obviously create an entire repeatable payment system to go along with their app (as most desktop web app makers do). Twitterrific is great. The Pricing Dilemma Broadly speaking. Those who do. Many people don’t have any problem with viewing advertisements and for them. This is the iPhone equivalent of a “freemium” model – giving away a certain level of functionality for free and tempting users to pay for the full . to web and native alike. or who want to directly support our development efforts. Give your app away for free and generate revenue from advertising or inapp upgrades 2. can purchase the adfree version. there are two options available to you when deciding how to generate revenue from the App Store: 1. This approach is taken by The Iconfactory with Twitteriffic: We took this approach because we wanted to get Twitterrific into as many people’s hands as we could. but I’m not sure how comfortable people are with mobile web app subscriptions quite yet. and still get some return on our investment.

In this respect. Giving away one level lets people get a feel of how the game works.90 Pricing Your App Right experience. for instance. at $4.com/archives/average_price_for_iphone_apps_keeps_falling. but particularly well for games. Wallet. pricing becomes something of a marketing technique to persuade people to “try before they buy”. .50 in North America. is priced slightly higher than the “baseline” standard for iPhone apps which is which is around $2. This goes some way towards showing the power of this marketing method. and only 4% “usually just purchase” the full version.readwriteweb. 44% sometimes try before they buy. It works in all manner of different niches. If you’re confident enough that a free trial of your application is the best way to persuade users to buy.php. It’s important to understand that price alone doesn’t need to be the key motivator to persuade people to buy. 52% always download the freebie. and draws them in to purchase the full application to play further.26 26 http://www. you should go for it. Do Users Download Trials? We asked our readers whether they download these free application “trials” before purchasing the full version.99.

For them.99+ Mid-Price $1.99-$4.99 . Here’s a general idea of how you could think about these factors affecting price: App Used Rarely Older / Professional User Young / Casual User Mid-Priced $1.99-$4. That being said. They’re happy to be able to buy an app that lets them sync over and access all of their important data on their phone – something they’re likely to use every day. and whether people are happy to pay more for higher quality applications: Pricing really depends on what your app does and who you’re trying to reach. With Wallet.91 Pricing Your App Right I asked the developer what their main considerations are when deciding on a price. I think most reasonable people are willing to spend a little more for a higher quality application if it’s something they’re going to use a lot. If the price tag is higher than $10. Of course.99-$1. The trick is to ensure you charge a price that considers both the functionality of your application. people have also become accustomed to fairly low-priced apps in the App Store. they might not even take a look. the type of person using it.99 Low Price $0. price isn’t too much of a concern. We didn’t want to scare these people away. and how often they will use it. our biggest immediate audience is those who use the Mac version of the software. In general. so it was important to still price Wallet competitively with other standalone apps. there are also a significant number of people who buy Wallet for iPhone yet don’t use the Mac version.99 App Used Often High Price $4.

The overall average was $14. we “maximize demand curve utilization” by experimenting with prices and studying price elasticity. A few people had never paid for an app. If you take a look at the top grossing list. Simplenote’s pricing model is particularly interesting. People are absolutely willing to pay a premium for apps that provide value to them. This was done in an effort to move beyond a traditional pricing model: .92 Pricing Your App Right Avatron take the approach of putting themselves in the shoes of their customer: We look at it as our customers would. and a few had paid up to $100. the option to do something slightly different. What would we be willing to pay? And like good MBAs. and a yearly subscription to remove advertisements and unlock premium features. There is. based around an advertising-supported free version. What Are Users Willing to Pay? One of the questions we asked in our iPhone user survey was “What is the most you’ve ever paid for an iPhone app?” The results were interesting.99 apps.99 or $10 for an application. it isn’t packed with $0. By far the most common response was around the $10 mark. of course.58. suggesting that a large majority of people are happy to pay a respectable fee for software that really helps them solve a problem. One third of all our respondents had paid a maximum of exactly $9.

What is the Usual Weekly Budget? One final question we wanted to ask our readers related to their weekly “app budget”. It’s very motivating to have an impact on people’s lives. But we’re thinking bigger. This was a risky move for us. you’ll want to consider the different types of advertising available. The more people we can help. the more motivation we have to keep improving the service. it might seem that the App Store has a fairly strict “paid or free” approach to generating revenue. . We need to keep growing. and the more potential we have as a business. Around 15% spent $5-10. We’re working hard on the next major version. and you actually have a great deal of flexibility on how to charge for your application. On the surface. spend between $0 and $5 each week. Users don’t have a limitless budget. over 80% of respondents. Just how much are people happy to spend on software each week? An overwhelming majority. and only a handful spend any more than $10 each week. the results of which aren’t entirely clear yet. and could probably have maintained that as a profitable small business. This is far from the case. and you need to compete for their hard-earned cash! Advertising Options If you choose to take the approach of giving away your application for free (or at least offering a free version).93 Pricing Your App Right We were experiencing some measure of success with a more traditional pricing model.

and Apple handle filling the space with an advertisement.apple. iAd debuted in the iPhone’s latest operating system update – iOS 4. This is.net One advertising platform that has found its way into a number of wonderful iPhone apps is Fusion Ads. Various others still exist – some on traditional impression or click models. we’ll take a look at it first. of course. You are. Fusion Ads – fusionads. They . and are paid on a monthly basis for any advertisements sold. the iPhone SDK 4 lets you easily embed iAd rich media ads into your application that are dynamically delivered to the user’s device.94 Pricing Your App Right Mobile advertising has taken off in a huge way since the iPhone rose to popularity. As a developer. not limited to using Apple’s advertising system. You can integrate the service into your app. you receive 60% of the advertising revenue generated. Google / AdMob – admob. If you’re a developer. and there are many different advertising companies competing for your business. is AdMob. each taking a different approach: iAdSM Advertising System – advertising. and others through different means. recently acquired by Google. Here are just a couple to consider. Apple wanted a way to integrate advertisements within applications so that the user doesn’t need to leave a particular app and visit a website after clicking an ad. The agreement and breakdown is fairly simple.com As this advertising platform is provided directly by Apple. Apple keep the other 40% as a payment for finding advertisers and handling payment. You set the system up.com Another advertising network. in effect. a direct competitor to iAd.

88 I'd rather pay for an ad-free app (37%) If you were hoping for an easy answer. Offering an advertising funded app.95 Pricing Your App Right display their advertisements in applications such as Byline. or whether they didn’t mind: I'd rather have a free app with advertising (27%) I don't mind (36%) Chart 1 P. . Simplenote. and focuses mainly on designcentric services. pay for an ad-free app. Textie and Trackthepack. and worth keeping an eye on if your application falls into this particular niche. with the ability to turn off advertisements for a fee. though. What Do Users Think About Advertising? We asked our iPhone users how they feel about iPhone advertising. This is an “invite only” advertising network. if they’d rather have a free app with advertising. It’s good to know about. which re-enforces the choice of many developers to offer both routes. sorry to disappoint! The results are incredibly evenly split. might be the best solution.

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Spending time and effort (not necessarily money) in the run up to your application launch can be a brilliant way to get noticed immediately.THE PERFECT PROMOTION MIX There are two important stages when promoting your application – at launch. . Many successful applications are adopted very quickly. Unless you’re incredibly lucky (or have a completely outstanding idea). and on an ongoing basis. this type of response won’t come easily. and make their way into Apple’s top listings within a few days.

This is your chance to give a far greater amount of information to a potential buyer. there are various techniques you can employ to make sure that your App Store listing is as clear and compelling as possible. write to bloggers and people who are influential in the area that you want your application to sell. That’s one route to perfect. you are left with traditional marketing methods. Dave Verwer outlines two options for your website: . Tell everyone you can find about it. It’s only really an effective marketing mechanism for the apps in the top charts (less than 0. and expect to be an overnight success purely because you’re in the mystical “App Store”. tell everyone who will listen about it! As we mentioned previously. So once the App Store as a marketing mechanism has been discounted.05% of the apps in the store are currently in the US Top 100 chart). and really impress them with your app’s functionality right from day one. Go to conferences and Apple events.98 The Perfect Promotion Mix Perfecting Your Website The bottom line is that it’s down to you to be the ambassador for your app. The most important of these is also the simplest! Talk to people about your application. Dave Verwer feels the same way: The most important thing here is to not depend on the App Store to be your marketing. you are not going to get there without alternative methods of marketing. You can’t just hit submit. Realistically. but the other is your application’s website.

I always liked the way Apple does these kind of videos by coupling the tutorial with emotion. Balloons!27 Generally speaking. The important thing to remember is that simply tacking another page onto your existing site isn’t enough. but several tutorial videos work best. 27 http://balloonsapp. Most important are ways to show what the app does without relying on a demo version. You need to create something that carries the style and branding of your application onto the web. this could be a page on your existing company site or for larger apps it could be a dedicated web site like we produced for our app. . Sophia Teutschler has a few interesting thoughts to share: In my opinion. a product website should go beyond what the App Store page offers.com.99 The Perfect Promotion Mix It is very important to have a web site for your application – something that people who are interested can visit and find out more about you and your app. both of these techniques can work well. More screenshots than on the App Store page are a must. For smaller apps.

100 The Perfect Promotion Mix Here are just a few examples of iPhone app websites that are executed extremely well: sophiestication.com/software/pastebot/ .com/articles tapbots.

You’ll need three things: 1.28 Quick Guide: Creating a Video Demo One important element to get right is the video demonstration.appstorm. but there are a few clever tools to achieve something similar using the iPhone Simulator on your desktop. 2. There’s no easy way to record video from your iPhone directly. . For some more great examples.101 The Perfect Promotion Mix rampchamp. Jing. A piece of software that changes your mouse cursor into something more useful for a demo video.net/roundups/design/40-stunning-iphone-developer-websites/.com It’s obvious that the same care and attention went into these websites as did the applications themselves. Your favorite screen recording application – Screenflow. and makes the iPhone Simulator more 28 http://iphone.AppStorm. take a look at one of our recent posts on iPhone. Camtasia. or any other similar app.

SimFinger29 is a great solution. Your compiled app.102 The Perfect Promotion Mix realistic. I’d recommend SimFinger in particular. . as it has the ability to add other application icons to your iPhone home screen. developer. running in Xcode’s iPhone Simulator It’s then just a case of recording the portion of your screen containing the iPhone Simulator. but PhoneFinger30 also does the trick. Generating Launch “Buzz” “Buzz” is a vague concept. and embed it into your website for everyone to see. and adding any final extras in a piece of video editing software such as iMovie. 4. It’s easy to see when another application has it – the Internet lights up with mentions of a particular app. running through a few of the app’s features (keep it short and snappy). Far more people will be likely to pay for your app if they can see it in action before they buy.wonderwarp. change the carrier to something more realistic than “Carrier”. You can overlay your own audio commentary later if you decide to. 3.com/atebits/SimFinger. http://www.com/phonefinger/. or website. But how do you start this process in motion for your own creation? 29 30 http://github. though ideally your app should be designed in a way that doesn’t require a voiceover to describe what’s going on! Export the video to your favorite video sharing website. and add a layer of gloss over the simulator display.

Bjango had some fascinating thoughts to share on generating buzz. They feel that you can take one of two approaches: Option 1: Ultimate secrecy Anyone who’s familiar with Apple will know how this one works. so that when it’s finally released.103 The Perfect Promotion Mix First and foremost. The idea is to spread as much information about your product before launch as possible. But beware. It either needs to look visually stunning. an iPhone app for finding hidden gems within your iPhone’s music library. Something so incredible that people have to tell their friends about it. Prepare well. giving you momentum and a decent chance of success. or offer a completely immersive and addictive user experience. prep the press and launch at full velocity. I think the most important part of the entire process is having an app that’s worthy of discussion. you’ll also be held accountable for any features you’ve said you were going to include. One application that launched with great success was Attic. Option 2: Slowly building momentum A carefully placed trail of hints. People should want to talk about your app. We’ve also seen both methods work for other companies. I’m not entirely sure which is best. teasers and full blown video demos. It also means you can gain feedback about your app before release. as bloggers and users picked up on the app: . Then. and the competition will know what you’re up to. It’s a gamble. To be honest. but means you’ll hit everywhere at once. We’ve tried both. you need to create something brilliant. and hide every last detail. Devin Ross found press releases sparked quite a bit of interest. and how to handle a successful launch. It typically only works if you’re well established. when the time is right. everyone buys at once.

Do make a press page on your web site. It’s important that you don’t rely completely on a traditional press release.com.AppStorm receives several requests every day from developers looking to have their application reviewed or covered on the site. I was surprised how fast it was too. I sent out press releases with promo codes to a list of blog sites that morning.104 The Perfect Promotion Mix I released Attic on March 1st. I never sent a press release to him either. I go through a three question process when deciding whether to commission a review of a particular application: 31 http://prmac. iPhone. . Sending out promotional codes to blogs can be a good solution. I wasn’t aware of how fast people picked up on the application. and everything else that reviewers might need if they do decide to talk about your app. These are great points to take note of. but do not rely too heavily on this as bloggers and journalists can get hundreds of press releases a day. You can use a service such as PRMac31 to get a broad distribution of your release to hundreds of sites. videos. That brought tons of traffic. though (like we did for Balloons!) and have all of your artwork. and stayed up all night just to make sure everything went smoothly. I started to see a bunch of mentions on Twitter and I knew something organic was happening. Dave Verwer has some more thoughts to share on this topic: Press releases are useful to help get the word out once you release your app. as can offering them to sites that would like to run a giveaway. John Gruber picked up on the application and linked to it on his site. In retrospect.

These old ways of advertising are not nearly as effective any longer. I’ll likely pass over it in favor of something else that’s different and unique. branding. Is the email personally directed to me. 2. clear and welldesigned. I asked Gedeon from The Iconfactory what their main promotion techniques were. give it a try.32 What probably helped the most. it doesn’t reflect well on the developer. and the app’s website? If the interface looks logical. Does the idea sound interesting? If the application is just another clone of something remarkably mundane. many people already knew about it. and write a review if I feel that our readers will find it useful. and which factors held importance in its surge to popularity: We used many of the most popular methods available today. were the tiny sneak peaks of some of the artwork from the game that we posted and leaked a month or so prior to launch. or the site? If it’s a generic press release sent out in bulk to hundreds of people. If all three of those conditions are met. it’s always a positive sign. Twitter and. Facebook. however. 3. It’s worth taking the time and care to send someone a personal message. blogging about Ramp Champ on our main website. of course.105 The Perfect Promotion Mix 1. This really helped build anticipation for the game so when the actual launch rolled around.com. . A final application to profile that got all of these pointers completely correct is Ramp Champ – a game that had a phenomenally successful launch. then I’m likely to download the application. Traditional advertising such as web and print were used only sparingly. How much care and attention has been put into screenshots. 32 http://iconfactory.

based on one of his recent projects: Sales requirements vary wildly depending on the category of application and whether your app is free or paid. it takes more and more effort or “push” to reach the top lists.000 then you’re probably in the Top 50. then you’re probably in the Top 100 somewhere. and how being a “Featured” app affects interest: As the App Store grows and more apps are added. It means that when you do come to flip the switch. You can sit in the list for a while if you have a good product. I asked The Iconfactory to share a few statistics about how many sales it takes to reach the Top 10 rankings in the App Store. you have an established base of people ready to buy your application. Once you’re there. Being a featured app definitely helps. Many iPhone users browse these as a guide to what’s new and popular on the App Store. if not triple them. and maintain your position. Reaching Apple’s Top Lists If you’re able to gather enough promotion to push your application into one of Apple’s Top Lists. I can give a recent . being featured isn’t nearly as good as being in that Top 25. Generally speaking. if your app is selling 300-800 copies a day. Typically this will at least double your sales. However. so being featured here is a great way to fuel sales and ignite a catalyst effect. Dave Verwer also had a few statistics to share on this subject. If you’re app is selling over 1. then you are on the path to a really successful launch. and keeping people informed can be a great technique. the increased visibility serves to increase sales. offering “sneak peaks”. at least for a short while.106 The Perfect Promotion Mix The idea of building up a community during development.

107 The Perfect Promotion Mix example though. Obviously the numbers will be smaller in the paid photography app charts and those numbers would need to be significantly bigger to get into the top 100 charts in a very popular category like Games or Entertainment. When we were in the top half of the Top 100 charts. we were getting between 1300 and 1600 downloads per day. we have a free application which has been in the Top 100 free photography apps charts in several countries around the world since it launched a couple of weeks ago. and now we are in the bottom half of those charts we are getting between 600 and 800 downloads per day. 98 . and the results were as follows: Recommendations from Websites Recommendations from Friends Searching the App Store Browsing by Category Apple's Top Lists 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 Never Not So Often Quite Often Very Often Chart 1 P. What better way to find out how users find new applications than just to ask them? That’s what we did.

we asked respondents whether they’d ever reached Apple’s Top 100: . Air Sharing HD. So far. no one method had a particularly high number of people “never” using it. and Air Display) have reached the position of #1 top grossing third-party app. Do I Have Any Chance of Reaching the Top 100? With so many different applications in the App Store. Interestingly. even if a few are explored more regularly than others. three of our apps (Air Sharing.000 per day. it can often feel that reaching any form of “Top List” is impossible. this outcome could be slightly biased as most respondents found the survey through AppStorm – an iPhone software website! Finally. The number of sales required to hit that mark has changed over time. we spoke to Dave Howell from Avatron: We’ve had good luck with the rankings. along with Apple’s Top Lists. Far fewer browse through the different categories within the App Store. This suggests that it’s certainly worth promoting your application through all these avenues – particularly approaching blogs and websites. Users tend to utilize all these methods to some extent. Admittedly. but generally has been over $15.108 cont’d The Perfect Promotion Mix A large proportion of readers find recommendations from websites useful. In our developer survey.

You’ll need a great idea. Go Social With Your App The power of social media is something that cannot be overlooked. be that Twitter. MySpace.109 cont’d The Perfect Promotion Mix Yes (24%) No. so can you! Unfortunately. You’ll also be more likely to reach this level if you already have a track record on the App Store. . Facebook. and plenty of launch promotion to give yourself a chance. or any other website around the world. If iPhone users have enjoyed your software before. a well designed interface. 139 If almost a quarter of our 80 survey participants were able to make it. not yet! (76%) Chart 2 P. they’ll be far more likely to spend money on your latest release. It’s almost a certainty that everyone in your user base will use some form of online social service. there’s no secret formula to pushing yourself into the realms of a Top 10 iPhone application.

and require that a user connects to their social media account in order to use it. or playing along with your friends. Many successful apps have a way to link your Facebook/Twitter account with the software. this type of social integration can mean than your users help to promote your application for you. or through 33 http://www. In its most basic form. Posting out tweets and updates from the app (providing they have specifically given their consent to do so) is a great way to easily find new users.110 The Perfect Promotion Mix You can use this fact to your advantage when designing an application. People’s recommendation of your application – whether done explicitly. The power of word-of-mouth shouldn’t be overlooked.canabalt. . for sharing statistics and achievements. Whichever method you use.com. this could take on the idea implemented by the developers of Canabalt.33 This allows you to send out a tweet letting people know how far you progressed in a particular game: Other games take this to a more in-depth level.

and they are also a fantastic resource for gaining feedback on app ideas. you’ll need to find where your users are. and have found it to lead to reliable. It will give you the opportunity to help people out who are having problems. For now we’re happy with solid organic growth. As well as this. If that’s on Twitter. and join in the discussion. co-worker or blogger. . Use social media to your advantage. An existing base of engaged customers are very likely to purchase your work in the future. but the results were very difficult to track precisely.111 The Perfect Promotion Mix allowing the software to let their online “friends” know that they are using the app – is very important. but also offers a channel to enter into a conversation with them. building up a gradual following on these different services will be an invaluable asset when you come to launch your next killer application. Bjango couldn’t have put this better: In terms of connecting with users and building a following. organic growth: We experimented with hiring a marketing company for a short period of time. and keep track of what people are saying about you. and betas. The vast majority of people hear about Simplenote from a friend. then make sure you’re there to answer any questions they have. Be honest and sincere. mockups. and thank people when they say something positive about your app. Set up a Twitter and Facebook account for your app. Simplenote relies on this to a large degree. and make sure that it’s at the forefront of your mind right from the start of the development process Connecting With Users Social media is not only a great way to have users promote your application for you.


The Perfect Promotion Mix

I asked the developers of Headquarters about the techniques they use to keep users interested in their application, and whether an email mailing list worked particularly well: We actually use a few techniques to keep people interested in Headquarters. We post updates on Twitter, our mailing list and spread the news via word of mouth. On top of all that, we also ran some advertising on Fusions Ads. Out of all of the different methods we use to generate interest in Headquarters, I think the most important and most effective way was to generate buzz via word of mouth. Since ours is not a mass-appeal application that everyone can use (as opposed to a $1.99 game) it was very important that we established a reputation within the community. I would, along with the rest of the team, personally message people who were praising (or criticizing) the application. Basically I wanted to let them know that I actually care about what I built and I am dedicated to improving Headquarters. This seems to have struck home with a lot of people because many of them turned around and recommended Headquarters to their friends. The mailing list, in my opinion, wasn’t as effective as I wanted it to be. I don’t think we’ll drop it, but I consider a message from a mailing list to be roughly equivalent to a simple press release. Sometimes they’re very interesting and everyone picks up on it, but most of the time they’re just ignored. There’s certainly no harm in having a traditional email newsletter on your website, but this isn’t likely to be as effective as deliberately going out to find your users where they are already. Don’t expect them to come directly to you with feedback – seek it out.


The Perfect Promotion Mix

Advertising vs. Word of Mouth
In addition to focusing on social media, blogs, and word of mouth, you also have the option of advertising your application in a more traditional sense. The most effective place to do this is wherever your users spend a great deal of time. If it’s a design-related app, consider an advertisement on a series of design blogs. If it’s a mass appeal application, a website related to iPhone apps themselves might be a good option. The traditional rules of marketing apply here, and it’s important to connect with the greatest number of relevant people possible for your money. We asked Glasshouse Apps about the different types of promotion they’ve tried for their apps, and how effective have they been: We’ve tried a few: in-app banner ads, website banner ads, sending out promo codes, forums, and of course Twitter. All of these have been worthwhile simply from a learning point of view, but I’d recommend not throwing too much money or resources into any one avenue of promotion until you’ve tested it on a small scale first. The best type of promotion is when Apple do it for you for free, but that’s out of your hands.

Interestingly, many developers took the approach that advertising is more or less a “break even” game. It certainly wasn’t hailed as a great way to reach potential users. A word of caution against running straight towards the idea of advertising comes from Garrett Murray, who feels that word of mouth can be just as important: Initially, I only promoted Ego via word of mouth. I announced it on my site and people linked it around in the community. This worked


The Perfect Promotion Mix

very well. A few friends with big audiences linked to it (people like John Gruber), and word of mouth spread. About six months after I launched the app I played with some advertising, but in the long run it wasn’t entirely beneficial. I ended up mostly breaking even. Ego is a very niche app, and word of mouth seems to work best.

And finally, yet another developer who sees word of mouth as vital is Dustin MacDonald, the developer of Wallet: These days, I think word of mouth is far more powerful than your average marketing campaign. If you have an exciting, compelling app, users will find out about it. You can accelerate this process by taking advantage of social networking sites. Set up a Facebook page, start a Twitter account, and otherwise make it easier for people to spread the word about your app.

It’s no surprise that a general theme started to emerge. Word of mouth is a remarkably effective marketing tool, and paying for advertising shouldn’t be considered a necessity. Although it’s undoubtedly worth experimenting with, advertising is not used as the core promotion method by any developers interviewed. Of course, the best thing to do is the all-encompassing approach to promotion taken by Avatron: We do everything. We employ a good PR firm, buy banner ads, reach out to bloggers and journalists, attend conferences, use social networks, design our icons and screen shots to appeal to Apple’s Developer Relations staff, give t-shirts to prominent influencers, run sales and free promotions, issue updates as frequently as practical, and provide quotes for books such as this one!

We may spend a considerable amount of time per week on support but it’s definitely not time wasted. but it’s well worth it. It may consume a little more of your time handling these things personally. We all take turns answering e-mails. be proud of it.115 The Perfect Promotion Mix Top Notch Support and Regular Updates The process of selling your application doesn’t end as soon as the user clicks “Buy App”. and the level of post-sales support you give can have a big impact on this. It’s incredible how appreciative people are when they can easily contact a real person and get a direct and honest response. Don’t be afraid to put your name and other information next to your product. It will become obvious when certain functionality isn’t clear. We’ve mentioned the importance of your App Store rating before. don’t make it hard on them. we divide support requests throughout the entire team. It’s almost guaranteed that people will try to get in touch with you for whatever reason. As a result. talking to people on Twitter and even taking phone calls. or that users want to be able to do something extra that your app isn’t capable of. Select Start Studios shared their advice on offering support for iPhone applications: It’s very important that you make it easy for users to get in touch with you. For Headquarters specifically. you’ll build up a greater understanding about which areas of your application are in need of refinement. As you invest time talking to users about your application and helping them with problems. we offer support in many ways: we have a support forum and we’re always reachable by direct e-mail and Twitter. . You built it.

Of course. http://getsatisfaction. there’s less that can go wrong. and when something does go wrong we can afford the time to address it properly. Another website that many iPhone developers use is Get Satisfaction35. They’re our window into all support emails and tweets. this varies depending upon the size of your application and the range of functionality on offer. ideas and dreams.34 which is a new service. Since there’s less that people are able to do with our app. and can save a great deal of time down the road. Email is great. That’s a huge responsibility. This is an area where simplicity helps us. We’ll eventually launch a self-service portal that is powered by them as well. Our beloved customer support tool is Assistly. . on average.116 The Perfect Promotion Mix The developers of Simplenote understand this completely: Customer support is extremely important to us. We do our best to be transparent and responsive whenever there’s a problem. Finding the right tool for offering support is important. but it might not be the medium that suits you best. a community driven support site that allows people to easily ask questions and submit requests. The important thing to remember is that if you’re going to invest 2-3 hours per day supporting your users.com. the application needs to be bringing in enough revenue to account for that time! 34 35 http://assistly. Simplenote synchronizes people’s thoughts. developers spend two hours each day on support. How Long Does Support Take? Based on the results of our survey.com.

. Sophie Teutschler feels that this is a necessity: Keeping the updates coming is the best thing you can do. and whether they’d recommend it to other developers: I’d recommend pitching your app in all the places you can find people with iPhones! The guys at Carsonified are especially supportive when it comes to UK-based startups. A few years ago. Updates could be used to fix any pending issues. The one thing to pay close attention to with big events is the lead time – because large events often require firm commitments months in advance.117 The Perfect Promotion Mix In addition to offering support. but steady quality updates throughout the year keeps the app fresh and your customers happy. Conquer Your Stage Fright One final possibility for ongoing promotion that shouldn’t be overlooked is the idea of presenting your app at a conference or meet-up. or add requested features. This isn’t a requirement – many successful apps are updated very infrequently after any initial bugs are ironed out. 36 http://carsonified. There’s no need to update your app every month. I watched the developers of Broadersheet pitch to a panel at a Carsonified36 “Future of Web Apps” event.com. and it was very well received. you need to make sure your app is submitted and approved well ahead of schedule in order to best capitalize on the exposure. This doesn’t need to be a huge event. but any opportunity to talk to a group of people about your new creation is a great one. users like to see your application updated on a fairly regular basis. I asked them how this process worked.

The results tied in closely with the interview responses throughout this chapter: Word of Mouth Giving Away Free Promotion Codes An Ongoing Relationship with Bloggers A Well-Written Press Release Spending Money on Advertising 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Irrelevant Not So Effective Quite Effective Very Effective Word of mouth is – by far – the most effective method of promotion.118 The Perfect Promotion Mix It needn’t necessarily be a conference for hundreds of people. The least effective method was a “well written press release”. Many cities have local iPhone/OS X user and developer groups. This is followed by an ongoing relationship with bloggers. and are always looking for new people to come and talk about their latest creation. This can also be a good place to meet likeminded developers and share advice. Which Promotion Methods Do Developers Find Most Beneficial? One of the questions in our developer survey asked which promotion methods they have found to be most effective in the past. 110 . so don’t invest too much energy into this route! Chart 1 P.

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websites. podcasts. books and conferences that offer a helping hand with getting started in the App Store. and step confidently onto the path towards becoming an iPhone app entrepreneur! . Hopefully you’ll feel well equipped to get the process started. it’s time to get started! But. The rest of this chapter will walk you through a huge spectrum of useful resources. where’s the best place to begin? We’d be remiss not to give you a helping hand into the (often confusing) world of iPhone development.USEFUL RESOURCES Now that you’ve received insight from so many successful iPhone developers.

ly/objcintro Apple’s hefty introduction to Objective-C doesn’t specifically refer to iPhone development. but also getting started with Audio. Security and much more. files and multimedia support. Introduction to Objective-C http://bit. Their Getting Started guides are particularly good. This is Apple’s style guide – both to your application interface. iPhone Application Programming Guide http://bit. including windows.ly/iphig We’ve mentioned this document throughout the book. Data Management. this selection covers pretty much everything you will need to know about iPhone development. or to any practical applications. to . Getting Started Guides http://bit. but it has just about everything you need to know in plenty of detail. and this is the best place to go for official information. event handling.ly/ipprogguide Quite simply an overview of everything to do with iPhone programming. but it’s worth reiterating its importance again here. Human Interface Guidelines http://bit.121 Useful Resources Apple’s Documentation Apple makes plenty of their own documentation available. and also to how it works.ly/ipgsguide Not just getting started with programming for the iPhone. From the basics of learning Objective-C and Cocoa. drawing. Books If reading books is the best way for you to enjoy learning. Read it twice.

I think. enabling you to go on to create high quality apps for the iPhone.to/objcdummies The majority of iPhone apps are written in Objective-C so you need to know the language before getting started.122 Useful Resources interface design and 3D Games Development. There are many other books out there. iPhone User Interface Design Projects http://amzn. This book gives you a good grounding into what you should code yourself. Previous programming experience is necessary. offers a good range. and what you should let Cocoa do for you. you will get a good grounding in designing and programming for the iPhone interface.to/exploresdk Dave Mark and Jeff LaMarche take you through the beginning stages of iPhone development. Objective-C for Dummies http://amzn. and some Cocoa experience would be beneficial. Learn Cocoa on the Mac http://amzn. Neil Goldstein takes you through an introduction to the language relating both to iPhone and Mac OS X development. No programming experience is required before you pick up this book. as certain aspects are standardized and the screen is much smaller than any desktop or laptop. Beginning iPhone 3 Development: Exploring the iPhone SDK http://amzn. and it also comes with a CD of source code as well. the next step would be to learn how to utilize the Cocoa Frameworks in your development of both Mac OS X and iPhone applications. .to/ipprojects Designing for the iPhone is probably unlike anything else you have previously designed for. but this selection. especially in Objective-C or at least in a C-related language.to/cocoaguide After successfully coming to grips with Objective-C.

Introducing you to all the main iPhone programming concepts and libraries using 14 complete apps. but this book takes an entirely different approach to programming. and what to consider when migrating desktop applications down to the iPhone. Using Blender as the 3D content creator. iPhone Advanced Projects http://amzn. The book also gives you a brief introduction to getting your app approved by Apple.to/iphone3d Programming apps for the iPhone is one thing. iPhone for Programmers – An App Driven Approach http://amzn. Map Kit. including how best to use the limited screen real estate. how to present data intensive apps.to/appapproach Deitel and Deitel write some of the best programming books around. but I’m sure there are a few wannabe iPhone game developers out there. this book is for you. you are introduced to the concepts of graphics programming using OpenGL along with collision detection. Taking you through topics such as optimizing performance and streamlining your interface. the book also introduces different writers to . you’ll learn how to integrate Cocoa Touch. though this requires some previous programming knowledge to understand the example source code given. Core Location and many other technologies. The book gives you a good introduction to creating 3D games that utilize the iPhone’s touchscreen capabilities and is a great next step up from programming basic apps.123 Useful Resources This book introduces you to designing for the iPhone.to/advancedprojects For those developers looking to take their iPhone apps to the next level. 3D for iPhone Apps with Blender and SIO2 http://amzn. such as the “How to Program” series. The next step on from learning the iPhone basics would be to start creating 3D apps. Contributions come from a number of different app developers giving you a broad range of opinions and plenty of good advice. animation and interacting with the environment.

Learn about networking with other iPhones.com/iphone/ Once you have registered for the free iPhone Developer Program you get nine introductory videos to help you to get started with iPhone app development. Screencasts There are a lot of great screencasts out there for learning iPhone development – some are free. Before you pay for a screencast. it’s almost as good as being there… just without the pressure of assignments! .ly/iphonestanford One of the most popular series on iTunes U. integrating SQLite and Push Notifications. covering all the tools and technologies needed to develop killer iPhone applications. comes this 13 video series. UI and web applications over the 13 hour course of video tutorials.apple. integrating iPhone features and interface design is covered in these detailed videos. iPhone Tech Talk World Tour http://developer. Stanford University’s iPhone Application Development is updated for the Winter 2010 semester. be sure to check that it’s for a recent version of the Xcode and the iPhone/IOS SDK. Featuring the full lectures along with PDFs of the lecture slides and all the supporting code.124 Useful Resources talk about a variety of advanced topics.com/iphone/ Also from Apple through the Developer Program. streaming audio and debugging errors in your code. Everything from introducing the iPhone SDK to fundamentals of Cocoa. Topics include game development. and others come at a price. and slightly newer than the above tutorials. iPhone Application Development http://bit.apple. Apple’s Getting Started Tutorials http://developer.

com/category/podcast/ An iPhone Developer podcast talking to some of the people behind the most popular apps in the store. Don’t worry if you can’t speak German. drawing and networking. these screencasts come highly recommended for learning about specific aspects of iPhone development. Gain some insight into what goes into producing an app and the different technologies utilized.com/ Priced at around $10 each.com/screencasts/v-bdiphone/writing-your-first-iphoneapplication The series entitled “Writing Your First iPhone Application” is a particularly good introduction. video. PeepCode Screencasts http://peepcode. Pragmatic Screencasts http://pragprog. the course is fully in English and covers everything from interface building and debugging to audio.125 Useful Resources Highly recommended to all those with some knowledge of a C language and Object Oriented Programming concepts. A few of these include: Mobile Orchard http://mobileorchard.ly/rwthiphone Similar to Stanford’s course above. Podcasts Inspiration need not come in a purely visual format – there are plenty of podcasts that can be really helpful for picking up the basics and gaining insight from other developers. . RWTH Aachen in Germany also uploaded their course to iTunes U. iPhone Application Programming http://bit. with five episodes priced at $5 each. Lecture slides are available as PDFs although you cannot get hold of any of the source code or assignments.

cross-platform development with tools like Appcelerator and Phone Gap.tutsplus. with leading authors and experts on topics such as Snow Leopard. Android.net/ Obviously I have to recommend our own website as a brilliant place to find out about new applications. Whether you want to create the next killer app or become a pioneer of the mobile frontier. and techniques for building mobile accessible web sites with HTML 5.AppStorm http://iphone. they’ve got you covered! iPhone.ly/onmac Conversations and tutorials on development for Mac and iPhone software. and Cocoa.appstorm. OnMacDevelopment http://bit. Topics include native development with the iPhone.126 The MDN Show http://bit. Windows and Blackberry platforms. the Mac Developer Network show takes on a magazine style format and is very easy to listen to. but a useful resource.com/ Mobiletuts+ is all about quality tutorials for mobile developers – all mobile developers. Blogs and Websites Mobiletuts+ http://mobile. gain inspiration from other developers.ly/mdnshow Useful Resources A “one stop shop” show for Mac and iPhone developers. Not too technical. the iPhone SDK. and connect with a huge base of iPhone users! .

Ray Wenderlich http://www. where you will meet lots of like-minded developers. A vital read for those wishing to develop in Cocoa2D. ManiacDev http://maniacdev. You can pick up some neat tips here. Forums If you want to exchange ideas with other developers and seek help. iPhone Flow http://www.com/ One of the best blogs out there regularly updated with quality tutorials and resources.com/ Useful Resources Updated about once a week. . Requires a paid Developer Program account to access (but you’ll need one of these anyway to distribute your iPhone application in the App Store).127 iCodeBlog http://icodeblog.iphoneflow.com/devforums/ Apple’s official forums. Hopefully one of the following will fit the bill: Apple Developer Forums http://developer. iCodeBlog provides some very useful and detailed tutorials.com/ Some great iPhone tutorials and tips from developer Ray Wenderlich.raywenderlich. there’s no replacement for an active forum filled with helpful members.com/ A community blog where users post links to items they feel will be of interest to other developers.apple.

It’s also worth looking out for meet-ups in your local area. iPhone Dev SDK http://www.tipb. and general Apple and iPhone news.000 members. so much the better. and the legal side of coding apps. and topics centering around the App Store. Conferences There’s no replacement to sitting down and talking about your latest iPhone development project with other developers.128 iPhone Dev Forums http://www.com/?page_id=394.com/forum/ Useful Resources Get help with coding the iPhone SDK. If a few beers are involved as well. and chat with other developers. iPhone World http://forum. technical iPhone development.com/iphone-developer-forum/ Get helpful advice from other developers and browse the informative blog for the latest iPhone and iPad news while you’re there. Covering everything from basic development to tutorials. .iphonedevforums.iphoneworld. game development.ca/ A large forum with over 20. These conferences are a great opportunity to hear some inspiring speakers.37 or you can just Google for local developers and set something going yourself! 37 http://appleusergroupresources.iphonedevsdk. TiPb iPhone Developer Forum http://forum.com/forum/ A massive forum with over 22.000 members. web apps and also advice on app promotion. Apple have their own list of user groups.

It features some excellent technical sessions on both iPhone and Mac OS X development. as in recent years the conference has sold out quickly. If you can’t make it though. and the schedule was split between a day of Best Practices/Game Development. Voices That Matter http://www. and it’s worth checking to see whether it will be repeated. The event .iphonedevcamp.com/iphone2010/ This two-day conference occurred in April 2010.com/ Useful Resources Occurring on a regular basis. 360iDev is the first and (supposedly) still the best iPhone developer conference in the world. You have to pay the registration fee in advance (approximately $499).com/ Open to anyone with an interest in iPhone development. don’t worry – Apple usually publishes their videos of conference sessions online soon after the event. iOSDevCamp http://www. The cost was $495 for early bird registration.org The iOSDevCamp (formerly known as the iPhoneDevCamp) is a not-forprofit organization that gathers regularly to develop applications for iPhone and iPod touch using both the native SDK and web standards. Apple Worldwide Developers Conference http://developer.iphonedevsummit. California.voicesthatmatter.com/wwdc/ Apple’s main conference seems to take on an increasingly mobile-centric approach every year.apple. the iPhone Developer Summit is usually held in Santa Clara.129 360iDev http://www. but the four-day event features some of the top speakers in the industry.360idev. and one of Core Competencies/Interface Development. USA. iPhone Developer Summit http://www. Register early.

featuring content from the participants themselves. 3D game creation becomes a whole lot simpler and it ties in with the Bullet Physics SDK.com/p/gdata-objectivec-client/ Google provides some brilliant Objective-C APIs for its services like Maps.com/lukhnos/objectiveflickr ObjectiveFlickr is an API for connecting to a Flickr account through your iPhone or Mac app. If you’re looking for a few interesting pointers to get started with different open source libraries.com/p/oolongengine/ For those of you wanting to create games for the iPhone. ObjectiveFlickr http://github.130 Useful Resources format is “unconference” or Barcamp-style. the Oolong Engine provides a great starting point. This is the best way to connect your application up to Google’s services. and aims to assist those of you embarking on your own native app development. Development Libraries.google. Facebook Connect http://developers.php?tab=iphone Integrate Facebook Connect into your app to connect with your Facebook friends.google. Oolong Engine http://code. . these links may prove to be useful: Google API Client Library http://code.x but should work with current releases.facebook. YouTube and Analytics among others.com/connect. This code provides a reliable method of authentication for Facebook services. Docs. It was built for iPhone 2. APIs and Frameworks This section is for the technically adept.

LiquidGear http://www. contacts and location services among a number of other features.google.liquidgear.com/ Appsamuck provides source code for 31 example applications showing you how to achieve a number of different application programming tasks. Unfortunately these aren’t brilliantly commented so you will need to be fairly adept with Objective-C to work it out. LiquidGear runs as the middle man and can integrate with databases.com/p/touchcode/wiki/TouchXML Touch XML is a lightweight replacement for NSXML allowing parsing of XML data on the iPhone.com/modelbaker Point and click iPhone app development? Model Baker introduces the quickest way to make iPhone applications. Phone Gap is a framework for building mobile apps using Javascript.com/ For those of you not interested in learning Objective-C. maps.widgetpress. Based on Cocos2d for the Python language but converted to Objective-C for iPhone development.google.net/ Develop iPhone apps using Javascript and HTML. built-in accelerometer. although this one is for 2D rather than 3D games. 31 Example Applications http://appsamuck. . PhoneGap http://phonegap.com/p/cocos2d-iphone/ Useful Resources Another game development framework. Touch XML http://code. without even having to code.131 Cocos2D http://code. Model Baker http://www.

Before giving up on a particular piece of functionality. tutorials. It’s the code that powers the Facebook iPhone app and many other apps in the App Store. Obviously this only scratches the surface of the different resources. Three20 http://three20. It’s based on the Ruby programming language and can compile apps for Android. A solid starting point to avoid beginning from scratch. frameworks and helpful APIs available for native app development. Blackberry and iPhone.info/ Three20 is an iPhone development library. be sure to search around to see whether someone else has come up with a solution already! .132 Rhodes http://rhomobile.com/products/rhodes/ Useful Resources Rhodes is an open source framework for developing mobile apps for all platforms.

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and I thought the same would be true when asking developers for their advice. .ONE PIECE OF ADVICE We’ve already determined that constraint is a wonderful thing. The following section highlights some concise wisdom from developers.

You need to invest in developing a product. There are a lot of guys just like you. and persevere. But make something people want. Heed their wise words carefully! 37signals Scratch your own itch. FInd people that can help achieve your goals. you have to look at the application development as a business. . There are so many business models you can consider. This is fairly conventional wisdom and it works for us. I’m fairly new at this myself.135 Words of Wisdom One Piece of Advice I asked developers to offer a single piece of advice for aspiring iPhone entrepreneurs. The iPhone landscape is always changing so you have to work quickly and adapt. Simplenote My advice isn’t earth-shattering. others will too. Coding the application is only half the battle. Figuring out what customers want and creating awareness for the application is something that needs a lot of consideration. So solve that. Devin Ross – Attic I would suggest that if you want to make a profit as a developer (and who doesn’t). Chances are that if you’re having a problem. listen to their feedback.

e. I can say that . Your app should always do something exceptionally new and exciting if you want to stand out. Just don’t give up! Glasshouse Apps Firstly. Gedeon Maheux – The Iconfactory Don’t get discouraged. the App Store will notice. It takes hard work and more than a few attempts before you’ll probably have a moderate hit. Let your customers have a way of reaching you directly so they can let you know what they like and dislike and what they want to you to improve. If you make a quality product. Thirdly – as corny as it might sound – don’t give up. I’ve been really fortunate to have had excellent partnerships on my apps.136 Sarah Parmenter – You Know Who One Piece of Advice Aspire to develop the best of your category and not to settle for mediocrity in favor of revenue. When I looked at the sales figures for Barista’s first day on the App Store. don’t expect a gold rush. That being said. find a great partner. Secondly – listen to your customers. But 18 months later. keep at it. Feedback is so important when developing apps. and it fills a badly needed niche. don’t churn out a load of crappy apps – aspire for one great one! Dustin MacDonald – Wallet Don’t forget to innovate. and you’ll probably see some success. I almost threw in the towel right there. i. There are a lot of apps in the App Store and sometimes it can seem as if no one will ever notice your work.

and part of the quality assurance for that is making sure the app is installable from a machine other than your own development computers. Just try to release something quality. Dave Verwer – Shiny Development Get out there and try it! Don’t worry about making your first app an all singing. building and shipping an app. I always learned the most by doing. instead of reading about or planning. If you can find more that are willing to beta test. Release something that starts to get you going. all dancing. Once your app is out. it doesn’t have to be super unique or even big. Try and find at least 5 or 10 people that you can count on to help you out on short notice.137 One Piece of Advice developing that one app has probably been the most influential business decision I’ve made in my entire working life. There is no experience better than actually going through the entire process of designing. . Get something simple coded and get it on the store. Sophia Teutschler – Sophiestication Software Make apps! It’s that simple. that’s great. you’ll want to be able to turn out new releases quickly. You can work on your masterpiece as your second application! Lee Mallabone – Broadersheet Be selective when choosing your beta testers. but it’s important to have a few that you can call up and ask to install a new test version of your app today. get it going and go for it. mind blowing application. and it will teach you an incredible amount about how to approach the process in the future. Take a simple idea.

Oh. . I think the answer is no: If you’re properly marketing your app on social networks and such. but by charging 40% more. especially for those looking for mass adoption. you need to work hard to make a decent income.138 Garrett Murray – Ego One Piece of Advice If I can only offer once piece.99. with a huge amount of apps between $1-$3. will you lose 40% of your customers? In most cases. you’re still making more money. and offer some general advice on this one: Price for value. they will find a variety of apps sold at prices between $10-$50. 99% of people selling apps aren’t making untold sums of money. app developers are really doing themselves a disservice. David Kaneda – Sencha I’ll step down from my web app soapbox for a moment. Look at it this way: If you price your app at $4. because customer feedback can be extremely frustrating. For simple utility apps. you need to market and promote that app. Like anything else. is not a get-rich-quick system. I think there’s a trend of undervaluing apps right now. You need to produce a quality application with wide appeal.99 instead of $2. this may make sense. If one browses the highest revenue apps in the app store. and grow a thick skin. it would be that the App Store. despite what you may read from a minority of developers. and you need to make regular updates to it. Don’t go in expecting to be rich overnight. But for a great majority of apps that apply to niche markets and business users. you might lose 10-20% of the potential customers.

Many of the early apps in the store bore out that prejudice. like being associated with quality by being “premium. they should simply be asking themselves. don’t skimp on the kind of process and diligence that you would commit to the development of desktop apps.139 One Piece of Advice There are other reasons. . But there’s no reason why iOS apps can’t be every bit as deep as desktop apps. When developing iOS apps.” Especially as more and more developers begin to look at iPad and Universal apps. too. “What would I pay for this?” Dave Howell – Avatron Because the iPhone is small. it’s tempting to think of it as a platform for small apps.

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we aim to answer all your questions. . Is it possible to make a living developing for the iPhone? How long does it take to develop an app? How many hours will it take to offer support? Is this career really more enjoyable than my existing work? In the first ever extensive App Store developer survey. Like we did. I’m sure you have all manner of questions running around your head. concerns and doubts about embarking on this process.THE iPHONE DEVELOPER SURVEY It often feels as though there’s a mystical shroud hovering over developers operating in the App Store. We’ve surveyed over 80 individual iPhone developers and companies to gather a comprehensive set of statistics that shed light on the App Store.

142 The iPhone Developer Survey Part 1 – Business and Company How many hours does it generally take to develop an iPhone application? 1.000+ (4%) 500 – 1.000 (9%) Less than 100 (19%) 250 – 500 (22%) 100 – 250 (46%) Chart 1 P. 132 .

133 . or are you happy with your current size? We're happy as we are! (50%) We're looking to grow (50%) Chart 1 P.143 Other The iPhone Developer Survey How many people are employed by your company? 11+ 6 – 10 2–5 Just me! 0 5 10 15 20 Chart 2 P. 132 25 30 35 40 45 Are you aiming to grow your company’s staff.

000 $10.000 – $5.000 – $50. what is the financial cost of developing an iPhone app? $50.000 $5.000 – $10.000 – $25.000 $1 – $500 Just my own time 0 5 10 Chart 2 P.000 $500 – $1.144 The iPhone Developer Survey In your experience. 133 15 20 25 What is your total monthly revenue from sales of iPhone apps in USD? .000 $1.000+ $25.

134 . 134 Could you make a living solely from your iPhone app’s revenue? Yes (19%) Not yet (81%) Chart 2 P.145 The iPhone Developer Survey How has iPhone development affected your personal income or company revenue? Reduced our income (4%) Made no difference (20%) Increased income significantly (34%) Increased income slightly (42%) Chart 1 P.

135 How many hours do you spend on support each day? .146 The iPhone Developer Survey What’s the average age of those working at your company? Is iPhone development your full-time job? Yes (26%) No – I do something else as well (74%) Chart 1 P.

147 I work in a shared office (13%) The iPhone Developer Survey Do you work from home. in a private office. 136 . 136 Do you enjoy iPhone development more than your previous job? The same! (23%) No (3%) Yes (74%) Chart 2 P. or in a shared office? I work in a private office (13%) I work from home (74%) Chart 1 P.

148 The iPhone Developer Survey Part 2 – Developing Apps How did you learn to develop for the iPhone? I'm not a programmer! I attended a course I taught myself I was already proficient in Objective C 0 10 20 Chart 1 P. does it take for your iPhone app to be approved by Apple? . on average. 137 30 40 50 60 How many days.

138 How would you rate the effectiveness of these promotion techniques? Word of Mouth Giving Away Free Promotion Codes An Ongoing Relationship with Bloggers A Well-Written Press Release Spending Money on Advertising 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Irrelevant Not So Effective Quite Effective Very Effective Chart 2 P.149 Perfectly Crafted App Store Listing The iPhone Developer Survey How important are these characteristics for your app to be a success? Low Price Great Interface Design Unique Idea 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Irrelevant Not So Important Quite Important Very Important Chart 1 P. 138 .

139 No. For this question.150 The iPhone Developer Survey Have you ever been featured in an iPhone TV advertisement? Yes! (3%) No.b. Chart 2 P. 139 . Developers could have reached the Top 100 in their local App Store – not necessarily the US App Store. not yet! (76%) n. we didn’t specify the Top 100 in any particular country. not yet (97%) Have you ever reached Apple’s Top 100 ranking? Yes (24%) Chart 1 P.

140 .151 The iPhone Developer Survey What’s the highest you’ve ranked? Have you considered developing for the iPad? No (16%) Yes – I've released an iPad app (29%) Yes – I'm working on one now (55%) Chart 1 P.

152 The iPhone Developer Survey Do you develop for any of the following other mobile platforms? Other Nokia Windows Mobile Blackberry Android 0 5 10 Chart 1 P. 141 15 20 25 30 Do you offer both a free and paid-for version of your application? Yes (25%) No (75%) Chart 2 P. 141 .

142 30 40 50 60 Are you happy with the current state of the App Store? I'm fairly unhappy with the App Store (6%) Everything's great (45%) It has a few problems (49%) .153 The iPhone Developer Survey Will you be using Apple’s “iAd” system? Probably not I'm thinking about it Definitely 0 10 20 Chart 1 P.

I would also formalize an appeal process for rejected apps. reviews and ratings can often be negative and do not reflect the general opinion. I’d give developers better analytics about App Store listing views. what they search for. It’s a black box at the moment. Usually people give a star when they remove an app. In the end. and usually when you remove an app. Here are a few of the best pieces of insight we received: Reviews and star ratings are irrelevant. It is a little bit scary. it’s because you don’t like it. and how they find your app. Apps get rejected every day for what appear to be arbitrary reasons. People tend to share their opinion more often when they are frustrated rather than when they are happy. it would be to make the approval process a lot more open and transparent. . If I could change one thing. what they like. and what they struggle with on a regular basis. Apple has done a very good job at making the entire development process work. spending time and money on developing an app that might never get approved. I have to say something as a person who never even owned a Mac until three months before my first app was approved. I’d also make it easier for people who are looking at an app in iTunes to click buy (on their computer) and have it start downloading immediately over the air to their phone.154 The iPhone Developer Survey What would our respondents like to see change on the App Store? We’ve collected a series of responses from our survey participants about what they’d like to see change on the App Store.

For example. it is a beautiful system for developers of any level. and sends you checks! Yes. This is great – it’s awesome to see large companies turn their focus on such a fun market.155 The iPhone Developer Survey First. and too small to be noticed. and Apple walks you through every step. there are plenty of great applications out there that are simply ignored because they’re too small to market. in the documentation. Ubisoft and all of the other big titles are re-releasing their titles on the App Store to great fanfare and profit. on the Apple Developer website. The process you have to take is straightforward. You make an app. and it’s much harder to make it. and even in the support forums. there are legitimate complaints. My one proposed feature would be to include an additional subdivision in the top lists – highlight the small one to five people development shops. I should be able to contact the reviewer for more information than that included in the rejection letter. Visual Studio). but all in all. if sometimes tedious. Give them the spotlight that they deserve. The whole reason why so many developers flocked to this platform is because it was a indie developer friendly eco-system. the development software is extremely well done. The App Store is very unforgiving to indie developers. get it approved. . EA. And it is free (take that. and everything but advertising is done for you – Apple sells your app worldwide. The downside is that the smaller development shops lose all of that “free press” that was attributed to the Top 100 sections because they’re crowded with large developers. This isn’t so much the case now. if an app is rejected. There is help available in Xcode. The review process needs to be more transparent and accessible.

it would be rejected again for the same bug. . and also by pushing resubmissions to the front of the queue.156 The iPhone Developer Survey I had a problem with my first iPad app where one bug seemed to occur over and over. and every time I fixed it and resubmitted it. I finally discovered that the reviewer was continually reviewing the old version! Things like this could be prevented by allowing me to contact the reviewer.

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how often they update them. the devices they use them on. These participants were all readers of AppStorm. or all manner of other information! In this final part of the survey. we’ve collected responses from over 1. it’s vital to understand just how users experience your software. targeting. This could relate to how they find apps. so feel free to use it as you see fit! .THE iPHONE USER SURVEY As a developer. and what aspects of your application to spend the most time on. how many they buy. Hopefully this information will help you make decisions about promotion.000 iPhone users over the course of one week in July 2010. We’re offering the data for you here.

55 – 64 (1%) 45 – 54 (4%) 35 – 44 (14%)

The iPhone User Survey
What was the age of our participants?
Under 18 (12%)

18 – 24 (33%)

25 – 34 (36%)

Chart 1 P. 146

Which iPhone/iPod touch do you own?
iPod Touch (3rd Generation) iPod Touch (2nd Generation) iPod Touch (1st Generation) iPhone 4 iPhone 3GS iPhone 3G iPhone
0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350

Chart P. 147 n.b. If participants owned more than one of these 1devices, we asked them to select the one that

they used most on a day-to-day basis.


The iPhone User Survey
How many apps do you have on your iPhone?

(Those apps you have actually installed on your iPhone right now.)

How often do you download app updates?
Less than once per week (11%)

Once per week (16%)

Every day (34%)

A few times per week (39%)
Chart 1 P. 148


The iPhone User Survey

Do you use any of the following mobile platforms?



Windows Mobile






Chart 2 P. 148





Do you have any web apps on your iPhone home screen?
What's a web app? (4%) Yes – More than one (33%)

No (42%)

Yes – Just one (21%)
Chart 1 P. 149

150 500 600 700 800 900 How do you feel about iPhone advertising? I'd rather have a free app with advertising (27%) I don't mind (36%) Chart 2 P. 150 I'd rather pay for an ad-free app (37%) .162 The iPhone User Survey How much do you usually spend on iPhone applications each week? $50+ $20 – $50 $10 – $20 $5 – $10 $0 – $5 0 100 200 300 400 Chart 1 P.

do you download a free version of an app before purchasing it? I usually just purchase it (4%) Sometimes (44%) Always (52%) Chart 1 P. 151 .163 The iPhone User Survey What’s the most you have ever paid for an iPhone app? If one is available.

152 How important are ratings when deciding whether to buy an app? I don't pay attention to ratings (2%) Not very important (7%) Very important (48%) A little important (43%) Chart 1 P. 152 .164 Recommendations from Websites Recommendations from Friends The iPhone User Survey How often do you use the following to find a new iPhone app? Searching the App Store Browsing by Category Apple's Top Lists 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 Never Not So Often Quite Often Very Often Chart 1 P.

always put design first. Hopefully this book has provided you with knowledge you didn’t have before. but the satisfaction of watching your application shoot to fame will be worth every minute. Best of luck.CONCLUSION Embarking on the journey of developing an iPhone application is nothing to be taken lightly. and never stop promoting your app with an unrelenting passion. and I’ll see you in the App Store! David Appleyard AppStorm Editor . and equipped you to take your first few steps in the right direction. It won’t be easy. understand the App Store guidelines. don’t be afraid to seek help from others. Spend time crafting your idea. Most of all. keep it simple. don’t forget to enjoy the process from start to finish.

com cocoia.com sophiestication. iPhone users.com shinydevelopment.com bjango.com ego-app.com sencha.com atticapp.com selectstartstudios. Tariq Zaid & Adam McNamara David Heinemeier Hansson & Jason Fried Devin Ross – Attic Sebastiaan de With Garrett Murray Dustin MacDonald Gedeon Maheux – The Iconfactory Lee Mallabone – Broadersheet Sophia Teutschler – Sophiestication Software David Kaneda – Sencha Dave Howell – Avatron glasshouseapps.com avatron.com simplenoteapp.CREDITS This book couldn’t have come together without the help and contribution of many different developers. I’d like to re-iterate my thanks to the following people who helped in various ways: Interviewees Graham Clarke Michael Johnston & Fred Cheng Dave Verwer Sarah Parmenter Marc Edwards Joshua Tessier.com .com iphone.broadersheet.com acrylicapps. and writers.com 37signals.com iconfactory.com youknowwhodesign.

. I really appreciate you taking the time to contribute.Survey Participants Thank you so much to the 80 iPhone developers and 1. 38 http://iphone.net/roundups/developer/the-complete-iphone-development-toolbox/. thank you to Mark Sinkinson who contributed an incredibly useful post to AppStorm entitled “The Complete iPhone Development Toolbox”38. Many of the fantastic links and resources collected by Mark are reproduced in the “Resources” chapter of this book.appstorm. and hope you enjoyed reading the resulting statistics! AppStorm Writers Finally.072 iPhone users that completed our survey.

V413HA V . and Web apps with over 60. loves playing with the latest gadgets from Cupertino. He’s also the editor of Phototuts+. a series of sites relating to Mac.ABOUT THE AUTHOR David Appleyard is part of the Envato team and manager of the AppStorm network. Check out David’s personal website at http://davidappleyard.net.000 daily readers. or follow him on Twitter: @davidappleyard. He built his first website over ten years ago and is passionate about the Internet. and is never without his trusty iPhone. iPhone. blogging. and online business. David lives in Manchester. UK. with his girlfriend Jen. and manages a few other popular blogs including Design Shack.

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