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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

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. 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 .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.

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

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who generously gave up their time and expertise to contribute to this book.MEET THE DEVELOPERS Before we get started. you’ll encounter interviews with sixteen people who have an intimate knowledge of developing for the iPhone. Throughout the book. Their insight is remarkably helpful for starting out on the right track when developing your own application. . 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. designers.

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

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

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

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

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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. we’ll explore the tips and techniques you can employ to craft the perfect iPhone app idea. A well thought through idea is everything. Most of the really successful applications available today either offer something completely unique. or entertain a user in a completely novel way. 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. . In this chapter. or solve an existing problem in a really fantastic manner. 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. Solve someone’s problem in a simple fashion. With hundreds of thousands of applications available on the App Store.

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

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

Fortunately. you don’t always need to wait for a completely new product to take advantage of this. . Launching on Day 1 gives your application a huge advantage. With the iPhone and iPad now available. as there are far fewer competitors crowding your niche. 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. or the first to utilize a new platform or hardware feature. having The Early Edition there on Day One meant that we were on a level playing field right from the start. The Early Edition was one of the first RSS readers available for the iPad. as the opportunity to have your application available to coincide with the launch of a new device is an incredibly rare one. it could be a while before a completely new physical piece of hardware is released by Apple. Hardware and software upgrades often introduce new features that give developers an opportunity. 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. and generally less “clutter” available for that particular device. 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). This type of thinking is important.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. and early adopters were downloading it from the day the iPad App Store opened. It takes time to understand what works and what doesn’t. so be prepared to experiment with a few different projects before you stumble upon one that really takes off.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

Screenshots 7. 3. 2. Rating . Title & Description Icon Links What’s New 5. Your listing is made up of several parts: 1. 4. so we’ll offer a few tips that should help you craft an effective listing.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. Most developers aren’t also skilled in writing sales copy and producing a compelling pitch. Price 6.

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

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

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

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.

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. While it’s no doubt possible to an extent. That said. There have been various examples of people trying to game the system. 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. do everyone a favour and don’t bother. all the time. . 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. Who knows if the majority of customers even read the description or just look at the screenshots. post fake reviews. If you find that your application is receiving a high proportion of negative reviews. high quality application. 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. and bump up their rating artificially. The notion of App Store ratings can be a challenging one. How much is hard to tell.

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

and wait for approval. This is undoubtedly skewed by our “iPhone enthusiast” reader base. but even with that considered. file an update. How Often Do Users Update? In our iPhone user survey. 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. report back to you). we found that 34% of users update their iPhone apps to the latest version every day. Even after that process has completed. and 16% just once per week. That nature of the App Store means that it takes time to fix bugs. 40% complete the process a few times per week. crucially.37 The App Store a group of beta testers who are happy to push your app to the limit (and. 34 . a user still needs to login and download the update you’ve provided.

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

The possibility of featuring your app within an active ecosystem of users and developers is very appealing. I ended up having to use it only a few days after it was released in Ego 2. letting them know about problems beyond your control. . That process was an incredible step forward from apps on previous mobile platforms. Although implementing something along these lines will certainly take a little longer to develop.39 The App Store In fact. You have a method to communicate with users.0. there’s no doubt that it brings a whole range of benefits. 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. it’s a great safeguard. People were immediately gracious about the feature via Twitter because they suddenly knew what was happening and when it would be fixed. The Benefits Despite many people complaining about the constraints and challenges of working within the App Store. and it can make supporting and promoting your application far easier. 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 promoting it through the App Store. Garrett Murray also appreciates the infrastructure of the App Store: The App Store created an entire market overnight. This has become the universal indicator that your app is available through Apple’s marketplace. you had to deal with carriers and other nonsense. Developers seem to have widely accepted this as a fair rate – and rightly so. The App Store is a fantastic infrastructure for getting your application out to users. 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 other 30% cut is taken by Apple in exchange for hosting and distributing your application. you get paid. After purchasing their first app. let’s face it.40 The App Store takes away any ambiguity of where and how to download your application. you receive 70% of the selling price of your application. Dave Howell feels that this is the major benefit of working with the App Store: . handling payment. You submit your app. A Fair Commission Rate As a developer. if you wanted to sell applications for mobile phones (and. and people know exactly where they’ll be taken after clicking it. before the iPhone the urge to do so was much lower). the user knows that the process for any other software will be exactly the same. it sells. it’s fast and you don’t have to deal with any of the payment nonsense. In the past.

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

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

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

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

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

4 .

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

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

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


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

place them in order on the table and start to think about how the user will navigate through your application. If I could split the ideal preparation for planning an iPhone project into a couple of key points. Sometimes the developer will add on time (and therefore budget) for the inevitable unseen features and problems that will be uncovered. ambiguity in the description of what the app needs to do makes the estimation process much more difficult. 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. Just start drawing out screens on separate pieces of paper and laying them out on a large table. or they will underestimate the effort and subsequently find themselves trying to squeeze your development into an unrealistic deadline. 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. You don’t need to have a degree in art to do this – just a pencil and some imagination.53 Making a Development Decision app from a client. As you draw the screens. 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. . as there are quick ways for developers to implement standardised user interfaces within an app. The best way to avoid problems like these is to remove ambiguity from the outset. Draw and Prototype The second step is to start to plan out your app on paper. Using these standard behaviours is also a great way to get a vast amount of functionality for free.

This will lead to them being better equipped to give you a significantly more accurate (and probably cheaper) quote. and thinking about them in this way is a really useful exercise to understand user perspective. Take pictures of all of your pieces of paper and use them as part of the information you provide to the developer. The key aspect to understand is that the interface comes first. and that there will be fewer unseen expectations or hidden features. Mobile apps are very different to web apps or desktop apps. I saw Taptivate had 13 http://shinydevelopment. 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. If you do these things before contacting a developer. 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. but I wasn’t happy with how everything worked. there’s no reason approaching someone else for advice should be a bad thing. . it will give them far greater confidence that you have thought through the app. Even if you’re a competent developer.54 Making a Development Decision Also. 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. Obviously the developer will work with you to do actual designs for the app.com/blog/iphone-screen-design-template-pdf/. Devin Ross worked alongside Taptivate when developing Attic. This might seem like a daunting task.

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

com With 2.000 unique visitors a day and adverts priced at just $99 for 30 days. Listings you post are also shared via their iPhone app.37signals. Some are free.com/categories/6/jobs 37signals have a dedicated section for posting iPhone developer jobs.jobcoin. and others charge you to list the project: 37signals Job Board jobs. .56 Making a Development Decision For the latter route. CocoaDev cocoadev. you can reach a large number of developers for a small payment.com There are always quite a few jobs on offer at GetAppsDone. It currently costs $300 for a 30 day advert. there are a number of different job boards where you can post a position. GetAppsDone GetAppsDone.

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

000 – $25.58 cont’d Making a Development Decision Series 1 $50.000 $10. is not distributed through the App Store.000 – $10.000 – $5. 53 15 20 25 Because our survey was targeted at developers.000 $5. .000 – $50. and runs in the iPhone’s Mobile Safari browser. 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. or investing more into a better polished and functional application. Developing a Web Application The third and final option is to develop a web application – an app that is hosted on the internet.000 $500 – $1. It’s clear that you have a choice of approaching development in a thrifty fashion.000+ $25.000 $1.

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

and 42% of people didn’t have one at all. Do People Use Web Apps? Although the iPhone is perfectly capable of running web apps to an almost-native standard. Awareness (at least among our readers) seemed high.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. 21% had just one.com/webapps/. with only 4% of people answering “What’s a Web App?” 15 http://www. how many users actually use this functionality? We found that 34% of people questioned had more than one web app on their home screen. .apple.

The goal is usually to mimic the iPhone’s native interface as closely as possible. or create an entire payment system within their app. so the user feels that they’re actually using a local application. 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. .phonegap.com. 16 http://www.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. 56 Obviously the main hurdle to overcome when taking this approach is your application interface.

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

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

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

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We’ll also be talking to Sarah Parmenter. Depending upon the type of app you’re creating.THE IMPORTANCE OF SIMPLE. and there are plenty of developers to profile in this section who are doing a great job. you may have less control over the interface than you’d think. a highly talented interface designer with plenty of experience to share. 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. SEXY INTERFACE DESIGN As I’ve already mentioned. interface design is all-important. .

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. we asked people how important they feel each of these four characteristics is for an application to be a success. .ly/bvPM2b. 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. Just How Important is Interface Design? In our developer survey. and move on to offer recommendations for the style of interface you should design. These walk you through the process of planning your application at the outset. The results speak for themselves.67 The Importance of Simple. and it’s the most important guide to read before you get started thinking about your application’s interface and functionality. 61 19 http://bit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sexy Interface Design .74 The Importance of Simple.

Sexy Interface Design I almost always start on paper and then move into Photoshop for the actual design elements. I find that explaining design decisions rather than just sending them a screenshot is always a better way to communicate. it can be a bigger hurdle than you’d expect.75 The Importance of Simple. Designing an iPhone interface isn’t simple. Once I have crafted the UI. 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. .

and spend time thinking about minimum hit size (and correspondingly. how large different interface elements need to be). 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. how the interface should adjust for different orientations. Sexy Interface Design It isn’t just a case of putting together a screen full of pretty graphics. Whether or not you choose to hire an interface designer. 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. but this doesn’t mean that they can also design a beautiful interface (in fact. 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. If you are unsure of what you are doing. 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. and on a shoestring budget. 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.76 The Importance of Simple. I get sketches. . this is hardly ever the case). full wireframes and then betas of apps which need some UI help. I get clients who just have an idea for the app. it’s vitally important that you give this stage of the process the time and investment it deserves. If you do decide to hire an interface designer. You also need to consider how animation and movement should display. the way in which different pages interconnect. You may have hired an incredibly talented developer.

Try to balance eye appeal and clarity of meaning in your icon so that it’s rich and beautiful. rather than trying to include text within the icon. and learn their style and the constraints 22 http://bit. attractive package. and clearly conveys the essence of your application’s purpose. and needs to clearly convey what your application is all about. study them. instantly recognizable. Renowned icon designer Sebastiaan de With had three pieces of great advice to share on this topic: First off. Sexy Interface Design Crafting an Irresistible Icon After you’ve perfected the design. and it can be a very challenging process to get right. 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. It’s impossible to overstate just how important your app icon is – it’s the one element of branding that appears everywhere. 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. Redraw them.77 The Importance of Simple.ly/caLQqX. It’s best to stick with a bold image that conveys your application’s branding. This can include a greater amount of detail than the smaller app 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. you’ll need to start thinking about producing an irresistible icon. look carefully at how Apple designs interfaces and icons.

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

and the high resolution iPhone 4). Apple specifies a number of different required sizes for icons. and you’ll need to provide various resolutions for their different devices (iPhone. then you will probably want to ensure you have a prominent colour. .ly/c4f64Y. but also plenty of detail when the icon is shown large. 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. a recognizable silhouette and something that works very well at small sizes.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. Make sure you fine tune for all sizes. iPad. Sexy Interface Design If you really have to design your icon yourself.

sliders and graphics you need to quickly create mockups of your apps. Some of these are pre-built templates that you can use in Photoshop or Illustrator.com/blog/2009/06/18/iphone-gui-psd-30/ This brilliant Photoshop GUI kit comes with all the different types of buttons. Interfaces and Icons In this short section. we’re going to share a series of links and resources to assist with your own interface design. .80 The Importance of Simple. others are great tools that can help with wireframing and getting your ideas down on paper! iPhone GUI Design teehanlax. 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.

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

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

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

The App Store is full of examples where this process has worked for a developer. now Ego supports eight. I started with three. Garrett Murray started out by only offering statistics for a handful of web applications and services. He’s gradually increased the scope of the application over time: There’s definitely a benefit to starting simple.85 Learning to Keep it Simple and Iterate In a similar vein. release often. With Ego. As the old adage goes. Mint 2 and Twitter). 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. Apple states that “an app must solve a user’s problem clearly and elegantly. And there are several more to come over the next few months. my initial focus was to cover the few services I wanted right off the bat (FeedBurner. helping the user complete it as easily as possible. Most successful projects focus on one simple task. Apple (via Sarah Parmenter. I built the core app with growth in mind so it would be easy to add new services down the road. FOWD London 2010) . when launching Ego.”25 Stripping away all the unnecessary clutter is the absolute best way to achieve this. which is exactly what I’ve been doing over the last year. You’re not making any money if there’s no product out there earning income. release early. 25 Eric Hope – User Experience Evangelist.

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

credit card processing.. or decide to give away your application for free. you’re getting into the App Store business to make money. and distributing your app. Be sure to factor this in. For those of you considering the web app route. so be prepared to wait a little while before the revenue from your sales reaches your bank account. so will the demand placed upon the hardware that you maintain yourself. it’s worth mentioning that the process of deciding how to price and sell your app can be difficult. bandwidth. Apple pays you on a monthly basis.88 Pricing Your App Right Breaking Down Your Revenue In all likelihood. several thousand simultaneous users is still going to pose a problem. Before you pick a pricing model. it’s important to understand Apple’s revenue breakdown clearly. You’ll also need to generate at least $250 worth of sales before Apple will release a payment. As your application grows in popularity. the way that revenue sharing works means that you receive 70% of all sales of your app. Although Apple handles downloads. Even if this is just a simple database. As I’ve mentioned before. With this in mind. etc. Whether this is through direct sales of your app or advertising – the motive is usually the same. and Apple takes a 30% cut in exchange for handling downloads. David Kaneda had the following to say: . you may need to maintain a server that is capable of powering any community features you implement. 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. payment processing.

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). 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 . It really is the best of both worlds. can purchase the adfree version. 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. Those who do. but I’m not sure how comfortable people are with mobile web app subscriptions quite yet. Give your app away for free and generate revenue from advertising or inapp upgrades 2. and still get some return on our investment. Twitterrific is great.89 Pricing Your App Right Pricing is a universal challenge. Many people don’t have any problem with viewing advertisements and for them. or who want to directly support our development efforts. there are two options available to you when deciding how to generate revenue from the App Store: 1. The Pricing Dilemma Broadly speaking. 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. and an ad-free commercial version with additional features. to web and native alike.

44% sometimes try before they buy. Wallet. you should go for it. In this respect. It works in all manner of different niches.readwriteweb. and only 4% “usually just purchase” the full version.90 Pricing Your App Right experience. 52% always download the freebie. This goes some way towards showing the power of this marketing method. If you’re confident enough that a free trial of your application is the best way to persuade users to buy.php. but particularly well for games. It’s important to understand that price alone doesn’t need to be the key motivator to persuade people to buy.99.com/archives/average_price_for_iphone_apps_keeps_falling. . is priced slightly higher than the “baseline” standard for iPhone apps which is which is around $2. pricing becomes something of a marketing technique to persuade people to “try before they buy”. and draws them in to purchase the full application to play further. Do Users Download Trials? We asked our readers whether they download these free application “trials” before purchasing the full version. for instance. Giving away one level lets people get a feel of how the game works.50 in North America. at $4.26 26 http://www.

so it was important to still price Wallet competitively with other standalone apps.99 . Of course.99-$1.99 Low Price $0. there are also a significant number of people who buy Wallet for iPhone yet don’t use the Mac version.99-$4. In general. 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. the type of person using it. We didn’t want to scare these people away. 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. 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.99 App Used Often High Price $4. That being said. people have also become accustomed to fairly low-priced apps in the App Store. If the price tag is higher than $10. price isn’t too much of a concern. they might not even take a look.99-$4. and how often they will use it. The trick is to ensure you charge a price that considers both the functionality of your application.91 Pricing Your App Right I asked the developer what their main considerations are when deciding on a price. our biggest immediate audience is those who use the Mac version of the software. For them. 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+ Mid-Price $1.

it isn’t packed with $0. based around an advertising-supported free version.99 or $10 for an application. the option to do something slightly different. of course. The overall average was $14. 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.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. There is.99 apps. What would we be willing to pay? And like good MBAs. 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. People are absolutely willing to pay a premium for apps that provide value to them. we “maximize demand curve utilization” by experimenting with prices and studying price elasticity. and a yearly subscription to remove advertisements and unlock premium features. This was done in an effort to move beyond a traditional pricing model: . Simplenote’s pricing model is particularly interesting. A few people had never paid for an app. and a few had paid up to $100. By far the most common response was around the $10 mark.58. If you take a look at the top grossing list.

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

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

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

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

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

More screenshots than on the App Store page are a must. I always liked the way Apple does these kind of videos by coupling the tutorial with emotion. a product website should go beyond what the App Store page offers. both of these techniques can work well. Sophia Teutschler has a few interesting thoughts to share: In my opinion. . but several tutorial videos work best. Balloons!27 Generally speaking. Most important are ways to show what the app does without relying on a demo version. For smaller apps. The important thing to remember is that simply tacking another page onto your existing site isn’t enough. 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.com. You need to create something that carries the style and branding of your application onto the web.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. 27 http://balloonsapp.

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

A piece of software that changes your mouse cursor into something more useful for a demo video.com It’s obvious that the same care and attention went into these websites as did the applications themselves. For some more great examples. Camtasia. 2. Jing. . or any other similar app. and makes the iPhone Simulator more 28 http://iphone. There’s no easy way to record video from your iPhone directly.net/roundups/design/40-stunning-iphone-developer-websites/.appstorm. but there are a few clever tools to achieve something similar using the iPhone Simulator on your desktop. You’ll need three things: 1. Your favorite screen recording application – Screenflow. take a look at one of our recent posts on iPhone.28 Quick Guide: Creating a Video Demo One important element to get right is the video demonstration.101 The Perfect Promotion Mix rampchamp.AppStorm.

but PhoneFinger30 also does the trick. Generating Launch “Buzz” “Buzz” is a vague concept. 3.com/atebits/SimFinger. running through a few of the app’s features (keep it short and snappy). Your compiled app. and add a layer of gloss over the simulator display. 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. It’s easy to see when another application has it – the Internet lights up with mentions of a particular app. developer. I’d recommend SimFinger in particular. SimFinger29 is a great solution. 4. . Far more people will be likely to pay for your app if they can see it in action before they buy. and adding any final extras in a piece of video editing software such as iMovie. But how do you start this process in motion for your own creation? 29 30 http://github.102 The Perfect Promotion Mix realistic. or website. change the carrier to something more realistic than “Carrier”. http://www. as it has the ability to add other application icons to your iPhone home screen.com/phonefinger/. running in Xcode’s iPhone Simulator It’s then just a case of recording the portion of your screen containing the iPhone Simulator. You can overlay your own audio commentary later if you decide to. and embed it into your website for everyone to see.wonderwarp.

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

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

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

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. If you’re app is selling over 1. being featured isn’t nearly as good as being in that Top 25.106 The Perfect Promotion Mix The idea of building up a community during development. Generally speaking. so being featured here is a great way to fuel sales and ignite a catalyst effect. Many iPhone users browse these as a guide to what’s new and popular on the App Store. Being a featured app definitely helps. 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 . it takes more and more effort or “push” to reach the top lists. you have an established base of people ready to buy your application. if not triple them. offering “sneak peaks”. if your app is selling 300-800 copies a day. 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. the increased visibility serves to increase sales. You can sit in the list for a while if you have a good product. and keeping people informed can be a great technique. Typically this will at least double your sales. at least for a short while. It means that when you do come to flip the switch. and maintain your position.000 then you’re probably in the Top 50. Dave Verwer also had a few statistics to share on this subject. then you’re probably in the Top 100 somewhere. However. then you are on the path to a really successful launch. and how being a “Featured” app affects interest: As the App Store grows and more apps are added. Once you’re there.

107 The Perfect Promotion Mix example though. What better way to find out how users find new applications than just to ask them? That’s what we did. When we were in the top half of the Top 100 charts. 98 . and now we are in the bottom half of those charts we are getting between 600 and 800 downloads per day. 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. 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. 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.

it can often feel that reaching any form of “Top List” is impossible. we spoke to Dave Howell from Avatron: We’ve had good luck with the rankings. but generally has been over $15. So far. Admittedly. Users tend to utilize all these methods to some extent. even if a few are explored more regularly than others. no one method had a particularly high number of people “never” using it. this outcome could be slightly biased as most respondents found the survey through AppStorm – an iPhone software website! Finally. Air Sharing HD.000 per day. three of our apps (Air Sharing. we asked respondents whether they’d ever reached Apple’s Top 100: . along with Apple’s Top Lists. In our developer survey. Far fewer browse through the different categories within the App Store. Do I Have Any Chance of Reaching the Top 100? With so many different applications in the App Store. and Air Display) have reached the position of #1 top grossing third-party app. The number of sales required to hit that mark has changed over time. Interestingly.108 cont’d The Perfect Promotion Mix A large proportion of readers find recommendations from websites useful. This suggests that it’s certainly worth promoting your application through all these avenues – particularly approaching blogs and websites.

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

canabalt.110 The Perfect Promotion Mix You can use this fact to your advantage when designing an application.com. The power of word-of-mouth shouldn’t be overlooked. and require that a user connects to their social media account in order to use it. this could take on the idea implemented by the developers of Canabalt. this type of social integration can mean than your users help to promote your application for you. for sharing statistics and achievements. People’s recommendation of your application – whether done explicitly. 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. In its most basic form. or through 33 http://www.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. or playing along with your friends. Whichever method you use. . Many successful apps have a way to link your Facebook/Twitter account with the software.

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


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!

As you invest time talking to users about your application and helping them with problems. .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”. Don’t be afraid to put your name and other information next to your product. be proud of it. We’ve mentioned the importance of your App Store rating before. It’s incredible how appreciative people are when they can easily contact a real person and get a direct and honest response. For Headquarters specifically. It may consume a little more of your time handling these things personally. you’ll build up a greater understanding about which areas of your application are in need of refinement. You built it. talking to people on Twitter and even taking phone calls. As a result. It’s almost guaranteed that people will try to get in touch with you for whatever reason. we divide support requests throughout the entire team. we offer support in many ways: we have a support forum and we’re always reachable by direct e-mail and Twitter. It will become obvious when certain functionality isn’t clear. and the level of post-sales support you give can have a big impact on this. or that users want to be able to do something extra that your app isn’t capable of. We all take turns answering e-mails. 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. 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. don’t make it hard on them.

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

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.com. A few years ago. but any opportunity to talk to a group of people about your new creation is a great one. but steady quality updates throughout the year keeps the app fresh and your customers happy. This isn’t a requirement – many successful apps are updated very infrequently after any initial bugs are ironed out. 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. Updates could be used to fix any pending issues. Sophie Teutschler feels that this is a necessity: Keeping the updates coming is the best thing you can do. 36 http://carsonified. or add requested features. I watched the developers of Broadersheet pitch to a panel at a Carsonified36 “Future of Web Apps” event.117 The Perfect Promotion Mix In addition to offering support. users like to see your application updated on a fairly regular basis. I asked them how this process worked. . This doesn’t need to be a huge event. There’s no need to update your app every month. you need to make sure your app is submitted and approved well ahead of schedule in order to best capitalize on the exposure. 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. and it was very well received.

so don’t invest too much energy into this route! Chart 1 P. 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. This can also be a good place to meet likeminded developers and share advice. The least effective method was a “well written press release”.118 The Perfect Promotion Mix It needn’t necessarily be a conference for hundreds of people. Many cities have local iPhone/OS X user and developer groups. 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. and are always looking for new people to come and talk about their latest creation. 110 . This is followed by an ongoing relationship with bloggers.

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The rest of this chapter will walk you through a huge spectrum of useful resources. it’s time to get started! But. Hopefully you’ll feel well equipped to get the process started. books and conferences that offer a helping hand with getting started in the App Store. websites. podcasts. 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. and step confidently onto the path towards becoming an iPhone app entrepreneur! .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

tipb. If a few beers are involved as well. These conferences are a great opportunity to hear some inspiring speakers. Apple have their own list of user groups. . game development.128 iPhone Dev Forums http://www. TiPb iPhone Developer Forum http://forum. It’s also worth looking out for meet-ups in your local area. web apps and also advice on app promotion. and general Apple and iPhone news. Conferences There’s no replacement to sitting down and talking about your latest iPhone development project with other developers.com/forum/ Useful Resources Get help with coding the iPhone SDK.37 or you can just Google for local developers and set something going yourself! 37 http://appleusergroupresources. and chat with other developers. Covering everything from basic development to tutorials. so much the better. iPhone World http://forum. and topics centering around the App Store.000 members.iphoneworld.com/?page_id=394.iphonedevforums. iPhone Dev SDK http://www.com/forum/ A massive forum with over 22. and the legal side of coding apps.ca/ A large forum with over 20. technical iPhone development.000 members.iphonedevsdk.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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

don’t expect a gold rush. If you make a quality product. don’t churn out a load of crappy apps – aspire for one great one! Dustin MacDonald – Wallet Don’t forget to innovate. Thirdly – as corny as it might sound – don’t give up. Feedback is so important when developing apps. It takes hard work and more than a few attempts before you’ll probably have a moderate hit. the App Store will notice. find a great partner. 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. 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 you’ll probably see some success. and it fills a badly needed niche. Just don’t give up! Glasshouse Apps Firstly.e. When I looked at the sales figures for Barista’s first day on the App Store. Secondly – listen to your customers. I’ve been really fortunate to have had excellent partnerships on my apps. Your app should always do something exceptionally new and exciting if you want to stand out. But 18 months later. I can say that . Gedeon Maheux – The Iconfactory Don’t get discouraged. keep at it.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. i. I almost threw in the towel right there. That being said.

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

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

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

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we aim to answer all your questions. Like we did. We’ve surveyed over 80 individual iPhone developers and companies to gather a comprehensive set of statistics that shed light on the App Store. . 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. 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.

132 .000+ (4%) 500 – 1.142 The iPhone Developer Survey Part 1 – Business and Company How many hours does it generally take to develop an iPhone application? 1.000 (9%) Less than 100 (19%) 250 – 500 (22%) 100 – 250 (46%) Chart 1 P.

132 25 30 35 40 45 Are you aiming to grow your company’s staff. 133 .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. or are you happy with your current size? We're happy as we are! (50%) We're looking to grow (50%) Chart 1 P.

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

134 .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. 134 Could you make a living solely from your iPhone app’s revenue? Yes (19%) Not yet (81%) Chart 2 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.

or in a shared office? I work in a private office (13%) I work from home (74%) Chart 1 P. 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.147 I work in a shared office (13%) The iPhone Developer Survey Do you work from home.

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. 137 30 40 50 60 How many days. on average. does it take for your iPhone app to be approved by Apple? .

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 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. 138 .

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

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. 140 .

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.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 .

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.

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

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

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. . it would be rejected again for the same bug. and also by pushing resubmissions to the front of the queue. and every time I fixed it and resubmitted it.156 The iPhone Developer Survey I had a problem with my first iPad app where one bug seemed to occur over and over.

12 .

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

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.

151 .163 The iPhone User Survey What’s the most you have ever paid for an iPhone app? If one is available. 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.

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. 152 . 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.

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

broadersheet. 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 selectstartstudios. and writers.com ego-app. iPhone users.com atticapp.com iconfactory.com youknowwhodesign. 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.CREDITS This book couldn’t have come together without the help and contribution of many different developers.com bjango.com sophiestication.com cocoia.com iphone.com sencha.com shinydevelopment.com simplenoteapp.com avatron.com acrylicapps.com 37signals.

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

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

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