iPhone App Entrepreneur | App Store (I Os) | Mobile App

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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

APIs and Frameworks 120 121 121 124 125 126 127 128 130 One Piece of Advice Words of Wisdom 134 135 The iPhone Developer Survey Part 1 – Business and Company Part 2 – Developing Apps 141 142 148 The iPhone User Survey Conclusion Credits About the Author 158 165 166 168 . Word of Mouth Top Notch Support and Regular Updates Conquer Your Stage Fright 97 98 101 102 106 109 111 113 115 117 Useful Resources Apple’s Documentation Books Screencasts Podcasts Blogs and Websites Forums Conferences Development Libraries.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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nor is it very appropriate on a mobile device. Although all of that information is valuable. Rather than having an overwhelming application. and regularly promote these iPhone apps to their users. I could talk about how the underlying API may one day change or disappear all together. remain in the loop and stay focused.19 Perfecting a Killer Idea 37signals makes a range of productivity tools for businesses. we had to make the tough decision as to what goes in and what does not. a dashboard for a single project and the ability to manage multiple accounts within the application. Headquarters is one such iPhone app built around the 37signals API that provides a mobile interface to Basecamp. you have a simple. or I could talk about all of the small implementation details. As a . 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. 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. Rather than building another Basecamp application that simply exposed all of its data on the iPhone. The results speak for themselves. 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. we decided to focus the application on users who want to “get things done” and cut out anything that was superfluous. software that is perfectly suited for use on the iPhone. we focused on three (and only three) major features: a dashboard that combines data from all of your projects. I asked the developer. This is mainly because Basecamp has an extremely rich API that provides access to a wealth of information. When we were building Headquarters. it’s simply not enough to take that information and put a pretty face on it. They’ve encouraged developers to create applications around their software.

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

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

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

24 Getting Started

The App Store

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

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

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


The App Store

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

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

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

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


The App Store

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

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

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

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

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

3. Screenshots 7. so we’ll offer a few tips that should help you craft an effective listing. Rating . 4. 2. Most developers aren’t also skilled in writing sales copy and producing a compelling pitch. Your listing is made up of several parts: 1. Price 6.30 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. Title & Description Icon Links What’s New 5.

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

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

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

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.

If you find that your application is receiving a high proportion of negative reviews. The notion of App Store ratings can be a challenging one. 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. high quality application. There have been various examples of people trying to game the system. . That said. all the time.35 The App Store The best way to earn a good rating is to create a bug-free. Who knows if the majority of customers even read the description or just look at the screenshots. do everyone a favour and don’t bother. post fake reviews. How much is hard to tell. 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. and something that you need to get right in order to persuade iPhone users to pay for your application. While it’s no doubt possible to an extent. 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.

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

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

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

You have a method to communicate with users. 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. there’s no doubt that it brings a whole range of benefits. Although implementing something along these lines will certainly take a little longer to develop. . 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. and it can make supporting and promoting your application far easier.39 The App Store In fact. The Benefits Despite many people complaining about the constraints and challenges of working within the App Store. People were immediately gracious about the feature via Twitter because they suddenly knew what was happening and when it would be fixed. That process was an incredible step forward from apps on previous mobile platforms. 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. letting them know about problems beyond your control.0. it’s a great safeguard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 .

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

000 – $5. or investing more into a better polished and functional application.000 $1. is not distributed through the App Store.000 – $50. . Developing a Web Application The third and final option is to develop a web application – an app that is hosted on the internet.000 $5.000+ $25.000 – $25. we expected to see that many people would be able to produce iPhone apps for a relatively low cost – investing only their own time. 53 15 20 25 Because our survey was targeted at developers. It’s clear that you have a choice of approaching development in a thrifty fashion.000 $500 – $1.58 cont’d Making a Development Decision Series 1 $50. and runs in the iPhone’s Mobile Safari browser.000 $10.000 $1 – $500 Just my own time 0 5 10 Series 1 Chart 1 P.000 – $10.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

we asked people how important they feel each of these four characteristics is for an application to be a success. and move on to offer recommendations for the style of interface you should design. Just How Important is Interface Design? In our developer survey. These walk you through the process of planning your application at the outset. 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. .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.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. The results speak for themselves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sexy Interface Design .74 The Importance of Simple.

Once I have crafted the UI. There are unique challenges associated with the interfaces of mobile devices – even if you feel comfortable in Photoshop and Illustrator. Designing an iPhone interface isn’t simple.75 The Importance of Simple. it can be a bigger hurdle than you’d expect. . 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. 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.

Sexy Interface Design It isn’t just a case of putting together a screen full of pretty graphics. I get sketches. how the interface should adjust for different orientations. the way in which different pages interconnect. and spend time thinking about minimum hit size (and correspondingly. it’s vitally important that you give this stage of the process the time and investment it deserves. how large different interface elements need to be). . but this doesn’t mean that they can also design a beautiful interface (in fact. full wireframes and then betas of apps which need some UI help. This means that graphics will use more pixels for the same effective artwork size – something your interface design should take advantage of. 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. All of those mentioned require varying degrees of work and budget allocation. If you do decide to hire an interface designer.76 The Importance of Simple. 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. so a developer would need to be sensible when approaching a UI designer as to what their budget is and how they want to spend it. and on a shoestring budget. I get clients who just have an idea for the app. Whether or not you choose to hire an interface designer. You may have hired an incredibly talented developer. You also need to consider how animation and movement should display. 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. If you are unsure of what you are doing. this is hardly ever the case).

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

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

Apple specifies a number of different required sizes for icons. too. but also plenty of detail when the icon is shown large. a recognizable silhouette and something that works very well at small sizes.79 The Importance of Simple.ly/c4f64Y. then you will probably want to ensure you have a prominent colour. and the high resolution iPhone 4). Make sure you fine tune for all sizes. Sexy Interface Design If you really have to design your icon yourself. . iPad. You’ll definitely need to fix and tweak your final 57x57 pixel (iPhone) or 72x72 pixel (iPad) home screen design. 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. and you’ll need to provide various resolutions for their different devices (iPhone.

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

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

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

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

helping the user complete it as easily as possible. now Ego supports eight. I built the core app with growth in mind so it would be easy to add new services down the road. FOWD London 2010) . my initial focus was to cover the few services I wanted right off the bat (FeedBurner. The App Store is full of examples where this process has worked for a developer. when launching Ego. With Ego. Apple states that “an app must solve a user’s problem clearly and elegantly. release often. Most successful projects focus on one simple task. Apple (via Sarah Parmenter. Garrett Murray started out by only offering statistics for a handful of web applications and services. 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. 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.”25 Stripping away all the unnecessary clutter is the absolute best way to achieve this. Mint 2 and Twitter). And there are several more to come over the next few months. release early. I started with three. 25 Eric Hope – User Experience Evangelist. As the old adage goes.85 Learning to Keep it Simple and Iterate In a similar vein. He’s gradually increased the scope of the application over time: There’s definitely a benefit to starting simple.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

. pay for an ad-free app. which re-enforces the choice of many developers to offer both routes. sorry to disappoint! The results are incredibly evenly split. It’s good to know about.95 Pricing Your App Right display their advertisements in applications such as Byline. and focuses mainly on designcentric services. This is an “invite only” advertising network. if they’d rather have a free app with advertising. though. with the ability to turn off advertisements for a fee. Textie and Trackthepack. Simplenote. What Do Users Think About Advertising? We asked our iPhone users how they feel about iPhone advertising. 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. 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.

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

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

a product website should go beyond what the App Store page offers. 27 http://balloonsapp.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. I always liked the way Apple does these kind of videos by coupling the tutorial with emotion. Sophia Teutschler has a few interesting thoughts to share: In my opinion. . More screenshots than on the App Store page are a must. 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. Most important are ways to show what the app does without relying on a demo version. Balloons!27 Generally speaking. For smaller apps.com. You need to create something that carries the style and branding of your application onto the web. both of these techniques can work well. but several tutorial videos work best.

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

com It’s obvious that the same care and attention went into these websites as did the applications themselves. or any other similar app. Your favorite screen recording application – Screenflow. A piece of software that changes your mouse cursor into something more useful for a demo video. There’s no easy way to record video from your iPhone directly.net/roundups/design/40-stunning-iphone-developer-websites/. take a look at one of our recent posts on iPhone. and makes the iPhone Simulator more 28 http://iphone.AppStorm.101 The Perfect Promotion Mix rampchamp. Camtasia.appstorm. For some more great examples. You’ll need three things: 1. but there are a few clever tools to achieve something similar using the iPhone Simulator on your desktop. . 2.28 Quick Guide: Creating a Video Demo One important element to get right is the video demonstration. Jing.

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

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

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

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

if not triple them. then you’re probably in the Top 100 somewhere. and keeping people informed can be a great technique. If you’re app is selling over 1.106 The Perfect Promotion Mix The idea of building up a community during development. You can sit in the list for a while if you have a good product. I asked The Iconfactory to share a few statistics about how many sales it takes to reach the Top 10 rankings in the App Store. 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. I can give a recent . Being a featured app definitely helps. Once you’re there. It means that when you do come to flip the switch. it takes more and more effort or “push” to reach the top lists. Many iPhone users browse these as a guide to what’s new and popular on the App Store. However. and how being a “Featured” app affects interest: As the App Store grows and more apps are added. then you are on the path to a really successful launch. offering “sneak peaks”. and maintain your position. Typically this will at least double your sales. Reaching Apple’s Top Lists If you’re able to gather enough promotion to push your application into one of Apple’s Top Lists.000 then you’re probably in the Top 50. Generally speaking. you have an established base of people ready to buy your application. so being featured here is a great way to fuel sales and ignite a catalyst effect. the increased visibility serves to increase sales. at least for a short while. if your app is selling 300-800 copies a day. Dave Verwer also had a few statistics to share on this subject. being featured isn’t nearly as good as being in that Top 25.

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. and now we are in the bottom half of those charts we are getting between 600 and 800 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. 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. we were getting between 1300 and 1600 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.107 The Perfect Promotion Mix example though. 98 .

Air Sharing HD. Users tend to utilize all these methods to some extent. Do I Have Any Chance of Reaching the Top 100? With so many different applications in the App Store. In our developer survey. along with Apple’s Top Lists. So far. we asked respondents whether they’d ever reached Apple’s Top 100: . and Air Display) have reached the position of #1 top grossing third-party app. Far fewer browse through the different categories within the App Store. 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.108 cont’d The Perfect Promotion Mix A large proportion of readers find recommendations from websites useful. even if a few are explored more regularly than others. Interestingly. The number of sales required to hit that mark has changed over time.000 per day. Admittedly. we spoke to Dave Howell from Avatron: We’ve had good luck with the rankings. it can often feel that reaching any form of “Top List” is impossible. This suggests that it’s certainly worth promoting your application through all these avenues – particularly approaching blogs and websites. three of our apps (Air Sharing. but generally has been over $15.

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

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

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


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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

11 .

THE iPHONE DEVELOPER SURVEY It often feels as though there’s a mystical shroud hovering over developers operating in the App Store. We’ve surveyed over 80 individual iPhone developers and companies to gather a comprehensive set of statistics that shed light on the App Store. I’m sure you have all manner of questions running around your head. concerns and doubts about embarking on this process. . 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. we aim to answer all your questions. Like we did.

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. 132 .000 (9%) Less than 100 (19%) 250 – 500 (22%) 100 – 250 (46%) Chart 1 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.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. 133 . 132 25 30 35 40 45 Are you aiming to grow your company’s staff.

what is the financial cost of developing an iPhone app? $50.000 $10.000 $1.000 – $10.000 $500 – $1.000 – $50.000 $1 – $500 Just my own time 0 5 10 Chart 2 P.144 The iPhone Developer Survey In your experience.000 – $5. 133 15 20 25 What is your total monthly revenue from sales of iPhone apps in USD? .000+ $25.000 – $25.000 $5.

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.

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. 135 How many hours do you spend on support each day? .

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

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

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 .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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

12 .

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

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.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. 150 I'd rather pay for an ad-free app (37%) .

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

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.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.

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

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

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

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

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