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Foreword Meet the Developers
And the Developers are...
Perfecting a Killer Idea
Brainstorming Techniques Be the First Be Better, or Different
12 14 16 18
Building Your App Around a Service
The App Store
Getting Started Your Product Definition Statement Choosing an Application Style The Approval Process How to Craft an Effective App Store Listing Dealing with Crashes, Errors, and Bugs The Benefits The Challenges
24 24 25 28 30 36 39 42 48 52 58 64
Making a Development Decision
Developing Your Own Native App Hiring a Developer Developing a Web Application
Quick Guide: Creating an iPhone Optimized Site
The Importance of Simple, Sexy Interface Design
Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines Why Is Sexy Interface Design So Important? The Interface Design Process Crafting an Irresistible Icon Design Kits, Interfaces and Icons
67 69 72 77 80
Learning to Keep it Simple and Iterate
Iteration in Action
Pricing Your App Right
Breaking Down Your Revenue The Pricing Dilemma Advertising Options
88 89 93
2 The Perfect Promotion Mix Perfecting Your Website Quick Guide: Creating a Video Demo Generating Launch “Buzz” Reaching Apple’s Top Lists Go Social With Your App Connecting With Users Advertising vs. APIs and Frameworks 120 121 121 124 125 126 127 128 130 One Piece of Advice Words of Wisdom 134 135 The iPhone Developer Survey Part 1 – Business and Company Part 2 – Developing Apps 141 142 148 The iPhone User Survey Conclusion Credits About the Author 158 165 166 168 . Word of Mouth Top Notch Support and Regular Updates Conquer Your Stage Fright 97 98 101 102 106 109 111 113 115 117 Useful Resources Apple’s Documentation Books Screencasts Podcasts Blogs and Websites Forums Conferences Development Libraries.
the fact remains that becoming an overnight App Store phenomenon is difficult. this guide will equip you with everything you need to successfully become an iPhone app entrepreneur. nor will it teach you the ins and outs of programming for the iPhone.000 iPhone users. and I hope you enjoy the journey! David Appleyard AppStorm Editor . and it’s a tough market to succeed in. and in-depth insight from a handful of incredibly talented iPhone developers. and many are leveraging that opportunity to make thousands of dollars every day. 2008 to much fanfare and drama. Good luck. get the most from the App Store. This book won’t give you a killer idea. Many developers struggle to achieve great success with their application. over three billion applications have been downloaded. it has rocketed to success over the past two years. iPod touch® and iPad™. make smart decisions about development. Drawing on survey responses from over 1. At the time of writing this. it isn’t enough just to have a decent idea and some programming knowledge. Opening up a marketplace for software developers to target the iPhone®.FOREWORD The iTunes® App StoreSM launched on July 10th. and promote your app successfully. Developers have the ability to easily reach millions of users through a central marketplace. Unfortunately. craft a stunning interface. If you’re wanting to strike it big as an app entrepreneur. despite the occasional success story. The potential for success has proven to be phenomenal. What it will do is provide you with all the knowledge and technique you need to spot a great opportunity.
designers. and App Store entrepreneurs who helped to make this guide possible. Their insight is remarkably helpful for starting out on the right track when developing your own application. I want to offer a special thank you to the developers. Throughout the book. who generously gave up their time and expertise to contribute to this book.MEET THE DEVELOPERS Before we get started. . you’ll encounter interviews with sixteen people who have an intimate knowledge of developing for the iPhone. 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.
com Dave has years of Mac development experience under his belt. a brilliantly unique RSS reader.com Simplenote is. she has worked on a number of beautiful iPhone applications. .6 Meet the Developers And the Developers are. Graham has seen recent success with the release of The Early Edition for the iPad. a wonderful way to take simple notes and keep them synchronized between multiple apps and services. Michael Johnston & Fred Cheng – Simplenote simplenoteapp. Graham Clarke – Glasshouse Apps glasshouseapps.com Sarah is the talented designer behind You Know Who.com Glasshouse Apps started out with Barista and Cellar. An expert in iPhone UI design. as the name suggests. and to manage your wine library. a web design and development studio based in Leigh-on-Sea. By far and away the best note taking application for the iPhone.. and knows everything there is to know about programming and development! Sarah Parmenter – You Know Who youknowwhodesign. Essex. Dave Verwer – Shiny Development shinydevelopment. He runs a number of different Mac user groups. two unique applications to help you make a great cup of coffee.. and developed the popular iPhone game “Balloons”.
and working with the App Store. . Tariq Zaid & Adam McNamara – Select Start Studios selectstartstudios.com Meet the Developers Bjango create wonderfully designed apps both for the Mac. and iPhone.com Developers of a range of online business productivity software. Another of their applications. Their unique illustration style and interface design sets them apart from many other developers. provides an additional way to add push notification support to your iPhone. Devin Ross – Attic atticapp. David Heinemeier Hansson & Jason Fried – 37signals 37signals. 37signals have over three million users and a passion for keeping things simple. including iStat Menus and the incredibly useful “Consume”. Joshua Tessier.com Select Start Studios are the developers behind Headquarters. AppNotify. An expanding ecosystem of companion iPhone apps have sprung up over the past few years. collaborating with other developers. a popular Basecamp application for the iPhone. and they seem to have an endless stream of fantastic ideas. iPad.com Attic is a slick music controller for all those unplayed albums that are collecting dust sitting in your iTunes library. and 37signals have recently taken the plunge into the App Store themselves.7 Marc Edwards – Bjango bjango. Devin has some interesting information to share about promoting your app.
and automatically login to your favorite websites. His creation for the iPhone. filmmaker. stunning icons. Dustin MacDonald acrylicapps. Garrett Murray ego-app. and Icon Resource. the company behind apps such as Twitteriffic. an icon design service responsible for some of the best Mac app icons. you should.com Dustin is the developer behind the delightfully designed “Wallet” for Mac and iPhone.broadersheet. It . offering beautiful stats for a range of web services. Gedeon Maheux – The Iconfactory iconfactory. and Frenzic.com Meet the Developers Sebastiaan runs Cocoia. a personalised newspaper for your iPhone. Lee Mallabone – Broadersheet iphone. Ramp Champ.com Garrett Murray is a developer.8 Sebastiaan de With cocoia. blogger. Wallet offers a central place to store your personal information.com Gedeon works for The Iconfactory. podcaster. is any web designer’s best friend. beautiful products and innovative projects. a site for learning how to design icons yourself. These include Icon Designer. seamlessly sync it with your Mac. Ego. If you’ve never tried any of their apps. a company that creates novel. and addictive user experience.com Lee Mallabone is one of the developers behind Broadersheet. and general all-rounder. They’re renowned for gorgeous interface design.
In this chapter. . we’ll explore the tips and techniques you can employ to craft the perfect iPhone app idea. With hundreds of thousands of applications available on the App Store. Often the first hurdle met by developers is how to come up with a successful idea. I don’t think this theory holds a great deal of weight. or solve an existing problem in a really fantastic manner. and you’re on the road to success. A well thought through idea is everything. and that it’s the execution and persistence that makes an application successful.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. or entertain a user in a completely novel way. 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.
• Logging into a number of different services to check all my website statistics takes ages.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/. Each is a real problem faced by many people. Price comparison websites are great. This is the type of thought process many developers go through. problems and annoyances you face on a daily basis. As it turns out. Perhaps begin by listing the challenges. I wish there was an easier way to do this automatically. how do you come up with new ideas? 1 2 3 http://www. they have a few tricks up their sleeve. 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. I asked Bjango: As a company with several different applications. RedLaser2. Although you may find that an idea just “comes to you” at the time you least expect it. It would be good to have one central place where all this information is automatically downloaded. . http://redlaser.com/tipulator/.sophiestication. then consider how they could be solved with a suitable iPhone app. brainstorming and proactively considering new ideas can be a worthwhile task. and Ego3 respectively). Here are a few examples: • • I always struggle to calculate a suitable tip to leave at a restaurant.com/. http://ego-app. but they aren’t much use when I’m out at the store.
Once I’ve established a few initial ideas that I think have merit. . You might be passionate about the wing span of a mosquito. It’s the simple notion that if there’s something we need ourselves. The former offers advice on how to craft the perfect coffee. It’s important to have a big list to work from. 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. I asked the developer how they chose which of their ideas to take forward for development.13 Perfecting a Killer Idea Most of our ideas are born from necessity—the result of a lightbulb moment while trying to do something the hard way. There are notable examples of developers ticking all the boxes and then falling dramatically short of their own expectations. hopefully others will too. success certainly isn’t guaranteed. but if no one else is. as even a small app can take a month to develop. it’s going to be harder to stay motivated down the track. and the latter gives you a virtual “wine cellar” in the palm of your hand. It’s also important to remember that you don’t necessarily need to focus on solving a problem faced by every iPhone user. so you don’t end up working on a dud idea. It’s critical the best ideas are the only apps you produce. Concentrating all your energy on a specific niche and offering a valuable service for a select few people can be equally successful. If I’m not inspired by an idea. it’s time to do some research and make sure there’s a market for it. then you’re fighting an uphill battle! Even if you think you have a brilliant idea and a solid market. and The Early Edition for the iPad. and I’m only pursuing it because I think it might sell well. including Barista and Cellar for the iPhone. We keep a long list of possible app ideas.
and early adopters were downloading it from the day the iPad App Store opened. you don’t always need to wait for a completely new product to take advantage of this. Hardware and software upgrades often introduce new features that give developers an opportunity. so be prepared to experiment with a few different projects before you stumble upon one that really takes off. The Early Edition was one of the first RSS readers available for the iPad. having The Early Edition there on Day One meant that we were on a level playing field right from the start. Launching on Day 1 gives your application a huge advantage. Fortunately. This type of thinking is important. With the iPhone and iPad now available.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. or the first to utilize a new platform or hardware feature. 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). . 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. 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. It takes time to understand what works and what doesn’t. 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. it could be a while before a completely new physical piece of hardware is released by Apple. and generally less “clutter” available for that particular device.
People already have music on their iPhones. Devin Ross. saw this as a great opportunity: When iPhone OS 3. I watched the Apple developer videos on the ingredients of a good iPhone application. Documentation is always available well in advance of a new software update or device being released. but the multi-touch gestures and the shake notifications. so I knew I had to make my app achieve a specific goal. My product definition statement read as such: “an easy to use application to find albums in your library that aren’t played often”. you need your own map information. That application turned into something similar to the photo flicking apps on the App Store where you can throw around and rotate album covers. With something like maps.15 Perfecting a Killer Idea One such new feature in iPhone OS 3 was the ability to access the iPhone’s iTunes library. or opens up new functionality for developers to exploit. I spent a lot of time looking into the new additions to the SDK. For people like me that like to listen to entire albums at a time.com/technologies/iphone/whats-new. I initially made a simple application to explore not only the music API. this concept was exciting. Apple regularly adds new hardware and software features. Here’s an example of the new API features available in iOS 4 (formerly known as iPhone OS4):4 4 http://developer. .0 came out. I came up with the concept of Attic. Writing that application helped me learn a lot in many different areas. so it’s worth taking the time to see whether you can spot a new opportunity. The music API was appealing because the data was already there.apple. Apple had already made a great player for your entire collection. Attic developer.html. After looking further into the API. I investigated the new APIs like maps and mail composition. I then set my mind on creating something that could be a worthwhile application.
being first certainly isn’t everything. or Different While important. The first version offered. The same is true for application development.16 Perfecting a Killer Idea Whenever a new software release is announced. less functionality than many competing devices. 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. It was all about the style and execution of the concept. you can look for a page such as this and brainstorm a list of application ideas that weren’t possible previously. Be Better. The iPhone itself is a wonderful example of this.
very few are of the same level of quality as Apple’s own bundled software. Another application that executes a small piece of functionality in a wonderful way is Birdhouse. Birdhouse is simply a place to work on draft messages and publish (or unpublish) them. is to reach for that same quality experience in our own apps. With . or more fun. Focusing strongly on the user experience can be a great way to ensure your app stands out from the crowd. This functionality works because it places emphasis on only one task. then no. retains a simple interface. but it quickly established itself as the best-in-class due to the thought that went into its design. Something we’ve always tried to do. works reliably. you’ve probably got something. whether on the Mac or iPhone. “killer idea”: If killer idea means something awfully clever. choosing simplicity over new features time and time again in their software. or more efficient. Although there are now hundreds of thousands of third-party apps on the App Store. Most people buy Apple products because of the fantastic user experiences they provide. Most people don’t have problems all that complex and if you can just make some part of their day better. and has seen great success in this simple niche. takes this approach to differentiate his application in a very crowded niche: One obvious thing that I think a lot of developers miss is putting time into crafting a great user experience. I asked them whether they thought a successful iPhone app needs to be a unique. One company that has epitomized this simple approach in the web applications space is 37signals. Dustin MacDonald.17 Perfecting a Killer Idea Tweetie wasn’t the first Twitter client for the iPhone. Rather than offer a full Twitter experience. the developer of Wallet. and is a pleasure to use. It’s designed for people who like to put thought and care into their use of Twitter. Most “killer” ideas are simple solutions to simple problems. It’s phenomenally difficult to develop an application that includes all the necessary features.
Quality always makes the difference. Often there is already “an app for that”. Building Your App Around a Service With the huge surge in web applications offering high quality APIs in recent years. Amazon. Groceries. . I never do any brainstorming – ideas just appear to me out of the blue. 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. and polishing the app with great looking icons. Facebook. and a several other great iPhone apps. It’s not an app to “manage” Wikipedia. it’s about reading articles and consuming knowledge. the developer behind Articles. elements. Articles will never be the Wikipedia App with the most features or the lowest price. Yahoo. I’m sure I’ll add new and clever features in the future. I don’t force myself to come up with new ideas. offering a familiar structure and feel (in this case with the Contacts app). Tipulator.18 Perfecting a Killer Idea Wallet for iPhone. and animations. this meant simplifying our app down to the core features. Sophia Teutschler. No other app does that in my opinion. but only those that fit into my vision for the app. that’s just not the point. Flickr. PayPal – the possibilities are endless. Google Maps. Articles is about retaining focus on the actual article content. 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. many iPhone developers are seeing success from building an app around an existing service. Twitter.
As a . To accomplish our goal. Nor is it very appropriate on a mobile device. it’s simply not enough to take that information and put a pretty face on it. a dashboard for a single project and the ability to manage multiple accounts within the application. Select Start Studios. Rather than building another Basecamp application that simply exposed all of its data on the iPhone.19 Perfecting a Killer Idea 37signals makes a range of productivity tools for businesses. When we were building Headquarters. This is mainly because Basecamp has an extremely rich API that provides access to a wealth of information. software that is perfectly suited for use on the iPhone. 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. I could talk about how the underlying API may one day change or disappear all together. and regularly promote these iPhone apps to their users. 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. or I could talk about all of the small implementation details. we had to make the tough decision as to what goes in and what does not. The results speak for themselves. remain in the loop and stay focused. we decided to focus the application on users who want to “get things done” and cut out anything that was superfluous. Rather than having an overwhelming application. you have a simple. But I think the most difficult challenge is to provide additional value to your users without overwhelming them with pointless features. Although all of that information is valuable. we focused on three (and only three) major features: a dashboard that combines data from all of your projects. I asked the developer. easy to use launchpad to help you get to work. They’ve encouraged developers to create applications around their software. Headquarters is one such iPhone app built around the 37signals API that provides a mobile interface to Basecamp.
Another possibility is to build an application that interacts with the desktop in some way. the apps that formed the core of iStat Server. It was such a big project that I’m not sure we’d want to start from scratch again. I asked the . 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. Developing to connect to the desktop is nothing to be taken lightly. The advantage is a unique pair of applications that are far harder for others to clone. fewer issues with how to handle storing a user’s information locally. And rightly so. Relying on another third party for the ongoing success of your application always involves some risk. especially when interacting with several different devices. A few apps do this through a local Wi-Fi connection. It comes with a new set of challenges. it’s taken us years to develop iStat Menus and iStat Pro on Mac OS® X. I asked them how they feel that this gives iStat an “edge” over other applications: iStat for iPhone is fairly unique. others though a cloud synchronization system. Synchronization is another important aspect of your application to consider. You’ll have an existing user base with their data immediately available to them. in that there’s not a lot of direct competition.20 Perfecting a Killer Idea result. I guess that could be seen as an edge. Bjango’s flagship app can connect to the desktop to provide real time statistical and performance information. One application in particular that takes this approach is iStat. and a potential avenue to help promote your app (developers are often happy to help spread the word about apps that use their API). and is bound to increase development time and cost. but the associated benefits could certainly make this risk worthwhile.
an app with particularly robust synchronization. as we are always making improvements. .21 Perfecting a Killer Idea developer of Simplenote. and it’s worth aiming to emulate their seamless process. it’s an avenue worth considering when generating your killer idea. you’re far more likely to have a unique position in the market. 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 hard to say why other apps might not seamlessly synchronize as effectively as Simplenote. I think Simplenote’s synchronization can still be improved quite a bit. should be as transparent as possible. but in practice there are lots of little things that can go wrong. when done well. I suppose we’ve been doing this for a while. Synchronization. Simplenote and Dropbox set a high standard for how well this process can work. Having said that. We can focus on improving speed and reliability rather than adding and maintaining long lists of new features. If the user needs to initiate a sync or watch a progress bar as it occurs. We also have the advantage of simplicity. 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. and we’ve learned a lot. It’s by no means perfect. how challenging this is to implement: The basic idea of synchronizing data among different clients and services is not that complicated. Whether you’re connecting to another web or desktop app.
pricing. In this chapter we’ll be discussing this whole process with developers. and a difficult entity to deal with. and to make the most of what the App Store has to offer! . it’s worth taking a broader look at the App Store platform and how you can start the process of developing your creation. in order to help you avoid a few potential pitfalls. 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. development. 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 has been the subject of much discussion over the past few years. Some see the closed marketplace as restrictive. and promotion. Whichever camp you fall into.THE APP STORE Before we move ahead to the specifics of interface design. controlling.
24 Getting Started
The App Store
To start developing for the App Store you’ll need a Mac running OS X, and you will need to register for the iPhone Developer Program with Apple. This allows you to download the SDK to build your apps, test them on your iPhone, and submit them to the App Store. Registration is free for those just wanting to experiment with development. You can access all the guides and videos from Apple, but testing your app is restricted to an iPhone simulator on your Mac. If you’d like to to test on your physical iPhone and move ahead to officially release your app, you will need to enroll in the standard program which costs $99 a year. Once you’ve registered for the Developer Program, you are given access to all of the information Apple has produced to help you develop iPhone applications. Download the iPhone SDK and Xcode, then you’re ready to get started. Apple has an extensive set of “Getting Started Documents”5, which are vital reading if you’re going to be developing an application yourself. These are the best place to start when learning about the technical details of iPhone OS development – something we won’t be going into at length in this book. Another important document to read is Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines6, which walk through the different requirements of the user interface design of your application.
Your Product Definition Statement
Before you dive in and start designing, it’s important to take a step back and come up with a product definition statement. Apple defines this as a
5 6 Getting Started Documents: http://developer.apple.com/iphone/library/navigation/.
iPhone Human Interface Guidelines: http://developer.apple.com/iphone/library/documentation/ UserExperience/Conceptual/MobileHIG/Introduction/Introduction.html.
The App Store
“concise declaration of your application’s main purpose and its intended
Consider the list of your app’s features, and what makes this set of features stand out. Also think about who your users are, when and how they would use your application, and in what way your interface can reflect this. Your product definition statement should take all these elements, and combine them into one simple sentence. For instance, a statement for GarageBand could be “an easy-to-use music composition application for amateur musicians”. It’s also important to include a picture of the person you envisage using the app – in this case, “amateur musicians”. When you’ve nailed a product definition statement, you’re ready to start investigating some of the other requirements and demands of the App Store.
Choosing an Application Style
Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines for developers talk a great deal about the importance of selecting and sticking with a particular “application style”.8 These dictate the type of software you’d like to create, and fall into three categories: 1. Productivity Applications 2. Utility Applications 3. Immersive Applications We asked Sarah Parmenter about the importance of “positioning” your app into one of these categories, and whether it should be something that developers consider from an early stage:
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:
This type of app is focused on the process of organizing and manipulating detailed information. They’re generally used for fairly important tasks, and organize their interface and data through a hierarchy. Although the purpose of these apps is usually fairly serious, it doesn’t mean that Apple wants you to design a boring piece of software. Their interface guidelines state: Seriousness of purpose does not mean that productivity applications should attempt to appear serious by providing a dry, uninspiring user experience, but it does mean that users appreciate a streamlined approach that does not hinder them.
and requires a minimum of user input. software that provides a single purpose. . A useful tip is also provided relating to settings. Anything not changed regularly can be moved to the iPhone’s “Settings” panel. letting you swipe between different items to access them. Utility Applications The second category of applications are utilities. Information in a utility application is generally fairly linear.27 The App Store Mail and Photos are examples of this type of software. namely that anything that needs to be changed often should be located within the app itself. This can be used “at a glance”. 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. and shows another characteristic of utilities – a set of preferences being displayed on the “reverse” of an information panel.
In such an application. as in a game. while others do not. . not on the data behind the experience. or a utility that has a full screen interface. the user’s focus is on the visual content and the experience. Immersive applications give you the greatest freedom to explore an original and innovative application design. full-screen environment. This could be a game. but are also usually the most complex type of application to develop. even though it doesn’t fit the definition of a game.28 The App Store Immersive Applications The third and final category contains applications that immerse you in their content. 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. The Approval Process Discussion surrounding the App Store approval process is always ongoing. with many developers frustrated at the lack of clarity Apple provides over why certain applications make the cut.
App Store Review Status: http://developer. and (b) an App Store executive review board exists that determines procedures and sets policy for the review process.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. Apple is fairly efficient at approving applications. and use the time wisely to start working on different promotion methods. but will avoid frustration when you come to submit it. it’s best to accept that the approval process is a necessary frustration.apple. use of unauthorized APIs. with the main factors being bugs or regular crashes. Reviewers look for a variety of different things when assessing your application. 85% of new apps and 95% of app updates are approved (or rejected) within 7 days.com/hotnews/apple-answers-fcc-questions/. How Long Does It Take? The entire process of application review seems to be shrouded in secrecy. inappropriate content. Make sure that you submit the absolute best standard of application you can. At the time of writing this. and “avoiding applications that degrade the core experience of the iPhone”9. and is a solid step towards having your application approved. 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. This will no doubt require plenty of reading (and likely restrict or modify a few of the grand ideas you had for your app). Ultimately. privacy infringement.10 Be prepared to wait a little while. and take on board any advice received from Apple’s team of reviewers. In theory. Aiming to uphold and improve the core experience of the iPhone certainly puts you in Apple’s “good books”. 9 10 http://www. as well as reviewing applications that are escalated to a higher level. .com/iphone/news/appstoretips/. This is where a good understanding and application of the Human Interface Guidelines will serve you well.apple.
4. so we’ll offer a few tips that should help you craft an effective listing. Title & Description Icon Links What’s New 5. Screenshots 7. Your listing is made up of several parts: 1. Most developers aren’t also skilled in writing sales copy and producing a compelling pitch.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. Rating . 3. 2. Price 6.
for instance. possibly because they don’t have the specific keyword of “camera” in the title. Focus on creating a brilliant app. it’s worth making the first paragraph an accurate description of your app’s core functionality. only the first paragraph of your description is shown. With this in mind. In iTunes. Trying to aggressively optimize your title or description to achieve a good search ranking is predominantly a waste of time. brings back plenty of relevant applications with “camera” in their application name. That said. In fact. A few equally excellent applications (such as “Hipstamatic”) appear lower down the results chart. and crafting a relevant listing rather than over-including certain keywords. you should do that with all your copy. so make sure you pick the 5 best hero shots. rather than a quick summary of what’s new in the latest update. incorporating these keywords into your application name itself can’t hurt. Here’s a great example of this in the official Twitter for iPhone app: . A quick search on the App Store for “camera”. so be short and straight to the point. You simply can’t expect that anyone will read all your text. rather than trying to pad it out with related keywords. Bjango have a few interesting tips to share on this topic: In the current App Store. It’s your one chance to craft a compelling one paragraph sales pitch. 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.
The obvious advice would be to ensure these are correct. Write concisely. to the point. Links iTunes only shows three prominent links in your app listing. It’s also worth thinking carefully about support. indepth change log of every technical alteration since the previous version. and so avoid receiving negative reviews and bad publicity. What’s New This is your opportunity to draw attention to the new features and fixes in the latest release of your app. and makes it very clear what to expect when using the application. and one to a license agreement (shown within iTunes itself). attractive icons in Chapter 5. and go to the appropriate pages. We’ll be offering plenty of tips on how to design bold. Users aren’t going to read a technical. Icon Your application icon is arguably one of the most important marketing elements to get right. and the icon is your only piece of graphical branding visible in search results. One to your company or product website. and focus on the main changes with a particular release. People choose apps based on their visual appeal.32 The App Store The copy used here is simple. one to a page offering support for your app. . An easyto-use support system can ensure you’re able to help our users in a timely fashion.
and you’ll struggle to break even on development. Pick screenshots that clearly illustrate the main features you offer. Take a look at some bestselling apps to see a few different examples of how you can approach them. and you might put off potential buyers. Too high. One option is to stick with simple. static images of your app: . 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. and don’t be afraid to edit them with annotations to show what exactly is going on. This is another topic we’ll be covering in more depth in Chapter 7. Too low. so a selection of (up to) five screenshots is your one chance to impress users with the design and functionality of your application.
and often acts as a huge influence upon potential buyers – your rating and reviews: .34 The App Store Another is to incorporate more than one screenshot to show more functionality: Rating The final element of your App Store listing is one that you have little to no control over.
There have been various examples of people trying to game the system. do everyone a favour and don’t bother.35 The App Store The best way to earn a good rating is to create a bug-free. If you find that your application is receiving a high proportion of negative reviews. Who knows if the majority of customers even read the description or just look at the screenshots. 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. and something that you need to get right in order to persuade iPhone users to pay for your application. post fake reviews. all the time. . and bump up their rating artificially. high quality application. The notion of App Store ratings can be a challenging one. That said. 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. 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.
A higher price can mean higher reviews too. If they know what the application does before they purchase it. crash-prone application is obvious. Treat your customers incredibly well. test. word of mouth – is far better than investing all your energy into a perfect rating. If you truly believe that your application is good enough to succeed and sell well. then promoting it through official channels – blogs. offer a great level of support. or never used them. because customers are more likely to inform themselves of the product before purchasing. It turns out that they are fairly important! 48% of people classed them as “very important”. and you’ll reap the benefits in the form of positive ratings and reviews. Application bugs are obvious reasons for getting lower ratings too. and only 9% of people either said they were “not very 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. test. How Important Are Ratings? We asked our readers how important ratings are when deciding whether to purchase an application. Make the most of Apple’s “ad hoc” distribution network to gather . and Bugs The first way to avoid a buggy. you’ll more likely meet their expectations. Dealing with Crashes. Test. Errors. 43% found them “a little important”. competitions.
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.37 The App Store a group of beta testers who are happy to push your app to the limit (and. 34 . 40% complete the process a few times per week. How Often Do Users Update? In our iPhone user survey. and 16% just once per week. and wait for approval. That nature of the App Store means that it takes time to fix bugs. Even after that process has completed. a user still needs to login and download the update you’ve provided. crucially. file an update. we found that 34% of users update their iPhone apps to the latest version every day. This is undoubtedly skewed by our “iPhone enthusiast” reader base. but even with that considered. report back to you).
when your application deals with other companies’ APIs. I can’t protect against those issues.38 The App Store If your application relies on third party services. and when they happen I can’t fix them immediately due to how the App Store approval system works. there will inevitably be problems you cannot control. Garrett Murray implemented a fascinating new feature called the “System Status Indicator” in a recent release of Ego. et cetera. and give it negative reviews and ratings. Often. you may find yourself dependent on the uptime and stability of another web application to keep your users happy. Google changes their API. 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. it can make things difficult. it becomes a support nightmare. which I was aware of and working on (or which I couldn’t do anything about at the moment). People don’t realize (or willfully ignore) how Ego works and when something happens with a 3rdparty. The system status indicator was a way for me to more easily report issues to users. It takes at least a week to get a new version released just in approvals alone. This is always a risk. . After a while. as errors that are not your fault may be attributed to your application. so that users felt less abandoned if something went wrong.
. The Benefits Despite many people complaining about the constraints and challenges of working within the App Store. That process was an incredible step forward from apps on previous mobile platforms. Although implementing something along these lines will certainly take a little longer to develop. You have a method to communicate with users. letting them know about problems beyond your control. I ended up having to use it only a few days after it was released in Ego 2. and it can make supporting and promoting your application far easier. it’s a great safeguard.0. 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. People were immediately gracious about the feature via Twitter because they suddenly knew what was happening and when it would be fixed. there’s no doubt that it brings a whole range of benefits. Let’s explore a few of these benefits further: A Single Point of Distribution Dave Verwer is clear on what he sees as the main advantage of the App Store for developers: The main benefit of the native App Store is the complete ease of distribution.39 The App Store In fact. The possibility of featuring your app within an active ecosystem of users and developers is very appealing.
you get paid.40 The App Store takes away any ambiguity of where and how to download your application. handling payment. it’s fast and you don’t have to deal with any of the payment nonsense. Developers seem to have widely accepted this as a fair rate – and rightly so. it sells. After purchasing their first app. the user knows that the process for any other software will be exactly the same. you receive 70% of the selling price of your application. Garrett Murray also appreciates the infrastructure of the App Store: The App Store created an entire market overnight. You submit your app. and promoting it through the App Store. you had to deal with carriers and other nonsense. The other 30% cut is taken by Apple in exchange for hosting and distributing your application. In the past. before the iPhone the urge to do so was much lower). and people know exactly where they’ll be taken after clicking it. This has become the universal indicator that your app is available through Apple’s marketplace. Dave Howell feels that this is the major benefit of working with the App Store: . The App Store is a fantastic infrastructure for getting your application out to users. The App Store One way you can help to make this even more obvious is by including an “Available on the App Store” graphic on your application website. A Fair Commission Rate As a developer. if you wanted to sell applications for mobile phones (and. let’s face it.
returns. Apple takes on a lot. no more than traditional software distribution margins. no doubt boosting their sales to owners of the latest iPhone. direct deposit. downloads. With such a large audience of users. international administrative overhead. Garrett Murray had a little insight to share into how important this promotion can be: 11 http://daringfireball. having your app featured on the iTunes homepage (or in some cases. for a reasonable cost. Japanese withholding. including: credit card transactions. localized sales in over ninety countries. and a shopping storefront. import duties. VAT. the primary advantage of Apple’s App Store is that people actually buy apps in it! Five billion of them so far. Free Promotion Another benefit of the App Store is the possibility of free promotion from Apple. For only 30%. in TV advertising campaigns) can be a great boost for sales. One great way to help increase your chances of being featured is to integrate new software API features as soon as they become available.41 The App Store The App Store removes all of the transactional costs of selling software to consumers. some testing. And compared to other mobile app marketplaces. Having all this managed centrally takes away an unnecessary burden.11 Apple recently showcased a handful of apps that had resized their display controls for the “Retina Display” and implemented iOS 4 features early.net/linked/2010/06/25/ios-4-gallery . As a software developer. the last thing you’ll likely want to do after perfecting your application is to start working on a payment and licensing system.
of course. closed ecosystem such as the App Store. The Challenges There are. challenges when working within a large. considering Ego is a very niche application and during the time it was featured the only iPad available was the non-3G US-only version. it would have been even higher. . as having a strong knowledge of the difficulties you may face will allow you to tackle them head on. But when Apple features you. During the week it was featured I sold about four times as many copies each day. I think if I had been featured after international or 3G release. That’s not too bad. you take what you can get. It’s best to be aware of these at the outset.42 The App Store Ego was recently featured in the “What’s Hot” section of iTunes.
one of the main challenges is how to ensure your app becomes. talk about. along with what you need to do to fix the problem. There’s no one way to do this.43 Standing Out from the Crowd The App Store As you’d expect. however. Apple recently gave some statistics on this and the most common reasons for rejection are: . It’s a combination of a great idea. it’s difficult to ensure your app has time in the spotlight. it is very rarely a terminal situation. All these come together to produce an application that people download. Dave Verwer. If your application is rejected. and igniting wordof-mouth promotion. It’s no secret that there are hundreds of thousands of apps on the store. Frustrating Approval Process As we mentioned previously. feels that much of this is hype. If you’re not charting or being talked about. and gradually push up through Apple’s rankings. 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. Apple explains what they are. Bjango echo this as the main difficulty they find when working with the App Store: The main challenge would have to be visibility. and rejections usually happen for justifiable reasons. an attractive interface and icon. With so many apps released each week. visible amongst thousands of others. one of the main criticisms often leveraged towards the App Store centers around the approval process. but the vast majority are approved with no issues at all. and remains. your chance of survival is slim. good ratings at the outset.
there are now tools built into Xcode that will do a preliminary check for them before submission to Apple. the developer of Broadersheet.44 The App Store 1. 2. Your application doesn’t work as advertised. believes that the biggest challenge on the App Store centres around tracking app usage. but is one of the top reasons for app rejection. Be as accurate as possible here and do not make your app sound like it can do more than it actually does. Common problems here include things like not testing the application without an internet connection. private APIs can be removed and worked around using standard functionality. Your application crashes! This sounds really obvious. It is fairly difficult to use these APIs by accident but. On the . just in case. While the private functionality may be very tempting to use during development. Crashing bugs can (and should!) be fixed. 3. None of these are actually going to be a permanent barrier to your application approval. Your application uses private APIs. and your application description can be easily edited to be accurate. Do beta test your applications before submitting to Apple. When submitting an app to the store you are asked to describe what the app does for the iTunes store listing. Apple can easily check for these APIs and will reject your app for using them. and not testing with access to location services being denied by the system settings app. Tracking How People Use Your App Lee Mallabone. This is really easy to avoid.
com/mobile/analytics/docs/. 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. They were collecting user information without consent.12 This is certainly worth doing if you think it will provide valuable feedback. offers a set of APIs that you can integrate into your iPhone application. A few solutions are available if you’re willing to take the time to integrate them. Apple recently took a hard line on a few companies that inserted tracking code into various applications to monitor usage. Google Analytics. 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. you don’t see referrers.45 The App Store web. this is an incredibly simple task with various services offering in-depth analysis.google. and Apple moved to block this with a change to their terms and conditions. 12 http://code. . and you have no data relating to how many people have looked at your app’s page. the popular website statistic tool. 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.
the aim of this book isn’t to make you a technical coding wizard overnight.the choice isn’t as clear-cut as you may think! . Before you dismiss any of these. outsource the development to another company.MAKING A DEVELOPMENT DECISION As I mentioned in the introduction. it’s worth hearing what our experienced developers have to say on the matter . Whether or not you’re a programming guru. You can program and develop the application yourself. you have three routes to consider when launching your application. There are countless other resources. or choose to bypass the App Store altogether and launch a web application that’s viewable through Mobile Safari (the iPhone’s web browser). books and websites for learning Cocoa Touch / Objective C and understanding the process of programming for the iPhone (we cover plenty of them in the last chapter).
don’t know what Object-Oriented Programming is. We asked him whether the expansion into iPhone development was a steep learning curve. or something that seemed fairly straight-forward? Starting development for the iPhone with Cocoa Touch felt right at home. developing your own iPhone application would probably be a bad decision. 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. If you’ve never heard of Cocoa. Many developers have become accustomed to sacrificing performance for easierto-use APIs. and feel uncomfortable with the acronym “API”. The best case scenario would be that you’d invest a week of time into understanding how iPhone development works. only to launch with a bugridden piece of software. making the transition to iPhone development is likely to be a very pleasant experience. . before giving up and hiring a developer.48 Making a Development Decision Developing Your Own Native App Let’s start by clarifying that this option isn’t for everyone. it’s about ten years behind modern desktop machines in terms of processing power and available memory. The worst case scenario would be to struggle through a frustrating development process for six months. As powerful as the iPhone is. Dustin MacDonald has been developing using Cocoa for over seven years. but nothing exceptionally steep. If you do have a basic understanding of programming. There are a few differences in the iPhone SDK that take some time to get acquainted with. Coming from a desktop world. but good optimization matters much more on mobile platforms.
or anything similar. performance will be a huge consideration. and if you do decide to develop your own application. Everything I had learned about Mac development made iPhone development seem very familiar. as – the documentation and tools are now excellent and getting better all the time. Play to your strengths – if you’re brilliant at designing in Photoshop. Ruby. we all had a very steep learning curve. During the first few months after the initial SDK release. craft a beautiful interface and hire a developer to implement it. This was not helped by the tools having a few bugs in them! Luckily that has completely changed over the last two years. it’s going to be a steep learning curve. If you’re a marketing whizz. The main lesson to take away is that if you already have experience programming. object-oriented language like C#. because noone really knew how everything was supposed to work. . Java. Python. 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. Even better. I also asked Dave Verwer about this transition. this option could well be very straight-forward. then you are going to have a head start learning your way around Objective C and the iPhone SDK. If not. a significant amount of my code just worked without any changes when I took it to the iPhone platform.49 Making a Development Decision This is an important consideration. Really if you have experience with any modern. consider focusing on promotion and contracting out the whole process of app development. What was not so easy at the outset was finding documentation on iPhone specific subjects.
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%)
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
Sometimes the developer will add on time (and therefore budget) for the inevitable unseen features and problems that will be uncovered. . Draw and Prototype The second step is to start to plan out your app on paper. ambiguity in the description of what the app needs to do makes the estimation process much more difficult. as there are quick ways for developers to implement standardised user interfaces within an app. 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. place them in order on the table and start to think about how the user will navigate through your application. You don’t need to have a degree in art to do this – just a pencil and some imagination. 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. If I could split the ideal preparation for planning an iPhone project into a couple of key points. 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. As you draw the screens. Using these standard behaviours is also a great way to get a vast amount of functionality for free. The best way to avoid problems like these is to remove ambiguity from the outset. or they will underestimate the effort and subsequently find themselves trying to squeeze your development into an unrealistic deadline. Just start drawing out screens on separate pieces of paper and laying them out on a large table.53 Making a Development Decision app from a client.
it will give them far greater confidence that you have thought through the app. This might seem like a daunting task. 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. If you do these things before contacting a developer. but it’s the only way to ensure your vision is created exactly as you want it to be.54 Making a Development Decision Also. The key aspect to understand is that the interface comes first. You need to spend time and effort considering exactly how you’d like your idea to be realized on the iPhone – right down to each individual screen. Devin Ross worked alongside Taptivate when developing Attic. . Obviously the developer will work with you to do actual designs for the app. 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. Take pictures of all of your pieces of paper and use them as part of the information you provide to the developer. try and fit the data that needs to be input onto a screen using an iPhone design template (mine is freely available13). Even if you’re a competent developer.com/blog/iphone-screen-design-template-pdf/. but I wasn’t happy with how everything worked. there’s no reason approaching someone else for advice should be a bad thing. Mobile apps are very different to web apps or desktop apps. and that there will be fewer unseen expectations or hidden features. and thinking about them in this way is a really useful exercise to understand user perspective. I saw Taptivate had 13 http://shinydevelopment. This will lead to them being better equipped to give you a significantly more accurate (and probably cheaper) quote.
This could be a particularly good idea if the process is completely new to you. but the Highrise app was separate enough that we could source it out and get it done. and numerous other factors. fee. It’s a simple website to navigate. There are two general approaches to take: (1) look for developers already advertising their services. They helped change the way the application functioned in a way I had imagined but never realized until they came along. there are a huge range of resources to help you find the right person. one of the best websites we recommend is TheyMakeApps.14 This is a directory of different companies that design and develop iPhone apps. and let developers apply. The same can be true if you’re a developer with experience in a certain language that’s unrelated to iPhone development. any programmer can learn anything. so it made sense to reach out to them to see what they could bring to the table in any regard. fully sortable by location. . Sure.com. We still had our design team specify what we wanted and how it should work. 14 http://theymakeapps. If you do decide to go ahead and hire someone to develop your application for you. Building Objective-C powered iPhone apps is a different ballgame. 37signals worked with Overcommitted on the development of a companion iPhone app for their Highrise web application: Our core competency is building web applications. 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. Despite being a software company themselves. If you’re going to take the former route.55 Making a Development Decision a hit with Postman and Voices. or (2) post up an advertisement for your job. and well worth taking a look at.
56 Making a Development Decision For the latter route.000 unique visitors a day and adverts priced at just $99 for 30 days. Some are free. . there are a number of different job boards where you can post a position.37signals.com With 2.jobcoin. you can reach a large number of developers for a small payment. CocoaDev cocoadev. Listings you post are also shared via their iPhone app. It currently costs $300 for a 30 day advert.com/categories/6/jobs 37signals have a dedicated section for posting iPhone developer jobs. GetAppsDone GetAppsDone. and others charge you to list the project: 37signals Job Board jobs.com There are always quite a few jobs on offer at GetAppsDone.
. development. with both iPhone and Mac OS X development jobs. Guru is another widely used place to find a freelancer. For those that pay for their app development. Relatively few people paid upwards of $10. the total cost was centered around the lower end. Used by developers across the world.org Although derided by many. eLance is a cost effective way to source a developer. These people are obviously doing everything themselves – interface design. eLance elance.000 for their application development. and promotion.com/jobs Making a Development Decision The Unofficial Apple Weblog have their own job board.com A marketplace for finding a freelancer to work on the development of your project.57 TUAW tuaw. and also helps you manage the project as it goes along. many respondents noted that it’s simply an investment of time. Craigslist craigslist. Craigslist is still a valuable resource for those looking to find work and is a great place to post adverts. Guru guru. How Much Does it Cost? When asked how much it costs to develop an iPhone application.com Similar to eLance.
000 – $10.000 $1 – $500 Just my own time 0 5 10 Series 1 Chart 1 P.000 – $50.000 $500 – $1.000 – $5. . 53 15 20 25 Because our survey was targeted at developers.000 $10. It’s clear that you have a choice of approaching development in a thrifty fashion. and runs in the iPhone’s Mobile Safari browser.000+ $25.000 $5. or investing more into a better polished and functional application.000 – $25.000 $1.58 cont’d Making a Development Decision Series 1 $50. we expected to see that many people would be able to produce iPhone apps for a relatively low cost – investing only their own time. Developing a Web Application The third and final option is to develop a web application – an app that is hosted on the internet. is not distributed through the App Store.
Awareness (at least among our readers) seemed high.com/webapps/. and 42% of people didn’t have one at all.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. . 21% had just one. Do People Use Web Apps? Although the iPhone is perfectly capable of running web apps to an almost-native standard. with only 4% of people answering “What’s a Web App?” 15 http://www. how many users actually use this functionality? We found that 34% of people questioned had more than one web app on their home screen.
com. David Kaneda highlights a number of other inherent difficulties in making your app with web technology: One big one is monetization: Web app developers need to wrap their app in something like PhoneGap16 to get on the App Store. 56 Obviously the main hurdle to overcome when taking this approach is your application interface.phonegap. so the user feels that they’re actually using a local application. or create an entire payment system within their app. 16 http://www. The goal is usually to mimic the iPhone’s native interface as closely as possible.61 cont’d Making a Development Decision What's a web app? (4%) Yes – More than one (33%) No (42%) Yes – Just one (21%) Chart 1 P. .
3D animations. as it is providing one of their key arguments against allowing Flash on the iPhone. beyond some of these stumbling points.62 Making a Development Decision Another big stumbling point in web technology is the unavailability of cross-domain requests. with a lot of emphasis on HTML5/ CSS3. At any rate. as it brings them revenue. That said. they obviously put more marketing focus behind native app development. and cross-device compatibility. This is doing great things to move the web forward altogether. Developers are forced to either stick with JSON-based web services. wrap their app in something like PhoneGap.com/yql/. offline storage. camera or contacts access etc. . or again. more robust touch events. they’ve been forced to put a renewed interest in the web standards recently. This is a fairly important 17 http://developer. 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. YQL17 also provides a fantastic service for this. There are lots of features I’d love to see in Mobile Safari: accelerometer access. 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. It’s worth re-iterating the downside of this development approach: your application is not listed in the App Store. and Apple does not handle the payment processing and distribution for you. providing a robust tool for making JSON requests to normally REST/XML-based APIs. Luckily. But Apple has a limited team and they do make great strides with the browser on a regular basis.yahoo. it’s quite impressive what is possible with web technology.
These needn’t be present if you’re designing a web app that has its own set of controls for navigating around.64 Making a Development Decision Quick Guide: Creating an iPhone Optimized Site Although we aren’t delving too deeply into development in this book. This will have Apple’s glossy overlay placed on top of it. and ensure that everything is well optimized for a touch interface. 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. userscalable=no"> <link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="iphoneicon. Nettuts+ published an article18 that offers a great insight into this. . It’s simply a case of including the following three declarations in your HTML page. you’ll also need to consider producing a stylesheet that accommodates the iPhone’s screen size.com/tutorials/tools-and-tips/learn-how-to-develop-for-the-iphone/. and the controls that are usually present across the top of the window. and is well worth taking the time to read.tutsplus.png"/> • The first of these removes the standard Safari navigation bar. you can change the name of this declaration to apple-touch-icon-precomposed. somewhere between the <head></head> tags: <meta name="apple-mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes" /> <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width. 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. I thought it would be useful to quickly go over what you need to include in a webpage. 18 http://net. to ensure that it will function correctly on the iPhone. • • In addition to these. but if you’d prefer for this not to happen.
and there are plenty of developers to profile in this section who are doing a great job. . interface design is all-important. 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. a highly talented interface designer with plenty of experience to share.THE IMPORTANCE OF SIMPLE. Depending upon the type of app you’re creating. you may have less control over the interface than you’d think. SEXY INTERFACE DESIGN As I’ve already mentioned.
ly/bvPM2b. These walk you through the process of planning your application at the outset. Just How Important is Interface Design? In our developer survey. and move on to offer recommendations for the style of interface you should design. The results speak for themselves. we asked people how important they feel each of these four characteristics is for an application to be a success. and it’s the most important guide to read before you get started thinking about your application’s interface and functionality. . Sexy Interface Design Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines We’ve already dipped into the Human Interface Guidelines19 when looking at different “types” of iPhone application. 61 19 http://bit. 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.67 The Importance of Simple.
21 His response? “If you need a stylus you have already failed. It’s a measure of how well the appearance of your application integrates with its function.com/20100607/steve-jobs-at-d8-the-full-uncut-interview/. so that they provide an internally consistent experience. One point worth highlighting relates to aesthetic integrity. Apple has a great explanation:20 Aesthetic integrity is not a measure of how beautiful your application is. make this task simple and enjoyable to achieve. An immersive application is at the other end of the spectrum. For example. Your application is designed to serve a purpose and help the user complete a task. a productivity application should keep decorative elements subtle and in the background. direct manipulation.” Apple are strongly committed to the idea of a user’s finger being the only pointing device they need: 20 21 http://bit. http://d8. its appearance still needs to integrate with the task. Although an immersive application tends to be focused on providing diversion. and different elements of the iPhone user interface. Gorgeous interface design supports this process. accessibility. Sexy Interface Design You’ll learn about the use of metaphors. Apple’s guidelines also explain clearly how you should use gestures in an appropriate manner.ly/ckTjGS. Steve Jobs was recently questioned about handwriting recognition systems using a stylus. and what this means.68 The Importance of Simple. while giving prominence to the task by providing standard controls and behaviors. first and foremost. and users expect a beautiful appearance that promises fun and encourages discovery.allthingsd. When placing focus upon “sexy interface design”. . it’s incredibly important not to make the interface design itself the end goal. An interface should. Be sure you design the user interface elements of such an application carefully. gestures.
it’s important to remember this fact. I asked the developer if this involved a great deal more work than using the standard iPhone UI controls. and fully understand before you begin designing the functionality and layout of your app. or the dexterity of their owner. However. they are capable of many different movements. such as a mouse. as a developer. Sexy Interface Design There are real advantages to using fingers to operate a device: They are always available. regardless of their size. Why Is Sexy Interface Design So Important? Let’s move on to consider why interface design is actually so important. Read it cover to cover. 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. . use this to your advantage? Headquarters steers clear of the standard iPhone interface elements. and you’ll want to follow these to ensure your app is usable. When designing your interface. Apple specifies different size requirements for areas of the interface a user can tap on. fingers have one major disadvantage: They are much bigger than a mouse pointer. 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. read it again. I can’t overstate how useful the Human Interface Guidelines are to read through. Why are we drawn to attractive application design. fingers can never be as precise as a mouse pointer. and whether the extra effort paid off: With Headquarters. In the context of a display screen. then get started.69 The Importance of Simple. and creates a thoroughly unique look and feel.
Sexy Interface Design In the end. Despite these two controls being completely alien to the iPhone platform. It just depends on the suitability of the object you’re alluding to and how seamlessly you can integrate it with your app. But more importantly. . but because people liked how the screens were laid out.70 The Importance of Simple. We received a lot of great feedback on the interface – not only because it looked good. sleek design. they were definitely worth the risk and the effort. took the approach of crafting an interface that mimicked a real-life newspaper. we found that the application simply looked more polished and pleasing to the eye with the dark. Although developing these custom controls extended both our design and development cycles. with the high level of customization we were able to integrate completely custom controls that wouldn’t stick out. This makes perfect sense on the large iPad screen. Two great examples of this are the tabs on the dashboard and the custom navigation bar we use. Glasshouse Apps. the developers of The Early Edition. they fit in really nicely and they open up the ways a user can interact with the screen. but I asked Graham whether he thought it could work equally well on the iPhone: My gut feeling is that real life metaphors can work well at any size.
but the user can’t actually see that. Marc. It is. After all. 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. They only see your user interface. 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. 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. for instance. of course. You may have a world class app backend (which is also important). It’s also crucially about how it works. as are the sticky notes found on the Dashboard of OS X. . from Bjango. or it could be more subtle – a gorgeous.71 The Importance of Simple. it’s the only thing a user sees. realistic texture.
as well as the way it looks. When we’re mocking and testing different layouts. If you expect the layout to include mainly standard iPhone controls. everyone’s involved. Design certainly isn’t just the role of one person. Sexy Interface Design Now might be a good time to mention that we consider design to be the way something works. The Interface Design Process You have a few different options available when approaching the interface design of your application. then you’ll probably be able to work on the positioning and layout of these yourself. . It’s more about structure than colouring in pixels. They go hand in hand.72 The Importance of Simple.
someone fairly talented may well charge a few hundred dollars per day. it is a choice that’s worth spending some time on. I nearly always go through a wireframe stage. I generally get sent a beta of the app to test drive and make notes on. even if I haven’t been commissioned to do so. there are plenty of great interface designers who specialize in working with iPhone developers. Although this sounds expensive. . an interface designer could go a long way towards turning your app into a success. and carefully considering. Though the cost of hiring an interface designer will vary depending upon the experience of the designer you hire. you’ll need to think about hiring a designer. This offers a good insight into how the process could work if you approach this task yourself. by all means explore how you could design the interface yourself. on the other hand. or what to expect when hiring an interface designer to craft your application’s UI for you. 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.73 The Importance of Simple. walked us through the process she takes when designing iPhone applications. If you want your application to really stand out from the crowd but have no design experience yourself. If not. If you have experience in this area. Sarah Parmenter. as there may be tweaks and adjustments that could be made to benefit the user that the developer has not thought about. One such designer. you want a more customized user interface. Sexy Interface Design If.
74 The Importance of Simple. Sexy Interface Design .
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. it can be a bigger hurdle than you’d expect. Once I have crafted the UI. . Sexy Interface Design I almost always start on paper and then move into Photoshop for the actual design elements. Designing an iPhone interface isn’t simple. There are unique challenges associated with the interfaces of mobile devices – even if you feel comfortable in Photoshop and Illustrator.75 The Importance of Simple.
full wireframes and then betas of apps which need some UI help. Sexy Interface Design It isn’t just a case of putting together a screen full of pretty graphics. If you do decide to hire an interface designer. so a developer would need to be sensible when approaching a UI designer as to what their budget is and how they want to spend it. this is hardly ever the case). This means that graphics will use more pixels for the same effective artwork size – something your interface design should take advantage of. You may have hired an incredibly talented developer. 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. I get clients who just have an idea for the app. Whether or not you choose to hire an interface designer. . how large different interface elements need to be). All of those mentioned require varying degrees of work and budget allocation. 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. I get sketches. If you are unsure of what you are doing. and spend time thinking about minimum hit size (and correspondingly. and on a shoestring budget. but this doesn’t mean that they can also design a beautiful interface (in fact. it’s vitally important that you give this stage of the process the time and investment it deserves. the way in which different pages interconnect.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. You also need to consider how animation and movement should display. how the interface should adjust for different orientations.
Try to balance eye appeal and clarity of meaning in your icon so that it’s rich and beautiful.77 The Importance of Simple. 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. functionality and interface of your application itself. Redraw them. study them. attractive package. and it’s a good chance to inject some UI beauty and texture. It’s best to stick with a bold image that conveys your application’s branding. you’ll need to start thinking about producing an irresistible icon. look carefully at how Apple designs interfaces and icons. instantly recognizable. This can include a greater amount of detail than the smaller app icon. . 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. It’s impossible to overstate just how important your app icon is – it’s the one element of branding that appears everywhere. Sexy Interface Design Crafting an Irresistible Icon After you’ve perfected the design. rather than trying to include text within the icon. and clearly conveys the essence of your application’s purpose. and it can be a very challenging process to get right. and needs to clearly convey what your application is all about.ly/caLQqX. and learn their style and the constraints 22 http://bit. Achieving this in a 57 square pixels is no mean feat.
Something that is focused. descriptive. let some designers take a look. But don’t take that from the designer guy. Lastly. You can always hire a designer if you feel the need.78 The Importance of Simple. or hire a professional from the outset: Generally. front and center. I think my only tip would be to find someone who’s a great icon designer and pay them to do it for you. it’s a good idea to hire a designer. If you’re unsure of the quality of your design work. who has a distinctive style across all their application icons: I find designing app icons difficult. have some fun. by all means design for yourself. It’s such a challenge to sum up everything your app does in a single. There are a billion possibilities. and it’s fun to dive in and see what those are! Sebastiaan also had a few tips regarding whether it’s a good idea to attempt icon design yourself. 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. yet uniquely yours. Second. . Done? Start taking stuff out. If you make sure your design is simple and feels ‘native’ to the iPhone or iPad. Always consider consistency with the OS. go design. Steal that spot. Although that’s advice that we haven’t taken ourselves. memorable and beautiful symbol. Sexy Interface Design the designers imposed on themselves to make designs fit in and achieve a consistent result. A gold star if you chose a concept that was delightfully simple and appropriate in your first swing at the icon. If you’re capable and can be brutally honest in judging your own product. it can be the difference between ending up on some screen or on the home screen. This sentiment is echoed by Bjango.
Make sure you fine tune for all sizes. Sexy Interface Design If you really have to design your icon yourself. 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 the high resolution iPhone 4). . iPad.ly/c4f64Y. You’ll definitely need to fix and tweak your final 57x57 pixel (iPhone) or 72x72 pixel (iPad) home screen design. and you’ll need to provide various resolutions for their different devices (iPhone.79 The Importance of Simple. but also plenty of detail when the icon is shown large. then you will probably want to ensure you have a prominent colour. Apple specifies a number of different required sizes for icons. too. a recognizable silhouette and something that works very well at small sizes.
we’re going to share a series of links and resources to assist with your own interface design. Sexy Interface Design Document icon (recommended for custom document types) Web Clip icon (recommended for web applications and websites) Toolbar and Navigation bar icon (optional) Tab bar icon (optional) 22x29 44x58 (high resolution) 57x57 114x114 (high resolution) Approximately 20x20 Approximately 40x40 (high resolution) Approximately 30x30 Approximately 60x60 (high resolution) 320x480 640x960 (high resolution) 64x64 320x320 72x72 Approximately 20x20 Approximately 30x30 Launch image (required) Both 768x1004 (portrait) and 1024x748 (landscape) Design Kits. Some of these are pre-built templates that you can use in Photoshop or Illustrator. sliders and graphics you need to quickly create mockups of your apps. .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. Interfaces and Icons In this short section. others are great tools that can help with wireframing and getting your ideas down on paper! iPhone GUI Design teehanlax.
this book provides 150 templates at 1. Saves time. looks great.com/gp/product/1430228237 For those of you who prefer to sketch out your applications.blogspot.5x zoom.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.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. These sketchbooks come in various different styles and sizes for different devices. .com Quickly put your iPhone and iPad app designs on paper. iPhone Stencil Kit uistencils. App Sketchbook appsketchbook. iPhone Sticky Pad uistencils.html Easily recreate the glossy icon shine using this clever kit.81 The Importance of Simple. You can then stick your designs around the office and create flowcharts of your apps. iPhone Application Sketch Book amazon.com/products/iphone-sticky-pad Design your iPhone apps on this sticky pad that ties in with the above stencil. Sexy Interface Design iPhone PSD Vector Kit smashingmagazine. Plenty of room to jot notes and wireframe in style.com/2008/10/iphone-icon-shine-kit. Icon ‘Shine’ Kit notlost.
and then work on the basis that the most oft-requested features should probably be included. This cuts down on development costs and ensures people understand clearly what the core functionality of your application is. but execute it phenomenally well. beginning with a basic feature set is certainly the best place to get started. Determine the bare minimum of what a user would be satisfied with. grandiose idea for your application. and consider producing just that. 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. Apple actually advises this approach in their developer guidelines. . Even if you have a huge. They suggest that you should launch an application with minimal features. It’s easy to add new features as they’re requested.
it’s even more true on a mobile device that the app has to be simple.com/draft. especially when building upon an API: When creating larger. It doesn’t let you access your games. so that we could wrap it up and get it out quickly. 24 This turned out to be “Sketch”.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. more complex applications. We’re working on another app at the moment that’ll go even simpler still24. 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. upload photos and a few other small things. . rather than a half-assed product – is a good way to develop. They took this approach when developing their iPhone application for Highrise. I think if anything. Select Start Studios completely understand the importance of starting simple. 37signals’ philosophy seems to be that keeping a product simple at launch – building half a product. a straightforward sketching/drawing app for the iPad: http://37signals. it’s very limited in comparison to their website yet it’s a fantastic application. your apps or any of the extra stuff that Facebook has added over the years. 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. it’s always important to remain focused on adding value. it focuses on what’s important to the platform and it does it remarkably well. It allows users to make posts. It’s easy to throw in a ton of little cool features. 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. see other posts.
I built the core app with growth in mind so it would be easy to add new services down the road. Mint 2 and Twitter). release often. 25 Eric Hope – User Experience Evangelist. 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.85 Learning to Keep it Simple and Iterate In a similar vein. As the old adage goes. Apple states that “an app must solve a user’s problem clearly and elegantly. now Ego supports eight. my initial focus was to cover the few services I wanted right off the bat (FeedBurner. Garrett Murray started out by only offering statistics for a handful of web applications and services. release early. helping the user complete it as easily as possible. Apple (via Sarah Parmenter. And there are several more to come over the next few months. Most successful projects focus on one simple task. With Ego. The App Store is full of examples where this process has worked for a developer. I started with three. when launching Ego. FOWD London 2010) . 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. He’s gradually increased the scope of the application over time: There’s definitely a benefit to starting simple.
we’ll investigate which choice might be right for you. the App Store has given developers the option of many different pricing models. and have equal success aiming for a high price as compared to a lower price. don’t be afraid to charge more than a couple of dollars – people will happily pay. each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages.PRICING YOUR APP RIGHT Pricing is a tricky concept. Just take a look at Apple’s “Top Grossing” list. If you believe that your application offers enough value. In this chapter. Different companies take wildly different approaches to pricing their apps. . and can be very difficult to nail the first time around. and many examples exist that show this approach works. Fortunately.
Even if this is just a simple database. Apple pays you on a monthly basis. several thousand simultaneous users is still going to pose a problem. and plan carefully so you aren’t left with a huge hosting or bandwidth bill. so be prepared to wait a little while before the revenue from your sales reaches your bank account. As I’ve mentioned before. and Apple takes a 30% cut in exchange for handling downloads. so will the demand placed upon the hardware that you maintain yourself. Before you pick a pricing model. and distributing your app. Whether this is through direct sales of your app or advertising – the motive is usually the same. it’s worth mentioning that the process of deciding how to price and sell your app can be difficult. the way that revenue sharing works means that you receive 70% of all sales of your app. credit card processing. Although Apple handles downloads. payment processing. you’re getting into the App Store business to make money. you may need to maintain a server that is capable of powering any community features you implement. it’s important to understand Apple’s revenue breakdown clearly. etc. David Kaneda had the following to say: .88 Pricing Your App Right Breaking Down Your Revenue In all likelihood. With this in mind. Be sure to factor this in. For those of you considering the web app route. it’s important to consider what the ongoing costs will be of running your app. or decide to give away your application for free. As your application grows in popularity. bandwidth. You’ll also need to generate at least $250 worth of sales before Apple will release a payment..
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). but I’m not sure how comfortable people are with mobile web app subscriptions quite yet. Give your app away for free and generate revenue from advertising or inapp upgrades 2. Those who do. to web and native alike. can purchase the adfree version. This approach is taken by The Iconfactory with Twitteriffic: We took this approach because we wanted to get Twitterrific into as many people’s hands as we could. and still get some return on our investment. Twitterrific is great. 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. It really is the best of both worlds.89 Pricing Your App Right Pricing is a universal challenge. and an ad-free commercial version with additional features. Many people don’t have any problem with viewing advertisements and for them. The Pricing Dilemma Broadly speaking. 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 . or who want to directly support our development efforts. there are two options available to you when deciding how to generate revenue from the App Store: 1.
pricing becomes something of a marketing technique to persuade people to “try before they buy”.50 in North America. Do Users Download Trials? We asked our readers whether they download these free application “trials” before purchasing the full version. It works in all manner of different niches. It’s important to understand that price alone doesn’t need to be the key motivator to persuade people to buy. 44% sometimes try before they buy. If you’re confident enough that a free trial of your application is the best way to persuade users to buy.php. . for instance. and only 4% “usually just purchase” the full version. at $4.com/archives/average_price_for_iphone_apps_keeps_falling. you should go for it. is priced slightly higher than the “baseline” standard for iPhone apps which is which is around $2. but particularly well for games. Giving away one level lets people get a feel of how the game works.26 26 http://www. Wallet.90 Pricing Your App Right experience.readwriteweb. 52% always download the freebie. and draws them in to purchase the full application to play further. This goes some way towards showing the power of this marketing method. In this respect.99.
people have also become accustomed to fairly low-priced apps in the App Store. price isn’t too much of a concern. 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. The trick is to ensure you charge a price that considers both the functionality of your application.99-$4. For them. In general.99-$4. That being said. 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. and how often they will use it. 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. our biggest immediate audience is those who use the Mac version of the software. I think most reasonable people are willing to spend a little more for a higher quality application if it’s something they’re going to use a lot. If the price tag is higher than $10.99 .99 App Used Often High Price $4. With Wallet.99 Low Price $0. Of course. there are also a significant number of people who buy Wallet for iPhone yet don’t use the Mac version. so it was important to still price Wallet competitively with other standalone apps.99-$1. they might not even take a look.99+ Mid-Price $1.91 Pricing Your App Right I asked the developer what their main considerations are when deciding on a price. We didn’t want to scare these people away. the type of person using it.
By far the most common response was around the $10 mark. and a few had paid up to $100.99 apps. A few people had never paid for an app.99 or $10 for an application. it isn’t packed with $0. If you take a look at the top grossing list. 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. based around an advertising-supported free version. People are absolutely willing to pay a premium for apps that provide value to them.58. This was done in an effort to move beyond a traditional pricing model: .92 Pricing Your App Right Avatron take the approach of putting themselves in the shoes of their customer: We look at it as our customers would. we “maximize demand curve utilization” by experimenting with prices and studying price elasticity. of course. and a yearly subscription to remove advertisements and unlock premium features. There is. the option to do something slightly different. Simplenote’s pricing model is particularly interesting. One third of all our respondents had paid a maximum of exactly $9. The overall average was $14. What would we be willing to pay? And like good MBAs.
The more people we can help. and the more potential we have as a business. We’re working hard on the next major version. and only a handful spend any more than $10 each week. 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). you’ll want to consider the different types of advertising available. and you actually have a great deal of flexibility on how to charge for your application. We need to keep growing. spend between $0 and $5 each week. 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. Just how much are people happy to spend on software each week? An overwhelming majority.93 Pricing Your App Right We were experiencing some measure of success with a more traditional pricing model. On the surface. the more motivation we have to keep improving the service. It’s very motivating to have an impact on people’s lives. Around 15% spent $5-10. over 80% of respondents. But we’re thinking bigger. the results of which aren’t entirely clear yet. Users don’t have a limitless budget. This is far from the case. This was a risky move for us. it might seem that the App Store has a fairly strict “paid or free” approach to generating revenue. .
94 Pricing Your App Right Mobile advertising has taken off in a huge way since the iPhone rose to popularity. you receive 60% of the advertising revenue generated. recently acquired by Google. They . You are. of course. and Apple handle filling the space with an advertisement. a direct competitor to iAd. in effect. Here are just a couple to consider. is AdMob. and are paid on a monthly basis for any advertisements sold. 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. If you’re a developer. iAd debuted in the iPhone’s latest operating system update – iOS 4. This is. You can integrate the service into your app. You set the system up. As a developer.com As this advertising platform is provided directly by Apple. Various others still exist – some on traditional impression or click models. Google / AdMob – admob. The agreement and breakdown is fairly simple. not limited to using Apple’s advertising system. and there are many different advertising companies competing for your business. each taking a different approach: iAdSM Advertising System – advertising. and others through different means. Apple keep the other 40% as a payment for finding advertisers and handling payment. Fusion Ads – fusionads.com Another advertising network. we’ll take a look at it first.apple. the iPhone SDK 4 lets you easily embed iAd rich media ads into your application that are dynamically delivered to the user’s device.net One advertising platform that has found its way into a number of wonderful iPhone apps is Fusion Ads.
Simplenote. and worth keeping an eye on if your application falls into this particular niche. 88 I'd rather pay for an ad-free app (37%) If you were hoping for an easy answer. though. sorry to disappoint! The results are incredibly evenly split. This is an “invite only” advertising network. might be the best solution. Textie and Trackthepack. . which re-enforces the choice of many developers to offer both routes. pay for an ad-free app. with the ability to turn off advertisements for a fee. It’s good to know about. What Do Users Think About Advertising? We asked our iPhone users how they feel about iPhone advertising. and focuses mainly on designcentric services. Offering an advertising funded app. if they’d rather have a free app with advertising.95 Pricing Your App Right display their advertisements in applications such as Byline. or whether they didn’t mind: I'd rather have a free app with advertising (27%) I don't mind (36%) Chart 1 P.
Many successful applications are adopted very quickly.THE PERFECT PROMOTION MIX There are two important stages when promoting your application – at launch. Unless you’re incredibly lucky (or have a completely outstanding idea). and make their way into Apple’s top listings within a few days. and on an ongoing basis. 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. .
This is your chance to give a far greater amount of information to a potential buyer. Tell everyone you can find about it. and expect to be an overnight success purely because you’re in the mystical “App Store”. You can’t just hit submit. and really impress them with your app’s functionality right from day one. Realistically. That’s one route to perfect. there are various techniques you can employ to make sure that your App Store listing is as clear and compelling as possible.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. tell everyone who will listen about it! As we mentioned previously. 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. Dave Verwer outlines two options for your website: . Go to conferences and Apple events. you are not going to get there without alternative methods of marketing.05% of the apps in the store are currently in the US Top 100 chart). So once the App Store as a marketing mechanism has been discounted. The most important of these is also the simplest! Talk to people about your application. you are left with traditional marketing methods. Dave Verwer feels the same way: The most important thing here is to not depend on the App Store to be your marketing. write to bloggers and people who are influential in the area that you want your application to sell.
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. but several tutorial videos work best.com. I always liked the way Apple does these kind of videos by coupling the tutorial with emotion. More screenshots than on the App Store page are a must. . Most important are ways to show what the app does without relying on a demo version. You need to create something that carries the style and branding of your application onto the web. Sophia Teutschler has a few interesting thoughts to share: In my opinion. 27 http://balloonsapp. For smaller apps. both of these techniques can work well. a product website should go beyond what the App Store page offers. The important thing to remember is that simply tacking another page onto your existing site isn’t enough.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. Balloons!27 Generally speaking.
com/articles tapbots.100 The Perfect Promotion Mix Here are just a few examples of iPhone app websites that are executed extremely well: sophiestication.com/software/pastebot/ .
or any other similar app.101 The Perfect Promotion Mix rampchamp. You’ll need three things: 1. and makes the iPhone Simulator more 28 http://iphone.net/roundups/design/40-stunning-iphone-developer-websites/. . There’s no easy way to record video from your iPhone directly. A piece of software that changes your mouse cursor into something more useful for a demo video. Jing.AppStorm. For some more great examples. Camtasia.28 Quick Guide: Creating a Video Demo One important element to get right is the video demonstration. 2. Your favorite screen recording application – Screenflow.appstorm. but there are a few clever tools to achieve something similar using the iPhone Simulator on your desktop. take a look at one of our recent posts on iPhone.com It’s obvious that the same care and attention went into these websites as did the applications themselves.
but PhoneFinger30 also does the trick. .102 The Perfect Promotion Mix realistic. change the carrier to something more realistic than “Carrier”. Generating Launch “Buzz” “Buzz” is a vague concept. http://www. Your compiled app. 3. developer.wonderwarp. It’s easy to see when another application has it – the Internet lights up with mentions of a particular app. or website.com/atebits/SimFinger. and embed it into your website for everyone to see. Far more people will be likely to pay for your app if they can see it in action before they buy. You can overlay your own audio commentary later if you decide to. as it has the ability to add other application icons to your iPhone home screen. running through a few of the app’s features (keep it short and snappy). But how do you start this process in motion for your own creation? 29 30 http://github. and adding any final extras in a piece of video editing software such as iMovie.com/phonefinger/. I’d recommend SimFinger in particular. SimFinger29 is a great solution. and add a layer of gloss over the simulator display. 4. running in Xcode’s iPhone Simulator It’s then just a case of recording the portion of your screen containing the iPhone Simulator. 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.
Option 2: Slowly building momentum A carefully placed trail of hints. I’m not entirely sure which is best. as bloggers and users picked up on the app: . and hide every last detail. The idea is to spread as much information about your product before launch as possible. It also means you can gain feedback about your app before release. To be honest. But beware. I think the most important part of the entire process is having an app that’s worthy of discussion. Devin Ross found press releases sparked quite a bit of interest. but means you’ll hit everywhere at once. an iPhone app for finding hidden gems within your iPhone’s music library. and the competition will know what you’re up to. 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. One application that launched with great success was Attic. teasers and full blown video demos. when the time is right. you need to create something brilliant. so that when it’s finally released. It either needs to look visually stunning. Prepare well. It’s a gamble. Bjango had some fascinating thoughts to share on generating buzz. We’ve tried both. It typically only works if you’re well established. and how to handle a successful launch. everyone buys at once. prep the press and launch at full velocity. giving you momentum and a decent chance of success. People should want to talk about your app. you’ll also be held accountable for any features you’ve said you were going to include. Then. or offer a completely immersive and addictive user experience.103 The Perfect Promotion Mix First and foremost. Something so incredible that people have to tell their friends about it. We’ve also seen both methods work for other companies.
That brought tons of traffic. It’s important that you don’t rely completely on a traditional press release. videos. though (like we did for Balloons!) and have all of your artwork. I never sent a press release to him either. Sending out promotional codes to blogs can be a good solution. I go through a three question process when deciding whether to commission a review of a particular application: 31 http://prmac. These are great points to take note of. . but do not rely too heavily on this as bloggers and journalists can get hundreds of press releases a day.AppStorm receives several requests every day from developers looking to have their application reviewed or covered on the site. 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. Do make a press page on your web site. I sent out press releases with promo codes to a list of blog sites that morning. iPhone. You can use a service such as PRMac31 to get a broad distribution of your release to hundreds of sites. I started to see a bunch of mentions on Twitter and I knew something organic was happening. and everything else that reviewers might need if they do decide to talk about your app. I wasn’t aware of how fast people picked up on the application.com. and stayed up all night just to make sure everything went smoothly. as can offering them to sites that would like to run a giveaway. In retrospect. John Gruber picked up on the application and linked to it on his site.104 The Perfect Promotion Mix I released Attic on March 1st. I was surprised how fast it was too.
many people already knew about it. Is the email personally directed to me. If all three of those conditions are met.com.32 What probably helped the most. however. 32 http://iconfactory. blogging about Ramp Champ on our main website. Traditional advertising such as web and print were used only sparingly. or the site? If it’s a generic press release sent out in bulk to hundreds of people. How much care and attention has been put into screenshots. 2. of course. then I’m likely to download the application. and write a review if I feel that our readers will find it useful. I’ll likely pass over it in favor of something else that’s different and unique. This really helped build anticipation for the game so when the actual launch rolled around. It’s worth taking the time and care to send someone a personal message. give it a try. Facebook. I asked Gedeon from The Iconfactory what their main promotion techniques were.105 The Perfect Promotion Mix 1. A final application to profile that got all of these pointers completely correct is Ramp Champ – a game that had a phenomenally successful launch. branding. Twitter and. . 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. and which factors held importance in its surge to popularity: We used many of the most popular methods available today. and the app’s website? If the interface looks logical. it doesn’t reflect well on the developer. it’s always a positive sign. clear and welldesigned. These old ways of advertising are not nearly as effective any longer. Does the idea sound interesting? If the application is just another clone of something remarkably mundane. 3.
if not triple them. so being featured here is a great way to fuel sales and ignite a catalyst effect. If you’re app is selling over 1. the increased visibility serves to increase sales. you have an established base of people ready to buy your application. You can sit in the list for a while if you have a good product. and keeping people informed can be a great technique. and maintain your position. Once you’re there. Many iPhone users browse these as a guide to what’s new and popular on the App Store. Typically this will at least double your sales. it takes more and more effort or “push” to reach the top lists. if your app is selling 300-800 copies a day. and how being a “Featured” app affects interest: As the App Store grows and more apps are added. at least for a short while. 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. However. I can give a recent . then you are on the path to a really successful launch. being featured isn’t nearly as good as being in that Top 25. Dave Verwer also had a few statistics to share on this subject. It means that when you do come to flip the switch. 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. then you’re probably in the Top 100 somewhere.106 The Perfect Promotion Mix The idea of building up a community during development. offering “sneak peaks”. 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. Being a featured app definitely helps.
When we were in the top half of the Top 100 charts. and now we are in the bottom half of those charts we are getting between 600 and 800 downloads per day. What better way to find out how users find new applications than just to ask them? That’s what we did. we were getting between 1300 and 1600 downloads per day. we have a free application which has been in the Top 100 free photography apps charts in several countries around the world since it launched a couple of weeks ago. Obviously the numbers will be smaller in the paid photography app charts and those numbers would need to be significantly bigger to get into the top 100 charts in a very popular category like Games or Entertainment. 98 .107 The Perfect Promotion Mix example though. 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.
This suggests that it’s certainly worth promoting your application through all these avenues – particularly approaching blogs and websites.000 per day. but generally has been over $15. In our developer survey. The number of sales required to hit that mark has changed over time. no one method had a particularly high number of people “never” using it. even if a few are explored more regularly than others. we asked respondents whether they’d ever reached Apple’s Top 100: . it can often feel that reaching any form of “Top List” is impossible.108 cont’d The Perfect Promotion Mix A large proportion of readers find recommendations from websites useful. Users tend to utilize all these methods to some extent. along with Apple’s Top Lists. So far. we spoke to Dave Howell from Avatron: We’ve had good luck with the rankings. Interestingly. this outcome could be slightly biased as most respondents found the survey through AppStorm – an iPhone software website! Finally. three of our apps (Air Sharing. Do I Have Any Chance of Reaching the Top 100? With so many different applications in the App Store. Admittedly. and Air Display) have reached the position of #1 top grossing third-party app. Air Sharing HD. Far fewer browse through the different categories within the App Store.
be that Twitter. a well designed interface. Go Social With Your App The power of social media is something that cannot be overlooked. so can you! Unfortunately. It’s almost a certainty that everyone in your user base will use some form of online social service. there’s no secret formula to pushing yourself into the realms of a Top 10 iPhone application.109 cont’d The Perfect Promotion Mix Yes (24%) No. Facebook. they’ll be far more likely to spend money on your latest release. and plenty of launch promotion to give yourself a chance. not yet! (76%) Chart 2 P. 139 If almost a quarter of our 80 survey participants were able to make it. MySpace. If iPhone users have enjoyed your software before. You’ll need a great idea. or any other website around the world. You’ll also be more likely to reach this level if you already have a track record on the App Store. .
.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. 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. The power of word-of-mouth shouldn’t be overlooked. this type of social integration can mean than your users help to promote your application for you. Whichever method you use. and require that a user connects to their social media account in order to use it. or through 33 http://www. People’s recommendation of your application – whether done explicitly. In its most basic form. for sharing statistics and achievements. this could take on the idea implemented by the developers of Canabalt.com.110 The Perfect Promotion Mix You can use this fact to your advantage when designing an application. Many successful apps have a way to link your Facebook/Twitter account with the software.canabalt. or playing along with your friends.
Simplenote relies on this to a large degree. and thank people when they say something positive about your app. you’ll need to find where your users are.111 The Perfect Promotion Mix allowing the software to let their online “friends” know that they are using the app – is very important. and they are also a fantastic resource for gaining feedback on app ideas. and join in the discussion. organic growth: We experimented with hiring a marketing company for a short period of time. For now we’re happy with solid organic growth. and betas. 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. but also offers a channel to enter into a conversation with them. 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. Set up a Twitter and Facebook account for your app. . An existing base of engaged customers are very likely to purchase your work in the future. but the results were very difficult to track precisely. mockups. If that’s on Twitter. and have found it to lead to reliable. then make sure you’re there to answer any questions they have. Be honest and sincere. As well as this. Use social media to your advantage. It will give you the opportunity to help people out who are having problems. The vast majority of people hear about Simplenote from a friend. building up a gradual following on these different services will be an invaluable asset when you come to launch your next killer application.
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!
It will become obvious when certain functionality isn’t clear. As you invest time talking to users about your application and helping them with problems. 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. we offer support in many ways: we have a support forum and we’re always reachable by direct e-mail and Twitter. or that users want to be able to do something extra that your app isn’t capable of. We’ve mentioned the importance of your App Store rating before. As a result. It may consume a little more of your time handling these things personally. 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. and the level of post-sales support you give can have a big impact on this. we divide support requests throughout the entire team. For Headquarters specifically. You built it. It’s almost guaranteed that people will try to get in touch with you for whatever reason. but it’s well worth it. talking to people on Twitter and even taking phone calls. you’ll build up a greater understanding about which areas of your application are in need of refinement. We all take turns answering e-mails. We may spend a considerable amount of time per week on support but it’s definitely not time wasted.115 The Perfect Promotion Mix Top Notch Support and Regular Updates The process of selling your application doesn’t end as soon as the user clicks “Buy App”. Don’t be afraid to put your name and other information next to your product. be proud of it. .
there’s less that can go wrong. That’s a huge responsibility.com. a community driven support site that allows people to easily ask questions and submit requests. Finding the right tool for offering support is important. developers spend two hours each day on support. Since there’s less that people are able to do with our app. They’re our window into all support emails and tweets.com. This is an area where simplicity helps us. this varies depending upon the size of your application and the range of functionality on offer. Of course. on average. Simplenote synchronizes people’s thoughts. http://getsatisfaction. We do our best to be transparent and responsive whenever there’s a problem. but it might not be the medium that suits you best. Another website that many iPhone developers use is Get Satisfaction35. . and when something does go wrong we can afford the time to address it properly. Our beloved customer support tool is Assistly. How Long Does Support Take? Based on the results of our survey. Email is great.34 which is a new service. The important thing to remember is that if you’re going to invest 2-3 hours per day supporting your users. the application needs to be bringing in enough revenue to account for that time! 34 35 http://assistly. and can save a great deal of time down the road.116 The Perfect Promotion Mix The developers of Simplenote understand this completely: Customer support is extremely important to us. ideas and dreams. We’ll eventually launch a self-service portal that is powered by them as well.
but steady quality updates throughout the year keeps the app fresh and your customers happy. you need to make sure your app is submitted and approved well ahead of schedule in order to best capitalize on the exposure. I asked them how this process worked. 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. . but any opportunity to talk to a group of people about your new creation is a great one. This isn’t a requirement – many successful apps are updated very infrequently after any initial bugs are ironed out. I watched the developers of Broadersheet pitch to a panel at a Carsonified36 “Future of Web Apps” event.117 The Perfect Promotion Mix In addition to offering support. Updates could be used to fix any pending issues. Sophie Teutschler feels that this is a necessity: Keeping the updates coming is the best thing you can do. There’s no need to update your app every month. This doesn’t need to be a huge event. and it was very well received. 36 http://carsonified. 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. users like to see your application updated on a fairly regular basis. 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. A few years ago.com. or add requested features.
Many cities have local iPhone/OS X user and developer groups. This is followed by an ongoing relationship with bloggers. 110 .118 The Perfect Promotion Mix It needn’t necessarily be a conference for hundreds of people. The least effective method was a “well written press release”. so don’t invest too much energy into this route! Chart 1 P. The results tied in closely with the interview responses throughout this chapter: Word of Mouth Giving Away Free Promotion Codes An Ongoing Relationship with Bloggers A Well-Written Press Release Spending Money on Advertising 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 Irrelevant Not So Effective Quite Effective Very Effective Word of mouth is – by far – the most effective method of promotion. This can also be a good place to meet likeminded developers and share advice. and are always looking for new people to come and talk about their latest creation. Which Promotion Methods Do Developers Find Most Beneficial? One of the questions in our developer survey asked which promotion methods they have found to be most effective in the past.
and step confidently onto the path towards becoming an iPhone app entrepreneur! . podcasts. Hopefully you’ll feel well equipped to get the process started. The rest of this chapter will walk you through a huge spectrum of useful resources. books and conferences that offer a helping hand with getting started in the App Store. 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. it’s time to get started! But.USEFUL RESOURCES Now that you’ve received insight from so many successful iPhone developers. websites.
and also to how it works. and this is the best place to go for official information. Books If reading books is the best way for you to enjoy learning. Read it twice. drawing. iPhone Application Programming Guide http://bit. this selection covers pretty much everything you will need to know about iPhone development. Data Management.ly/iphig We’ve mentioned this document throughout the book.ly/ipprogguide Quite simply an overview of everything to do with iPhone programming.ly/ipgsguide Not just getting started with programming for the iPhone. but it has just about everything you need to know in plenty of detail. to .ly/objcintro Apple’s hefty introduction to Objective-C doesn’t specifically refer to iPhone development. Security and much more. event handling. but also getting started with Audio. or to any practical applications. Getting Started Guides http://bit. Human Interface Guidelines http://bit. Introduction to Objective-C http://bit. From the basics of learning Objective-C and Cocoa. including windows. This is Apple’s style guide – both to your application interface. files and multimedia support.121 Useful Resources Apple’s Documentation Apple makes plenty of their own documentation available. but it’s worth reiterating its importance again here. Their Getting Started guides are particularly good.
and some Cocoa experience would be beneficial. the next step would be to learn how to utilize the Cocoa Frameworks in your development of both Mac OS X and iPhone applications. Objective-C for Dummies http://amzn. I think. and it also comes with a CD of source code as well. Learn Cocoa on the Mac http://amzn. Beginning iPhone 3 Development: Exploring the iPhone SDK http://amzn. and what you should let Cocoa do for you.to/ipprojects Designing for the iPhone is probably unlike anything else you have previously designed for. but this selection.to/exploresdk Dave Mark and Jeff LaMarche take you through the beginning stages of iPhone development. especially in Objective-C or at least in a C-related language.to/objcdummies The majority of iPhone apps are written in Objective-C so you need to know the language before getting started. Neil Goldstein takes you through an introduction to the language relating both to iPhone and Mac OS X development.122 Useful Resources interface design and 3D Games Development. Previous programming experience is necessary. This book gives you a good grounding into what you should code yourself. There are many other books out there. enabling you to go on to create high quality apps for the iPhone. offers a good range. No programming experience is required before you pick up this book. as certain aspects are standardized and the screen is much smaller than any desktop or laptop. . you will get a good grounding in designing and programming for the iPhone interface.to/cocoaguide After successfully coming to grips with Objective-C. iPhone User Interface Design Projects http://amzn.
iPhone for Programmers – An App Driven Approach http://amzn. The next step on from learning the iPhone basics would be to start creating 3D apps. Map Kit. Introducing you to all the main iPhone programming concepts and libraries using 14 complete apps. but this book takes an entirely different approach to programming. you’ll learn how to integrate Cocoa Touch. including how best to use the limited screen real estate. such as the “How to Program” series. 3D for iPhone Apps with Blender and SIO2 http://amzn.to/appapproach Deitel and Deitel write some of the best programming books around. iPhone Advanced Projects http://amzn. how to present data intensive apps. you are introduced to the concepts of graphics programming using OpenGL along with collision detection. and what to consider when migrating desktop applications down to the iPhone. 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.to/iphone3d Programming apps for the iPhone is one thing. The book also gives you a brief introduction to getting your app approved by Apple. Using Blender as the 3D content creator. Contributions come from a number of different app developers giving you a broad range of opinions and plenty of good advice. Core Location and many other technologies. but I’m sure there are a few wannabe iPhone game developers out there. this book is for you. though this requires some previous programming knowledge to understand the example source code given. animation and interacting with the environment. the book also introduces different writers to . Taking you through topics such as optimizing performance and streamlining your interface.123 Useful Resources This book introduces you to designing for the iPhone.to/advancedprojects For those developers looking to take their iPhone apps to the next level.
Everything from introducing the iPhone SDK to fundamentals of Cocoa.com/iphone/ Also from Apple through the Developer Program. and others come at a price. Apple’s Getting Started Tutorials http://developer. covering all the tools and technologies needed to develop killer iPhone applications. comes this 13 video series.124 Useful Resources talk about a variety of advanced topics. streaming audio and debugging errors in your code.com/iphone/ Once you have registered for the free iPhone Developer Program you get nine introductory videos to help you to get started with iPhone app development. and slightly newer than the above tutorials. UI and web applications over the 13 hour course of video tutorials. Before you pay for a screencast. Stanford University’s iPhone Application Development is updated for the Winter 2010 semester. Screencasts There are a lot of great screencasts out there for learning iPhone development – some are free. Topics include game development. Featuring the full lectures along with PDFs of the lecture slides and all the supporting code. Learn about networking with other iPhones.apple. be sure to check that it’s for a recent version of the Xcode and the iPhone/IOS SDK. integrating SQLite and Push Notifications.apple. iPhone Tech Talk World Tour http://developer. it’s almost as good as being there… just without the pressure of assignments! . iPhone Application Development http://bit.ly/iphonestanford One of the most popular series on iTunes U. integrating iPhone features and interface design is covered in these detailed videos.
com/ Priced at around $10 each. iPhone Application Programming http://bit. Lecture slides are available as PDFs although you cannot get hold of any of the source code or assignments. RWTH Aachen in Germany also uploaded their course to iTunes U.ly/rwthiphone Similar to Stanford’s course above. the course is fully in English and covers everything from interface building and debugging to audio.125 Useful Resources Highly recommended to all those with some knowledge of a C language and Object Oriented Programming concepts. A few of these include: Mobile Orchard http://mobileorchard. Pragmatic Screencasts http://pragprog. video. PeepCode Screencasts http://peepcode. drawing and networking. these screencasts come highly recommended for learning about specific aspects of iPhone development.com/category/podcast/ An iPhone Developer podcast talking to some of the people behind the most popular apps in the store.com/screencasts/v-bdiphone/writing-your-first-iphoneapplication The series entitled “Writing Your First iPhone Application” is a particularly good introduction. Gain some insight into what goes into producing an app and the different technologies utilized. 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. with five episodes priced at $5 each. . Don’t worry if you can’t speak German.
Android. but a useful resource. with leading authors and experts on topics such as Snow Leopard. gain inspiration from other developers. Blogs and Websites Mobiletuts+ http://mobile.126 The MDN Show http://bit.com/ Mobiletuts+ is all about quality tutorials for mobile developers – all mobile developers. and techniques for building mobile accessible web sites with HTML 5. Topics include native development with the iPhone. Whether you want to create the next killer app or become a pioneer of the mobile frontier.AppStorm http://iphone. they’ve got you covered! iPhone. Windows and Blackberry platforms. Not too technical.appstorm. the Mac Developer Network show takes on a magazine style format and is very easy to listen to.tutsplus.ly/mdnshow Useful Resources A “one stop shop” show for Mac and iPhone developers. OnMacDevelopment http://bit. the iPhone SDK.net/ Obviously I have to recommend our own website as a brilliant place to find out about new applications. cross-platform development with tools like Appcelerator and Phone Gap. and Cocoa.ly/onmac Conversations and tutorials on development for Mac and iPhone software. and connect with a huge base of iPhone users! .
iPhone Flow http://www. 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/ Useful Resources Updated about once a week.raywenderlich. Hopefully one of the following will fit the bill: Apple Developer Forums http://developer.com/devforums/ Apple’s official forums.127 iCodeBlog http://icodeblog.apple.iphoneflow. iCodeBlog provides some very useful and detailed tutorials. there’s no replacement for an active forum filled with helpful members.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. Ray Wenderlich http://www. Forums If you want to exchange ideas with other developers and seek help. . ManiacDev http://maniacdev. You can pick up some neat tips here. A vital read for those wishing to develop in Cocoa2D.com/ A community blog where users post links to items they feel will be of interest to other developers. where you will meet lots of like-minded developers.
iphoneworld.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. iPhone Dev SDK http://www.com/?page_id=394. and general Apple and iPhone news. web apps and also advice on app promotion. game development.iphonedevforums. Conferences There’s no replacement to sitting down and talking about your latest iPhone development project with other developers. and topics centering around the App Store. and chat with other developers.tipb. technical iPhone development. Covering everything from basic development to tutorials. Apple have their own list of user groups.com/forum/ Useful Resources Get help with coding the iPhone SDK.000 members. It’s also worth looking out for meet-ups in your local area.com/forum/ A massive forum with over 22.128 iPhone Dev Forums http://www. TiPb iPhone Developer Forum http://forum.iphonedevsdk. iPhone World http://forum. and the legal side of coding apps.ca/ A large forum with over 20. If a few beers are involved as well. .37 or you can just Google for local developers and set something going yourself! 37 http://appleusergroupresources. These conferences are a great opportunity to hear some inspiring speakers.000 members. so much the better.
and one of Core Competencies/Interface Development.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. USA. don’t worry – Apple usually publishes their videos of conference sessions online soon after the event. The event . The cost was $495 for early bird registration.com/wwdc/ Apple’s main conference seems to take on an increasingly mobile-centric approach every year. but the four-day event features some of the top speakers in the industry. iOSDevCamp http://www.com/ Useful Resources Occurring on a regular basis.voicesthatmatter. iPhone Developer Summit http://www.com/iphone2010/ This two-day conference occurred in April 2010. If you can’t make it though. It features some excellent technical sessions on both iPhone and Mac OS X development. as in recent years the conference has sold out quickly. Apple Worldwide Developers Conference http://developer.apple. and it’s worth checking to see whether it will be repeated. 360iDev is the first and (supposedly) still the best iPhone developer conference in the world.129 360iDev http://www.360idev. California. Voices That Matter http://www. and the schedule was split between a day of Best Practices/Game Development.iphonedevcamp.iphonedevsummit. You have to pay the registration fee in advance (approximately $499). Register early. the iPhone Developer Summit is usually held in Santa Clara.com/ Open to anyone with an interest in iPhone development.
This is the best way to connect your application up to Google’s services. Facebook Connect http://developers. featuring content from the participants themselves. YouTube and Analytics among others.x but should work with current releases. 3D game creation becomes a whole lot simpler and it ties in with the Bullet Physics SDK. Oolong Engine http://code.facebook. If you’re looking for a few interesting pointers to get started with different open source libraries.google.php?tab=iphone Integrate Facebook Connect into your app to connect with your Facebook friends. .com/p/gdata-objectivec-client/ Google provides some brilliant Objective-C APIs for its services like Maps. the Oolong Engine provides a great starting point. It was built for iPhone 2. Docs. APIs and Frameworks This section is for the technically adept.google.com/connect. and aims to assist those of you embarking on your own native app development.130 Useful Resources format is “unconference” or Barcamp-style. Development Libraries.com/p/oolongengine/ For those of you wanting to create games for the iPhone. This code provides a reliable method of authentication for Facebook services.com/lukhnos/objectiveflickr ObjectiveFlickr is an API for connecting to a Flickr account through your iPhone or Mac app. these links may prove to be useful: Google API Client Library http://code. ObjectiveFlickr http://github.
132 Rhodes http://rhomobile.com/products/rhodes/ Useful Resources Rhodes is an open source framework for developing mobile apps for all platforms. A solid starting point to avoid beginning from scratch. frameworks and helpful APIs available for native app development. Three20 http://three20.info/ Three20 is an iPhone development library. Before giving up on a particular piece of functionality. Blackberry and iPhone. tutorials. be sure to search around to see whether someone else has come up with a solution already! . It’s based on the Ruby programming language and can compile apps for Android. Obviously this only scratches the surface of the different resources. It’s the code that powers the Facebook iPhone app and many other apps in the App Store.
.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.
Figuring out what customers want and creating awareness for the application is something that needs a lot of consideration. There are so many business models you can consider. There are a lot of guys just like you.135 Words of Wisdom One Piece of Advice I asked developers to offer a single piece of advice for aspiring iPhone entrepreneurs. and persevere. Devin Ross – Attic I would suggest that if you want to make a profit as a developer (and who doesn’t). Coding the application is only half the battle. . Simplenote My advice isn’t earth-shattering. The iPhone landscape is always changing so you have to work quickly and adapt. Chances are that if you’re having a problem. But make something people want. you have to look at the application development as a business. I’m fairly new at this myself. So solve that. You need to invest in developing a product. FInd people that can help achieve your goals. others will too. Heed their wise words carefully! 37signals Scratch your own itch. This is fairly conventional wisdom and it works for us. listen to their feedback.
I can say that . and you’ll probably see some success. Feedback is so important when developing apps. If you make a quality product. I almost threw in the towel right there. keep at it. It takes hard work and more than a few attempts before you’ll probably have a moderate hit. When I looked at the sales figures for Barista’s first day on the App Store. There are a lot of apps in the App Store and sometimes it can seem as if no one will ever notice your work. don’t churn out a load of crappy apps – aspire for one great one! Dustin MacDonald – Wallet Don’t forget to innovate. the App Store will notice. and it fills a badly needed niche. don’t expect a gold rush. Thirdly – as corny as it might sound – don’t give up. That being said. Secondly – listen to your customers.e. I’ve been really fortunate to have had excellent partnerships on my apps. i. Gedeon Maheux – The Iconfactory Don’t get discouraged. find a great partner. Let your customers have a way of reaching you directly so they can let you know what they like and dislike and what they want to you to improve.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. But 18 months later. Your app should always do something exceptionally new and exciting if you want to stand out. Just don’t give up! Glasshouse Apps Firstly.
You can work on your masterpiece as your second application! Lee Mallabone – Broadersheet Be selective when choosing your beta testers. get it going and go for it. it doesn’t have to be super unique or even big. and it will teach you an incredible amount about how to approach the process in the future. you’ll want to be able to turn out new releases quickly. all dancing. Release something that starts to get you going. Once your app is out. There is no experience better than actually going through the entire process of designing. building and shipping an app. instead of reading about or planning. Try and find at least 5 or 10 people that you can count on to help you out on short notice. that’s great. Get something simple coded and get it on the store. Take a simple idea. Just try to release something quality. .137 One Piece of Advice developing that one app has probably been the most influential business decision I’ve made in my entire working life. mind blowing application. Dave Verwer – Shiny Development Get out there and try it! Don’t worry about making your first app an all singing. I always learned the most by doing. Sophia Teutschler – Sophiestication Software Make apps! It’s that simple. If you can find more that are willing to beta test. 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 part of the quality assurance for that is making sure the app is installable from a machine other than your own development computers.
with a huge amount of apps between $1-$3. But for a great majority of apps that apply to niche markets and business users. .99. it would be that the App Store. despite what you may read from a minority of developers. especially for those looking for mass adoption. If one browses the highest revenue apps in the app store. you need to work hard to make a decent income. but by charging 40% more. and offer some general advice on this one: Price for value. I think the answer is no: If you’re properly marketing your app on social networks and such. app developers are really doing themselves a disservice. 99% of people selling apps aren’t making untold sums of money. Look at it this way: If you price your app at $4. and you need to make regular updates to it. you need to market and promote that app. For simple utility apps.138 Garrett Murray – Ego One Piece of Advice If I can only offer once piece. you might lose 10-20% of the potential customers. this may make sense.99 instead of $2. they will find a variety of apps sold at prices between $10-$50. Like anything else. David Kaneda – Sencha I’ll step down from my web app soapbox for a moment. I think there’s a trend of undervaluing apps right now. is not a get-rich-quick system. will you lose 40% of your customers? In most cases. you’re still making more money. and grow a thick skin. You need to produce a quality application with wide appeal. because customer feedback can be extremely frustrating. Oh. Don’t go in expecting to be rich overnight.
But there’s no reason why iOS apps can’t be every bit as deep as desktop apps. . it’s tempting to think of it as a platform for small apps. When developing iOS apps.139 One Piece of Advice There are other reasons. too. don’t skimp on the kind of process and diligence that you would commit to the development of desktop apps. “What would I pay for this?” Dave Howell – Avatron Because the iPhone is small. they should simply be asking themselves. like being associated with quality by being “premium. Many of the early apps in the store bore out that prejudice.” Especially as more and more developers begin to look at iPad and Universal apps.
. concerns and doubts about embarking on this process. we aim to answer all your questions. Is it possible to make a living developing for the iPhone? How long does it take to develop an app? How many hours will it take to offer support? Is this career really more enjoyable than my existing work? In the first ever extensive App Store developer survey. Like we did. We’ve surveyed over 80 individual iPhone developers and companies to gather a comprehensive set of statistics that shed light on the App Store.THE iPHONE DEVELOPER SURVEY It often feels as though there’s a mystical shroud hovering over developers operating in the App Store. I’m sure you have all manner of questions running around your head.
000+ (4%) 500 – 1.000 (9%) Less than 100 (19%) 250 – 500 (22%) 100 – 250 (46%) Chart 1 P.142 The iPhone Developer Survey Part 1 – Business and Company How many hours does it generally take to develop an iPhone application? 1. 132 .
133 .143 Other The iPhone Developer Survey How many people are employed by your company? 11+ 6 – 10 2–5 Just me! 0 5 10 15 20 Chart 2 P. 132 25 30 35 40 45 Are you aiming to grow your company’s staff. or are you happy with your current size? We're happy as we are! (50%) We're looking to grow (50%) Chart 1 P.
000 – $5. what is the financial cost of developing an iPhone app? $50.000 – $50.000 – $10.000 $1 – $500 Just my own time 0 5 10 Chart 2 P.000 $5.000+ $25.000 $1. 133 15 20 25 What is your total monthly revenue from sales of iPhone apps in USD? .000 – $25.144 The iPhone Developer Survey In your experience.000 $500 – $1.000 $10.
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? .
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.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.
on average. 137 30 40 50 60 How many days.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? .
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.
Developers could have reached the Top 100 in their local App Store – not necessarily the US App Store. we didn’t specify the Top 100 in any particular country.b. 139 No. not yet (97%) Have you ever reached Apple’s Top 100 ranking? Yes (24%) Chart 1 P.150 The iPhone Developer Survey Have you ever been featured in an iPhone TV advertisement? Yes! (3%) No. not yet! (76%) n. For this question. Chart 2 P. 139 .
140 .151 The iPhone Developer Survey What’s the highest you’ve ranked? Have you considered developing for the iPad? No (16%) Yes – I've released an iPad app (29%) Yes – I'm working on one now (55%) Chart 1 P.
141 . 141 15 20 25 30 Do you offer both a free and paid-for version of your application? Yes (25%) No (75%) Chart 2 P.152 The iPhone Developer Survey Do you develop for any of the following other mobile platforms? Other Nokia Windows Mobile Blackberry Android 0 5 10 Chart 1 P.
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.
It’s a black box at the moment. I would also formalize an appeal process for rejected apps. it would be to make the approval process a lot more open and transparent. reviews and ratings can often be negative and do not reflect the general opinion. I’d give developers better analytics about App Store listing views. and usually when you remove an app. 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. and what they struggle with on a regular basis. Usually people give a star when they remove an app.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. it’s because you don’t like it. Apps get rejected every day for what appear to be arbitrary reasons. spending time and money on developing an app that might never get approved. I have to say something as a person who never even owned a Mac until three months before my first app was approved. what they like. In the end. what they search for. Apple has done a very good job at making the entire development process work. . 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. It is a little bit scary. If I could change one thing.
but all in all. This isn’t so much the case now. You make an app. and Apple walks you through every step. and too small to be noticed. The review process needs to be more transparent and accessible. on the Apple Developer website. The App Store is very unforgiving to indie developers. in the documentation. and even in the support forums. Visual Studio). it is a beautiful system for developers of any level. The process you have to take is straightforward. the development software is extremely well done. and everything but advertising is done for you – Apple sells your app worldwide. This is great – it’s awesome to see large companies turn their focus on such a fun market. there are legitimate complaints. Ubisoft and all of the other big titles are re-releasing their titles on the App Store to great fanfare and profit. and it’s much harder to make it. For example. get it approved. there are plenty of great applications out there that are simply ignored because they’re too small to market. . There is help available in Xcode. My one proposed feature would be to include an additional subdivision in the top lists – highlight the small one to five people development shops. 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. EA. I should be able to contact the reviewer for more information than that included in the rejection letter. if an app is rejected. The whole reason why so many developers flocked to this platform is because it was a indie developer friendly eco-system. Give them the spotlight that they deserve.155 The iPhone Developer Survey First. and sends you checks! Yes. if sometimes tedious. And it is free (take that.
and every time I fixed it and resubmitted it.156 The iPhone Developer Survey I had a problem with my first iPad app where one bug seemed to occur over and over. it would be rejected again for the same bug. 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 also by pushing resubmissions to the front of the queue. .
how often they update them. targeting.THE iPHONE USER SURVEY As a developer.000 iPhone users over the course of one week in July 2010. This could relate to how they find apps. how many they buy. We’re offering the data for you here. and what aspects of your application to spend the most time on. or all manner of other information! In this final part of the survey. so feel free to use it as you see fit! . we’ve collected responses from over 1. the devices they use them on. Hopefully this information will help you make decisions about promotion. These participants were all readers of AppStorm. it’s vital to understand just how users experience your software.
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?
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%)
Yes – Just one (21%)
Chart 1 P. 149
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%) . 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.
151 .163 The iPhone User Survey What’s the most you have ever paid for an iPhone app? If one is available. do you download a free version of an app before purchasing it? I usually just purchase it (4%) Sometimes (44%) Always (52%) Chart 1 P.
164 Recommendations from Websites Recommendations from Friends The iPhone User Survey How often do you use the following to find a new iPhone app? Searching the App Store Browsing by Category Apple's Top Lists 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 Never Not So Often Quite Often Very Often Chart 1 P. 152 How important are ratings when deciding whether to buy an app? I don't pay attention to ratings (2%) Not very important (7%) Very important (48%) A little important (43%) Chart 1 P. 152 .
Best of luck. don’t forget to enjoy the process from start to finish. and never stop promoting your app with an unrelenting passion.CONCLUSION Embarking on the journey of developing an iPhone application is nothing to be taken lightly. keep it simple. It won’t be easy. Most of all. Hopefully this book has provided you with knowledge you didn’t have before. don’t be afraid to seek help from others. Spend time crafting your idea. always put design first. and I’ll see you in the App Store! David Appleyard AppStorm Editor . and equipped you to take your first few steps in the right direction. understand the App Store guidelines. but the satisfaction of watching your application shoot to fame will be worth every minute.
and writers.com 37signals. iPhone users.com youknowwhodesign.com avatron.com selectstartstudios.com .CREDITS This book couldn’t have come together without the help and contribution of many different developers. Tariq Zaid & Adam McNamara David Heinemeier Hansson & Jason Fried Devin Ross – Attic Sebastiaan de With Garrett Murray Dustin MacDonald Gedeon Maheux – The Iconfactory Lee Mallabone – Broadersheet Sophia Teutschler – Sophiestication Software David Kaneda – Sencha Dave Howell – Avatron glasshouseapps.com acrylicapps.com sophiestication.com bjango.com cocoia.com sencha.com simplenoteapp. 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.broadersheet.com shinydevelopment.com iconfactory.com atticapp.com iphone.com ego-app.
net/roundups/developer/the-complete-iphone-development-toolbox/. 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.appstorm. thank you to Mark Sinkinson who contributed an incredibly useful post to AppStorm entitled “The Complete iPhone Development Toolbox”38. 38 http://iphone. . I really appreciate you taking the time to contribute.072 iPhone users that completed our survey. and hope you enjoyed reading the resulting statistics! AppStorm Writers Finally.
a series of sites relating to Mac. UK. with his girlfriend Jen.ABOUT THE AUTHOR David Appleyard is part of the Envato team and manager of the AppStorm network.000 daily readers. iPhone. and Web apps with over 60. He built his first website over ten years ago and is passionate about the Internet. blogging. Check out David’s personal website at http://davidappleyard. and is never without his trusty iPhone.net. and manages a few other popular blogs including Design Shack. V413HA V . He’s also the editor of Phototuts+. and online business. or follow him on Twitter: @davidappleyard. loves playing with the latest gadgets from Cupertino. David lives in Manchester.
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