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Foreword Meet the Developers
And the Developers are...

3 5

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


12 14 16 18

Building Your App Around a Service

The App Store

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


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

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


Quick Guide: Creating an iPhone Optimized Site

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


67 69 72 77 80

Learning to Keep it Simple and Iterate
Iteration in Action


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


88 89 93

APIs and Frameworks 120 121 121 124 125 126 127 128 130 One Piece of Advice Words of Wisdom 134 135 The iPhone Developer Survey Part 1 – Business and Company Part 2 – Developing Apps 141 142 148 The iPhone User Survey Conclusion Credits About the Author 158 165 166 168 .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. 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.

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

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who generously gave up their time and expertise to contribute to this book.MEET THE DEVELOPERS Before we get started. Their insight is remarkably helpful for starting out on the right track when developing your own application. Throughout the book. designers. you’ll encounter interviews with sixteen people who have an intimate knowledge of developing for the iPhone. . I want to offer a special thank you to the developers. and App Store entrepreneurs who helped to make this guide possible. 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 Glasshouse Apps started out with Barista and Cellar. Graham Clarke – Glasshouse Apps glasshouseapps.com Dave has years of Mac development experience under his belt. two unique applications to help you make a great cup of coffee. a wonderful way to take simple notes and keep them synchronized between multiple apps and services.. and knows everything there is to know about programming and development! Sarah Parmenter – You Know Who youknowwhodesign. An expert in iPhone UI design. a web design and development studio based in Leigh-on-Sea.com Sarah is the talented designer behind You Know Who. she has worked on a number of beautiful iPhone applications. as the name suggests. and to manage your wine library. Essex. Michael Johnston & Fred Cheng – Simplenote simplenoteapp.6 Meet the Developers And the Developers are. and developed the popular iPhone game “Balloons”. . He runs a number of different Mac user groups.com Simplenote is. By far and away the best note taking application for the iPhone. Dave Verwer – Shiny Development shinydevelopment. a brilliantly unique RSS reader.. Graham has seen recent success with the release of The Early Edition for the iPad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Better.16 Perfecting a Killer Idea Whenever a new software release is announced. less functionality than many competing devices. It was all about the style and execution of the concept. The same is true for application development. . if anything. being first certainly isn’t everything. 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. The iPhone itself is a wonderful example of this. or Different While important. you can look for a page such as this and brainstorm a list of application ideas that weren’t possible previously. The first version offered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

24 Getting Started

The App Store

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

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

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


The App Store

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

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

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

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


The App Store

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. and often acts as a huge influence upon potential buyers – your rating and reviews: .

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

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

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

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

People were immediately gracious about the feature via Twitter because they suddenly knew what was happening and when it would be fixed. 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. it’s a great safeguard. 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. You have a method to communicate with users. and it can make supporting and promoting your application far easier. Although implementing something along these lines will certainly take a little longer to develop.39 The App Store In fact. 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.0. there’s no doubt that it brings a whole range of benefits. 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. . The possibility of featuring your app within an active ecosystem of users and developers is very appealing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 .

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

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

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


Making a Development Decision

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

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

How Long Does it Take?

Making a Development Decision

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

500–1,000 (9%)

250–500 (22%)

100–250 (46%)

Chart 1 P. 46

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


Making a Development Decision

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

000 $10.58 cont’d Making a Development Decision Series 1 $50.000 $500 – $1.000 – $10.000 $1 – $500 Just my own time 0 5 10 Series 1 Chart 1 P. we expected to see that many people would be able to produce iPhone apps for a relatively low cost – investing only their own time.000 $5. Developing a Web Application The third and final option is to develop a web application – an app that is hosted on the internet. It’s clear that you have a choice of approaching development in a thrifty fashion.000 $1.000 – $50. .000 – $25. or investing more into a better polished and functional application. and runs in the iPhone’s Mobile Safari browser.000+ $25. 53 15 20 25 Because our survey was targeted at developers. is not distributed through the App Store.000 – $5.

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

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. Do People Use Web Apps? Although the iPhone is perfectly capable of running web apps to an almost-native standard. and 42% of people didn’t have one at all. 21% had just one. 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/webapps/. Awareness (at least among our readers) seemed high. with only 4% of people answering “What’s a Web App?” 15 http://www.apple.

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

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

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

. 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. 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. 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.png"/> • The first of these removes the standard Safari navigation bar. but if you’d prefer for this not to happen. Nettuts+ published an article18 that offers a great insight into this. 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. and is well worth taking the time to read. somewhere between the <head></head> tags: <meta name="apple-mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes" /> <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width. It’s simply a case of including the following three declarations in your HTML page. • • In addition to these. you can change the name of this declaration to apple-touch-icon-precomposed.tutsplus. and ensure that everything is well optimized for a touch interface. to ensure that it will function correctly on the iPhone. 18 http://net. I thought it would be useful to quickly go over what you need to include in a webpage. userscalable=no"> <link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="iphoneicon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

74 The Importance of Simple. Sexy Interface Design .

Once I have crafted the UI. I find that explaining design decisions rather than just sending them a screenshot is always a better way to communicate. There are unique challenges associated with the interfaces of mobile devices – even if you feel comfortable in Photoshop and Illustrator. Designing an iPhone interface isn’t simple. 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. .75 The Importance of Simple. Sexy Interface Design I almost always start on paper and then move into Photoshop for the actual design elements.

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

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

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

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

we’re going to share a series of links and resources to assist with your own interface design. others are great tools that can help with wireframing and getting your ideas down on paper! iPhone GUI Design teehanlax. sliders and graphics you need to quickly create mockups of your apps. Interfaces and Icons In this short section. Some of these are pre-built templates that you can use in Photoshop or Illustrator. . 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.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.

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

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

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

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

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don’t be afraid to charge more than a couple of dollars – people will happily pay. In this chapter. we’ll investigate which choice might be right for you. If you believe that your application offers enough value. and have equal success aiming for a high price as compared to a lower price. 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. Different companies take wildly different approaches to pricing their apps. Fortunately. the App Store has given developers the option of many different pricing models. and can be very difficult to nail the first time around. and many examples exist that show this approach works.

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

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

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

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

If you take a look at the top grossing list.99 apps. There is. The overall average was $14. it isn’t packed with $0.99 or $10 for an application. What would we be willing to pay? And like good MBAs. By far the most common response was around the $10 mark. suggesting that a large majority of people are happy to pay a respectable fee for software that really helps them solve a problem. the option to do something slightly different. and a yearly subscription to remove advertisements and unlock premium features.92 Pricing Your App Right Avatron take the approach of putting themselves in the shoes of their customer: We look at it as our customers would. and a few had paid up to $100. we “maximize demand curve utilization” by experimenting with prices and studying price elasticity. This was done in an effort to move beyond a traditional pricing model: . Simplenote’s pricing model is particularly interesting. based around an advertising-supported free version. of course. 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. One third of all our respondents had paid a maximum of exactly $9.58. A few people had never paid for an app. People are absolutely willing to pay a premium for apps that provide value to them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I asked Gedeon from The Iconfactory what their main promotion techniques were. clear and welldesigned. A final application to profile that got all of these pointers completely correct is Ramp Champ – a game that had a phenomenally successful launch. 32 http://iconfactory. of course. . or the site? If it’s a generic press release sent out in bulk to hundreds of people. Is the email personally directed to me. Does the idea sound interesting? If the application is just another clone of something remarkably mundane. blogging about Ramp Champ on our main website. however. 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. This really helped build anticipation for the game so when the actual launch rolled around. branding. and which factors held importance in its surge to popularity: We used many of the most popular methods available today. then I’m likely to download the application. How much care and attention has been put into screenshots. it doesn’t reflect well on the developer. These old ways of advertising are not nearly as effective any longer. and the app’s website? If the interface looks logical. give it a try. Facebook. I’ll likely pass over it in favor of something else that’s different and unique. Traditional advertising such as web and print were used only sparingly. 3.105 The Perfect Promotion Mix 1. 2.32 What probably helped the most. If all three of those conditions are met. It’s worth taking the time and care to send someone a personal message. and write a review if I feel that our readers will find it useful. Twitter and. many people already knew about it.com. it’s always a positive sign.

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

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. When we were in the top half of the Top 100 charts. What better way to find out how users find new applications than just to ask them? That’s what we did. we have a free application which has been in the Top 100 free photography apps charts in several countries around the world since it launched a couple of weeks ago. and now we are in the bottom half of those charts we are getting between 600 and 800 downloads per day. we were getting between 1300 and 1600 downloads per day. 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.

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

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

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

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


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!

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

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

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

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

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podcasts. Hopefully you’ll feel well equipped to get the process started. it’s time to get started! But. websites. 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. and step confidently onto the path towards becoming an iPhone app entrepreneur! . The rest of this chapter will walk you through a huge spectrum of useful resources.USEFUL RESOURCES Now that you’ve received insight from so many successful iPhone developers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

technical iPhone development.000 members. Apple have their own list of user groups.iphonedevforums. so much the better. Conferences There’s no replacement to sitting down and talking about your latest iPhone development project with other developers.com/forum/ Useful Resources Get help with coding the iPhone SDK.com/?page_id=394.iphoneworld. Covering everything from basic development to tutorials.com/forum/ A massive forum with over 22. . and the legal side of coding apps. It’s also worth looking out for meet-ups in your local area. These conferences are a great opportunity to hear some inspiring speakers.128 iPhone Dev Forums http://www. iPhone Dev SDK http://www. web apps and also advice on app promotion.iphonedevsdk.tipb. and general Apple and iPhone news. TiPb iPhone Developer Forum http://forum. and topics centering around the App Store.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. If a few beers are involved as well. and chat with other developers.000 members.ca/ A large forum with over 20.37 or you can just Google for local developers and set something going yourself! 37 http://appleusergroupresources. game development. iPhone World http://forum.

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

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

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

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

10 .

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

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

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

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

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

they should simply be asking themselves. don’t skimp on the kind of process and diligence that you would commit to the development of desktop apps.139 One Piece of Advice There are other reasons. Many of the early apps in the store bore out that prejudice. “What would I pay for this?” Dave Howell – Avatron Because the iPhone is small. like being associated with quality by being “premium. 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. too.” Especially as more and more developers begin to look at iPad and Universal apps.

11 .

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

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

132 25 30 35 40 45 Are you aiming to grow your company’s staff.143 Other The iPhone Developer Survey How many people are employed by your company? 11+ 6 – 10 2–5 Just me! 0 5 10 15 20 Chart 2 P. 133 . 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 – $10. what is the financial cost of developing an iPhone app? $50.000+ $25.000 $10.144 The iPhone Developer Survey In your experience. 133 15 20 25 What is your total monthly revenue from sales of iPhone apps in USD? .000 $1.000 – $5.000 $5.000 $500 – $1.000 – $50.000 $1 – $500 Just my own time 0 5 10 Chart 2 P.000 – $25.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. 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%) .

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

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

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

12 .

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

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

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

18 – 24 (33%)

25 – 34 (36%)

Chart 1 P. 146

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

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

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


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

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

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

Once per week (16%)

Every day (34%)

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


The iPhone User Survey

Do you use any of the following mobile platforms?



Windows Mobile






Chart 2 P. 148





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

No (42%)

Yes – Just one (21%)
Chart 1 P. 149

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

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.

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

It won’t be easy. Most of all. Hopefully this book has provided you with knowledge you didn’t have before. but the satisfaction of watching your application shoot to fame will be worth every minute. Best of luck. don’t be afraid to seek help from others. always put design first. 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. don’t forget to enjoy the process from start to finish. and equipped you to take your first few steps in the right direction. and I’ll see you in the App Store! David Appleyard AppStorm Editor . keep it simple. Spend time crafting your idea. understand the App Store guidelines.

com acrylicapps.com sencha.com iphone.com atticapp.com ego-app. Tariq Zaid & Adam McNamara David Heinemeier Hansson & Jason Fried Devin Ross – Attic Sebastiaan de With Garrett Murray Dustin MacDonald Gedeon Maheux – The Iconfactory Lee Mallabone – Broadersheet Sophia Teutschler – Sophiestication Software David Kaneda – Sencha Dave Howell – Avatron glasshouseapps. and writers.com youknowwhodesign. 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 bjango.CREDITS This book couldn’t have come together without the help and contribution of many different developers.com iconfactory.com selectstartstudios.com avatron.com . iPhone users.com cocoia.com simplenoteapp.com sophiestication.com 37signals.

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

V413HA V . with his girlfriend Jen. and is never without his trusty iPhone.net. David lives in Manchester. blogging. and Web apps with over 60.000 daily readers. a series of sites relating to Mac. and online business. iPhone. UK. loves playing with the latest gadgets from Cupertino. He built his first website over ten years ago and is passionate about the Internet. and manages a few other popular blogs including Design Shack. He’s also the editor of Phototuts+. Check out David’s personal website at http://davidappleyard.ABOUT THE AUTHOR David Appleyard is part of the Envato team and manager of the AppStorm network. or follow him on Twitter: @davidappleyard.

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