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Foreword Meet the Developers
And the Developers are...

3 5

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


12 14 16 18

Building Your App Around a Service

The App Store

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


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

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


Quick Guide: Creating an iPhone Optimized Site

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


67 69 72 77 80

Learning to Keep it Simple and Iterate
Iteration in Action


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


88 89 93

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

then it hasn’t been implemented as well as it could have been. Simplenote and Dropbox set a high standard for how well this process can work. If the user needs to initiate a sync or watch a progress bar as it occurs. and we’ve learned a lot. but in practice there are lots of little things that can go wrong. an app with particularly robust synchronization. and it’s worth aiming to emulate their seamless process. 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. you’re far more likely to have a unique position in the market. I suppose we’ve been doing this for a while. when done well. Synchronization. Having said that. it’s an avenue worth considering when generating your killer idea. . how challenging this is to implement: The basic idea of synchronizing data among different clients and services is not that complicated. It’s by no means perfect. I’m not sure how much time has gone into that part of our service. should be as transparent as possible.21 Perfecting a Killer Idea developer of Simplenote. I think Simplenote’s synchronization can still be improved quite a bit. as we are always making improvements. We also have the advantage of simplicity. 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.

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

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.

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

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

. and “avoiding applications that degrade the core experience of the iPhone”9. it’s best to accept that the approval process is a necessary frustration. and take on board any advice received from Apple’s team of reviewers. App Store Review Status: http://developer. Aiming to uphold and improve the core experience of the iPhone certainly puts you in Apple’s “good books”. 85% of new apps and 95% of app updates are approved (or rejected) within 7 days. inappropriate content.apple. How Long Does It Take? The entire process of application review seems to be shrouded in secrecy. Reviewers look for a variety of different things when assessing your application. and (b) an App Store executive review board exists that determines procedures and sets policy for the review process.com/iphone/news/appstoretips/. 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. Apple is fairly efficient at approving applications.10 Be prepared to wait a little while. as well as reviewing applications that are escalated to a higher level.apple. with the main factors being bugs or regular crashes. but will avoid frustration when you come to submit it. use of unauthorized APIs. and use the time wisely to start working on different promotion methods.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. 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.com/hotnews/apple-answers-fcc-questions/. Make sure that you submit the absolute best standard of application you can. 9 10 http://www. At the time of writing this. This is where a good understanding and application of the Human Interface Guidelines will serve you well. Ultimately. and is a solid step towards having your application approved. In theory.

Price 6. Title & Description Icon Links What’s New 5. 2. Your listing is made up of several parts: 1. Most developers aren’t also skilled in writing sales copy and producing a compelling pitch.30 The App Store How to Craft an Effective App Store Listing The way in which you put together your listing in the App Store can have a huge impact on the success of your application. Rating . Screenshots 7. 4. so we’ll offer a few tips that should help you craft an effective listing. 3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Although implementing something along these lines will certainly take a little longer to develop. The possibility of featuring your app within an active ecosystem of users and developers is very appealing. I ended up having to use it only a few days after it was released in Ego 2.39 The App Store In fact. and it can make supporting and promoting your application far easier. That process was an incredible step forward from apps on previous mobile platforms. I absolutely love that I can tell someone about my app and they can do a quick search for it and have it installed in a minute or two. You have a method to communicate with users. . The Benefits Despite many people complaining about the constraints and challenges of working within the App Store. there’s no doubt that it brings a whole range of benefits. People were immediately gracious about the feature via Twitter because they suddenly knew what was happening and when it would be fixed. letting them know about problems beyond your control. 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. it’s a great safeguard.

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

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

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

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

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

google. this is an incredibly simple task with various services offering in-depth analysis.45 The App Store web. the popular website statistic tool. 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. you don’t see referrers. Apple recently took a hard line on a few companies that inserted tracking code into various applications to monitor usage. so you have to make your best guesses for the first release and gradually refine your app’s keywords and listing over time. You can’t know for certain what people are searching for. Many of the best tricks for online marketing are hard to achieve with the App Store as you can’t add your own tracking code to pages. 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.com/mobile/analytics/docs/. They were collecting user information without consent. 12 http://code. A few solutions are available if you’re willing to take the time to integrate them. and you have no data relating to how many people have looked at your app’s page. . Google Analytics.

4 .

Whether or not you’re a programming guru.the choice isn’t as clear-cut as you may think! . outsource the development to another company. you have three routes to consider when launching your application. You can program and develop the application yourself. Before you dismiss any of these. There are countless other resources. 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). it’s worth hearing what our experienced developers have to say on the matter . 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).

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

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


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

as there are quick ways for developers to implement standardised user interfaces within an app. place them in order on the table and start to think about how the user will navigate through your application. 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. or they will underestimate the effort and subsequently find themselves trying to squeeze your development into an unrealistic deadline. Also look at some of your favourite other apps – not specifically with the same or similar functionality to the app you are intending to build – but just think about software that you enjoy using and get inspired by how it works. ambiguity in the description of what the app needs to do makes the estimation process much more difficult.53 Making a Development Decision app from a client. . If I could split the ideal preparation for planning an iPhone project into a couple of key points. Just start drawing out screens on separate pieces of paper and laying them out on a large table. Draw and Prototype The second step is to start to plan out your app on paper. Using these standard behaviours is also a great way to get a vast amount of functionality for free. As you draw the screens. 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. 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. Sometimes the developer will add on time (and therefore budget) for the inevitable unseen features and problems that will be uncovered.

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

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

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

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

000 $10. or investing more into a better polished and functional application. is not distributed through the App Store. It’s clear that you have a choice of approaching development in a thrifty fashion.000 $5.000+ $25.000 – $25. .000 – $50. Developing a Web Application The third and final option is to develop a web application – an app that is hosted on the internet.000 – $10. 53 15 20 25 Because our survey was targeted at developers.000 $500 – $1.000 $1 – $500 Just my own time 0 5 10 Series 1 Chart 1 P.000 $1.58 cont’d Making a Development Decision Series 1 $50.000 – $5. we expected to see that many people would be able to produce iPhone apps for a relatively low cost – investing only their own time. and runs in the iPhone’s Mobile Safari browser.

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

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

56 Obviously the main hurdle to overcome when taking this approach is your application interface. 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.com. 16 http://www.61 cont’d Making a Development Decision What's a web app? (4%) Yes – More than one (33%) No (42%) Yes – Just one (21%) Chart 1 P. The goal is usually to mimic the iPhone’s native interface as closely as possible. . or create an entire payment system within their app.phonegap. so the user feels that they’re actually using a local application.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

74 The Importance of Simple. Sexy Interface Design .

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

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

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

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

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

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.com/blog/2009/06/18/iphone-gui-psd-30/ This brilliant Photoshop GUI kit comes with all the different types of buttons.80 The Importance of Simple. 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. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many people don’t have any problem with viewing advertisements and for them. there are two options available to you when deciding how to generate revenue from the App Store: 1. but I’m not sure how comfortable people are with mobile web app subscriptions quite yet. 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. Twitterrific is great. 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 . 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). and an ad-free commercial version with additional features. The Pricing Dilemma Broadly speaking. This approach is taken by The Iconfactory with Twitteriffic: We took this approach because we wanted to get Twitterrific into as many people’s hands as we could. It really is the best of both worlds. to web and native alike. or who want to directly support our development efforts. Give your app away for free and generate revenue from advertising or inapp upgrades 2.89 Pricing Your App Right Pricing is a universal challenge. can purchase the adfree version. and still get some return on our investment. Those who do.

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

99 . If the price tag is higher than $10. 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 $1.91 Pricing Your App Right I asked the developer what their main considerations are when deciding on a price. and how often they will use it. 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. That being said. the type of person using it.99-$4. Of course. The trick is to ensure you charge a price that considers both the functionality of your application. For them. there are also a significant number of people who buy Wallet for iPhone yet don’t use the Mac version.99+ Mid-Price $1. people have also become accustomed to fairly low-priced apps in the App Store. price isn’t too much of a concern. We didn’t want to scare these people away.99-$1. 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. 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.99 Low Price $0. In general. they might not even take a look. so it was important to still price Wallet competitively with other standalone apps. our biggest immediate audience is those who use the Mac version of the software.99-$4.99 App Used Often High Price $4. With Wallet.

What would we be willing to pay? And like good MBAs. suggesting that a large majority of people are happy to pay a respectable fee for software that really helps them solve a problem. People are absolutely willing to pay a premium for apps that provide value to them. This was done in an effort to move beyond a traditional pricing model: .99 apps. and a few had paid up to $100. By far the most common response was around the $10 mark. we “maximize demand curve utilization” by experimenting with prices and studying price elasticity. the option to do something slightly different. 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. of course.58. A few people had never paid for an app. If you take a look at the top grossing list. it isn’t packed with $0. and a yearly subscription to remove advertisements and unlock premium features. There is. The overall average was $14. based around an advertising-supported free version. Simplenote’s pricing model is particularly interesting.99 or $10 for an application. One third of all our respondents had paid a maximum of exactly $9.92 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

com It’s obvious that the same care and attention went into these websites as did the applications themselves. and makes the iPhone Simulator more 28 http://iphone. For some more great examples. Jing. You’ll need three things: 1.101 The Perfect Promotion Mix rampchamp. There’s no easy way to record video from your iPhone directly. A piece of software that changes your mouse cursor into something more useful for a demo video. . Your favorite screen recording application – Screenflow.AppStorm. take a look at one of our recent posts on iPhone.28 Quick Guide: Creating a Video Demo One important element to get right is the video demonstration. Camtasia. but there are a few clever tools to achieve something similar using the iPhone Simulator on your desktop.net/roundups/design/40-stunning-iphone-developer-websites/. or any other similar app. 2.appstorm.

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

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

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

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

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

107 The Perfect Promotion Mix example though. What better way to find out how users find new applications than just to ask them? That’s what we did. 98 . 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. 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. When we were in the top half of the Top 100 charts. and now we are in the bottom half of those charts we are getting between 600 and 800 downloads per day. and the results were as follows: Recommendations from Websites Recommendations from Friends Searching the App Store Browsing by Category Apple's Top Lists 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 Never Not So Often Quite Often Very Often Chart 1 P. we were getting between 1300 and 1600 downloads per day.

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

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

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

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


The Perfect Promotion Mix

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


The Perfect Promotion Mix

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

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


The Perfect Promotion Mix

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. and are always looking for new people to come and talk about their latest creation. This can also be a good place to meet likeminded developers and share advice. The least effective method was a “well written press release”. Which Promotion Methods Do Developers Find Most Beneficial? One of the questions in our developer survey asked which promotion methods they have found to be most effective in the past. 110 .118 The Perfect Promotion Mix It needn’t necessarily be a conference for hundreds of people. This is followed by an ongoing relationship with bloggers. so don’t invest too much energy into this route! Chart 1 P. Many cities have local iPhone/OS X user and developer groups.

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

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

Learn Cocoa on the Mac http://amzn. as certain aspects are standardized and the screen is much smaller than any desktop or laptop. enabling you to go on to create high quality apps for the iPhone.to/cocoaguide After successfully coming to grips with Objective-C. No programming experience is required before you pick up this book. and some Cocoa experience would be beneficial. offers a good range. but this selection. Previous programming experience is necessary. Beginning iPhone 3 Development: Exploring the iPhone SDK http://amzn. 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. 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.to/exploresdk Dave Mark and Jeff LaMarche take you through the beginning stages of iPhone development. I think.122 Useful Resources interface design and 3D Games Development. There are many other books out there.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. and it also comes with a CD of source code as well. and what you should let Cocoa do for you. . This book gives you a good grounding into what you should code yourself. Objective-C for Dummies http://amzn.to/ipprojects Designing for the iPhone is probably unlike anything else you have previously designed for.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

132 Rhodes http://rhomobile.info/ Three20 is an iPhone development library. Before giving up on a particular piece of functionality. It’s based on the Ruby programming language and can compile apps for Android. tutorials. frameworks and helpful APIs available for native app development. 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. Three20 http://three20. be sure to search around to see whether someone else has come up with a solution already! . Obviously this only scratches the surface of the different resources. It’s the code that powers the Facebook iPhone app and many other apps in the App Store. Blackberry and iPhone.

10 .

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

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

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

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

you need to market and promote that app. despite what you may read from a minority of developers. and grow a thick skin.138 Garrett Murray – Ego One Piece of Advice If I can only offer once piece. you need to work hard to make a decent income. but by charging 40% more. you might lose 10-20% of the potential customers. this may make sense. they will find a variety of apps sold at prices between $10-$50.99. app developers are really doing themselves a disservice. Like anything else. is not a get-rich-quick system. For simple utility apps. you’re still making more money. it would be that the App Store. Look at it this way: If you price your app at $4. David Kaneda – Sencha I’ll step down from my web app soapbox for a moment. I think there’s a trend of undervaluing apps right now.99 instead of $2. especially for those looking for mass adoption. . with a huge amount of apps between $1-$3. Oh. But for a great majority of apps that apply to niche markets and business users. If one browses the highest revenue apps in the app store. and offer some general advice on this one: Price for value. because customer feedback can be extremely frustrating. 99% of people selling apps aren’t making untold sums of money. I think the answer is no: If you’re properly marketing your app on social networks and such. You need to produce a quality application with wide appeal. will you lose 40% of your customers? In most cases. Don’t go in expecting to be rich overnight. and you need to make regular updates to it.

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

11 .

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

000+ (4%) 500 – 1. 132 .000 (9%) Less than 100 (19%) 250 – 500 (22%) 100 – 250 (46%) Chart 1 P.142 The iPhone Developer Survey Part 1 – Business and Company How many hours does it generally take to develop an iPhone application? 1.

133 . 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. 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 $10.144 The iPhone Developer Survey In your experience.000 – $5.000+ $25.000 $1.000 – $50.000 – $10.000 $5. what is the financial cost of developing an iPhone app? $50.000 – $25.000 $500 – $1.000 $1 – $500 Just my own time 0 5 10 Chart 2 P. 133 15 20 25 What is your total monthly revenue from sales of iPhone apps in USD? .

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

147 I work in a shared office (13%) The iPhone Developer Survey Do you work from home. 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. 136 . in a private office.

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? .

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

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

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. 141 .152 The iPhone Developer Survey Do you develop for any of the following other mobile platforms? Other Nokia Windows Mobile Blackberry Android 0 5 10 Chart 1 P.

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%) .

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

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

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

12 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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