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iPhone App Entrepreneur is an independent publication and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Apple Inc.
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Foreword Meet the Developers
And the Developers are...
Perfecting a Killer Idea
Brainstorming Techniques Be the First Be Better, or Different
12 14 16 18
Building Your App Around a Service
The App Store
Getting Started Your Product Definition Statement Choosing an Application Style The Approval Process How to Craft an Effective App Store Listing Dealing with Crashes, Errors, and Bugs The Benefits The Challenges
24 24 25 28 30 36 39 42 48 52 58 64
Making a Development Decision
Developing Your Own Native App Hiring a Developer Developing a Web Application
Quick Guide: Creating an iPhone Optimized Site
The Importance of Simple, Sexy Interface Design
Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines Why Is Sexy Interface Design So Important? The Interface Design Process Crafting an Irresistible Icon Design Kits, Interfaces and Icons
67 69 72 77 80
Learning to Keep it Simple and Iterate
Iteration in Action
Pricing Your App Right
Breaking Down Your Revenue The Pricing Dilemma Advertising Options
88 89 93
Word of Mouth Top Notch Support and Regular Updates Conquer Your Stage Fright 97 98 101 102 106 109 111 113 115 117 Useful Resources Apple’s Documentation Books Screencasts Podcasts Blogs and Websites Forums Conferences Development Libraries. APIs and Frameworks 120 121 121 124 125 126 127 128 130 One Piece of Advice Words of Wisdom 134 135 The iPhone Developer Survey Part 1 – Business and Company Part 2 – Developing Apps 141 142 148 The iPhone User Survey Conclusion Credits About the Author 158 165 166 168 .2 The Perfect Promotion Mix Perfecting Your Website Quick Guide: Creating a Video Demo Generating Launch “Buzz” Reaching Apple’s Top Lists Go Social With Your App Connecting With Users Advertising vs.
make smart decisions about development. despite the occasional success story. Developers have the ability to easily reach millions of users through a central marketplace. At the time of writing this. Many developers struggle to achieve great success with their application. and it’s a tough market to succeed in. Unfortunately. it isn’t enough just to have a decent idea and some programming knowledge. iPod touch® and iPad™. Drawing on survey responses from over 1. the fact remains that becoming an overnight App Store phenomenon is difficult. and promote your app successfully. and I hope you enjoy the journey! David Appleyard AppStorm Editor . get the most from the App Store. and in-depth insight from a handful of incredibly talented iPhone developers. this guide will equip you with everything you need to successfully become an iPhone app entrepreneur. If you’re wanting to strike it big as an app entrepreneur.FOREWORD The iTunes® App StoreSM launched on July 10th. it has rocketed to success over the past two years. craft a stunning interface. What it will do is provide you with all the knowledge and technique you need to spot a great opportunity. over three billion applications have been downloaded. The potential for success has proven to be phenomenal. This book won’t give you a killer idea. 2008 to much fanfare and drama. nor will it teach you the ins and outs of programming for the iPhone. Opening up a marketplace for software developers to target the iPhone®. and many are leveraging that opportunity to make thousands of dollars every day. Good luck.000 iPhone users.
. designers. and App Store entrepreneurs who helped to make this guide possible. Throughout the book. Over the next few pages I’d like to introduce you to a handful of the most talented and successful people working in the industry. who generously gave up their time and expertise to contribute to this book.MEET THE DEVELOPERS Before we get started. I want to offer a special thank you to the developers. 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.
com Dave has years of Mac development experience under his belt. By far and away the best note taking application for the iPhone. .com Sarah is the talented designer behind You Know Who. Graham Clarke – Glasshouse Apps glasshouseapps.. and to manage your wine library. two unique applications to help you make a great cup of coffee. Dave Verwer – Shiny Development shinydevelopment. a wonderful way to take simple notes and keep them synchronized between multiple apps and services. and developed the popular iPhone game “Balloons”. she has worked on a number of beautiful iPhone applications. and knows everything there is to know about programming and development! Sarah Parmenter – You Know Who youknowwhodesign. An expert in iPhone UI design. a web design and development studio based in Leigh-on-Sea.com Glasshouse Apps started out with Barista and Cellar. a brilliantly unique RSS reader. He runs a number of different Mac user groups. as the name suggests.com Simplenote is.. Essex.6 Meet the Developers And the Developers are. Graham has seen recent success with the release of The Early Edition for the iPad. Michael Johnston & Fred Cheng – Simplenote simplenoteapp.
com Attic is a slick music controller for all those unplayed albums that are collecting dust sitting in your iTunes library.com Meet the Developers Bjango create wonderfully designed apps both for the Mac.7 Marc Edwards – Bjango bjango. Tariq Zaid & Adam McNamara – Select Start Studios selectstartstudios. and they seem to have an endless stream of fantastic ideas. including iStat Menus and the incredibly useful “Consume”. collaborating with other developers. and iPhone. Their unique illustration style and interface design sets them apart from many other developers.com Select Start Studios are the developers behind Headquarters. Devin Ross – Attic atticapp. An expanding ecosystem of companion iPhone apps have sprung up over the past few years. David Heinemeier Hansson & Jason Fried – 37signals 37signals. and working with the App Store. and 37signals have recently taken the plunge into the App Store themselves. . 37signals have over three million users and a passion for keeping things simple. Joshua Tessier. a popular Basecamp application for the iPhone. provides an additional way to add push notification support to your iPhone. iPad. Another of their applications. AppNotify.com Developers of a range of online business productivity software. Devin has some interesting information to share about promoting your app.
broadersheet. an icon design service responsible for some of the best Mac app icons. blogger.8 Sebastiaan de With cocoia. seamlessly sync it with your Mac.com Gedeon works for The Iconfactory. and general all-rounder. They’re renowned for gorgeous interface design. beautiful products and innovative projects. the company behind apps such as Twitteriffic. and addictive user experience.com Dustin is the developer behind the delightfully designed “Wallet” for Mac and iPhone. His creation for the iPhone. and Icon Resource. Ego. These include Icon Designer. a company that creates novel. and automatically login to your favorite websites. Gedeon Maheux – The Iconfactory iconfactory. a personalised newspaper for your iPhone.com Lee Mallabone is one of the developers behind Broadersheet. and Frenzic.com Meet the Developers Sebastiaan runs Cocoia. Dustin MacDonald acrylicapps. offering beautiful stats for a range of web services. filmmaker. podcaster.com Garrett Murray is a developer. If you’ve never tried any of their apps. is any web designer’s best friend. Ramp Champ. you should. stunning icons. Lee Mallabone – Broadersheet iphone. Wallet offers a central place to store your personal information. Garrett Murray ego-app. a site for learning how to design icons yourself. It .
A well thought through idea is everything. Most of the really successful applications available today either offer something completely unique. 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. In this chapter.PERFECTING A KILLER IDEA So you want to launch your first application. Often the first hurdle met by developers is how to come up with a successful idea. I don’t think this theory holds a great deal of weight. and that it’s the execution and persistence that makes an application successful. or solve an existing problem in a really fantastic manner. we’ll explore the tips and techniques you can employ to craft the perfect iPhone app idea. and you’re on the road to success. . or entertain a user in a completely novel way. With hundreds of thousands of applications available on the App Store. Solve someone’s problem in a simple fashion.
I wish there was an easier way to do this automatically. http://ego-app.com/. and various iPhone apps are now available to help solve them (Tipulator1. RedLaser2. Perhaps begin by listing the challenges. but they aren’t much use when I’m out at the store. Although you may find that an idea just “comes to you” at the time you least expect it. It would be good to have one central place where all this information is automatically downloaded. then consider how they could be solved with a suitable iPhone app. • Logging into a number of different services to check all my website statistics takes ages.com/. and Ego3 respectively). Price comparison websites are great. These ideas are not just odd concepts chosen at random. Each is a real problem faced by many people.sophiestication. http://redlaser. problems and annoyances you face on a daily basis. I asked Bjango: As a company with several different applications. 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. they have a few tricks up their sleeve. It would be great to have a way to check prices online using my iPhone.com/tipulator/. brainstorming and proactively considering new ideas can be a worthwhile task.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. As it turns out. This is the type of thought process many developers go through.
It’s important to have a big list to work from. If I’m not inspired by an idea. it’s time to do some research and make sure there’s a market for it. I asked the developer how they chose which of their ideas to take forward for development. . There are notable examples of developers ticking all the boxes and then falling dramatically short of their own expectations. The former offers advice on how to craft the perfect coffee. including Barista and Cellar for the iPhone. success certainly isn’t guaranteed. It’s also important to remember that you don’t necessarily need to focus on solving a problem faced by every iPhone user. We keep a long list of possible app ideas. and The Early Edition for the iPad. You might be passionate about the wing span of a mosquito. and I’m only pursuing it because I think it might sell well. and the latter gives you a virtual “wine cellar” in the palm of your hand. then you’re fighting an uphill battle! Even if you think you have a brilliant idea and a solid market. Concentrating all your energy on a specific niche and offering a valuable service for a select few people can be equally successful. so you don’t end up working on a dud idea. It’s critical the best ideas are the only apps you produce. hopefully others will too. Once I’ve established a few initial ideas that I think have merit. and which to drop after the brainstorming stage: I try to start by thinking of ideas that inspire me personally. It’s the simple notion that if there’s something we need ourselves. Glasshouse Apps have three successful applications in the App Store. as even a small app can take a month to develop. but if no one else is.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. it’s going to be harder to stay motivated down the track.
as the opportunity to have your application available to coincide with the launch of a new device is an incredibly rare one. This type of thinking is important. 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. so be prepared to experiment with a few different projects before you stumble upon one that really takes off. you don’t always need to wait for a completely new product to take advantage of this. Hardware and software upgrades often introduce new features that give developers an opportunity. having The Early Edition there on Day One meant that we were on a level playing field right from the start.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. 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. Launching on Day 1 gives your application a huge advantage. Fortunately. With the iPhone and iPad now available. 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 early adopters were downloading it from the day the iPad App Store opened. it could be a while before a completely new physical piece of hardware is released by Apple. The Early Edition was one of the first RSS readers available for the iPad. or the first to utilize a new platform or hardware feature. It takes time to understand what works and what doesn’t. and generally less “clutter” available for that particular device.
saw this as a great opportunity: When iPhone OS 3. Attic developer. Apple regularly adds new hardware and software features. you need your own map information. The music API was appealing because the data was already there. My product definition statement read as such: “an easy to use application to find albums in your library that aren’t played often”. I came up with the concept of Attic. or opens up new functionality for developers to exploit. I spent a lot of time looking into the new additions to the SDK. so I knew I had to make my app achieve a specific goal. Devin Ross. People already have music on their iPhones.apple. Writing that application helped me learn a lot in many different areas. With something like maps.0 came out. I watched the Apple developer videos on the ingredients of a good iPhone application. That application turned into something similar to the photo flicking apps on the App Store where you can throw around and rotate album covers.html. After looking further into the API. but the multi-touch gestures and the shake notifications. . For people like me that like to listen to entire albums at a time. Here’s an example of the new API features available in iOS 4 (formerly known as iPhone OS4):4 4 http://developer.15 Perfecting a Killer Idea One such new feature in iPhone OS 3 was the ability to access the iPhone’s iTunes library. I initially made a simple application to explore not only the music API. this concept was exciting. I investigated the new APIs like maps and mail composition. I then set my mind on creating something that could be a worthwhile application. Apple had already made a great player for your entire collection.com/technologies/iphone/whats-new. so it’s worth taking the time to see whether you can spot a new opportunity. Documentation is always available well in advance of a new software update or device being released.
The first version offered. being first certainly isn’t everything. It was all about the style and execution of the concept. you can look for a page such as this and brainstorm a list of application ideas that weren’t possible previously. less functionality than many competing devices. if anything. The same is true for application development. or Different While important. It’s a regular opportunity to be “first” with a completely new type of app. . Be Better. Many developers have had huge success in well-established niches simply by solving a problem better.16 Perfecting a Killer Idea Whenever a new software release is announced. The iPhone itself is a wonderful example of this.
choosing simplicity over new features time and time again in their software. and is a pleasure to use. It’s designed for people who like to put thought and care into their use of Twitter. retains a simple interface. It’s phenomenally difficult to develop an application that includes all the necessary features.17 Perfecting a Killer Idea Tweetie wasn’t the first Twitter client for the iPhone. Birdhouse is simply a place to work on draft messages and publish (or unpublish) them. I asked them whether they thought a successful iPhone app needs to be a unique. Most “killer” ideas are simple solutions to simple problems. you’ve probably got something. Dustin MacDonald. “killer idea”: If killer idea means something awfully clever. Something we’ve always tried to do. Rather than offer a full Twitter experience. Most people don’t have problems all that complex and if you can just make some part of their day better. One company that has epitomized this simple approach in the web applications space is 37signals. very few are of the same level of quality as Apple’s own bundled software. then no. works reliably. is to reach for that same quality experience in our own apps. but it quickly established itself as the best-in-class due to the thought that went into its design. Most people buy Apple products because of the fantastic user experiences they provide. whether on the Mac or iPhone. Another application that executes a small piece of functionality in a wonderful way is Birdhouse. or more fun. or more efficient. and has seen great success in this simple niche. Although there are now hundreds of thousands of third-party apps on the App Store. the developer of Wallet. With . 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. Focusing strongly on the user experience can be a great way to ensure your app stands out from the crowd. This functionality works because it places emphasis on only one task.
many iPhone developers are seeing success from building an app around an existing service. Twitter. PayPal – the possibilities are endless. this meant simplifying our app down to the core features. that’s just not the point. but only those that fit into my vision for the app. offering a familiar structure and feel (in this case with the Contacts app). and a several other great iPhone apps. Building Your App Around a Service With the huge surge in web applications offering high quality APIs in recent years. Articles is about retaining focus on the actual article content. Sophia Teutschler. I don’t force myself to come up with new ideas. No other app does that in my opinion. I never do any brainstorming – ideas just appear to me out of the blue. Tipulator. I’m sure I’ll add new and clever features in the future. the developer behind Articles. Amazon. Quality always makes the difference. Google Maps. It’s not an app to “manage” Wikipedia. and polishing the app with great looking icons. Facebook. it’s about reading articles and consuming knowledge.18 Perfecting a Killer Idea Wallet for iPhone. Often there is already “an app for that”. 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. feels that the approach of “being better” can be enough to give you a successful app: I make Apps that cover functionality that I miss on my iPhone or iPad. . and animations. Articles will never be the Wikipedia App with the most features or the lowest price. Flickr. Yahoo. Groceries. elements.
Rather than having an overwhelming application.19 Perfecting a Killer Idea 37signals makes a range of productivity tools for businesses. When we were building Headquarters. Headquarters is one such iPhone app built around the 37signals API that provides a mobile interface to Basecamp. we decided to focus the application on users who want to “get things done” and cut out anything that was superfluous. and regularly promote these iPhone apps to their users. you have a simple. As a . Although all of that information is valuable. To accomplish our goal. it’s simply not enough to take that information and put a pretty face on it. a dashboard for a single project and the ability to manage multiple accounts within the application. This is mainly because Basecamp has an extremely rich API that provides access to a wealth of information. easy to use launchpad to help you get to work. 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. or I could talk about all of the small implementation details. remain in the loop and stay focused. I could talk about how the underlying API may one day change or disappear all together. Nor is it very appropriate on a mobile device. software that is perfectly suited for use on the iPhone. Rather than building another Basecamp application that simply exposed all of its data on the iPhone. we had to make the tough decision as to what goes in and what does not. The results speak for themselves. Select Start Studios. I asked the developer. 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. They’ve encouraged developers to create applications around their software. we focused on three (and only three) major features: a dashboard that combines data from all of your projects. But I think the most difficult challenge is to provide additional value to your users without overwhelming them with pointless features.
The advantage is a unique pair of applications that are far harder for others to clone. I asked them how they feel that this gives iStat an “edge” over other applications: iStat for iPhone is fairly unique. Another possibility is to build an application that interacts with the desktop in some way. but the associated benefits could certainly make this risk worthwhile. fewer issues with how to handle storing a user’s information locally. One application in particular that takes this approach is iStat. we left out a lot of features from our initial release but each feature we left out only improved the final product by making it easier to use. I asked the . It was such a big project that I’m not sure we’d want to start from scratch again. in that there’s not a lot of direct competition. especially when interacting with several different devices. others though a cloud synchronization system. and is bound to increase development time and cost. Developing to connect to the desktop is nothing to be taken lightly. I guess that could be seen as an edge. Synchronization is another important aspect of your application to consider. the apps that formed the core of iStat Server. And rightly so. It comes with a new set of challenges. it’s taken us years to develop iStat Menus and iStat Pro on Mac OS® X. A few apps do this through a local Wi-Fi connection. You’ll have an existing user base with their data immediately available to them. Bjango’s flagship app can connect to the desktop to provide real time statistical and performance information. Relying on another third party for the ongoing success of your application always involves some risk. and a potential avenue to help promote your app (developers are often happy to help spread the word about apps that use their API).20 Perfecting a Killer Idea result.
Having said that. It’s by no means perfect. how challenging this is to implement: The basic idea of synchronizing data among different clients and services is not that complicated. It’s hard to say why other apps might not seamlessly synchronize as effectively as Simplenote. and it’s worth aiming to emulate their seamless process. I’m not sure how much time has gone into that part of our service. We also have the advantage of simplicity.21 Perfecting a Killer Idea developer of Simplenote. . If you manage to succeed in creating an app that turns a user’s iPhone or iPad into a useful companion to another service. If the user needs to initiate a sync or watch a progress bar as it occurs. but in practice there are lots of little things that can go wrong. We can focus on improving speed and reliability rather than adding and maintaining long lists of new features. Whether you’re connecting to another web or desktop app. Synchronization. when done well. an app with particularly robust synchronization. Simplenote and Dropbox set a high standard for how well this process can work. I suppose we’ve been doing this for a while. and we’ve learned a lot. then it hasn’t been implemented as well as it could have been. you’re far more likely to have a unique position in the market. it’s an avenue worth considering when generating your killer idea. as we are always making improvements. should be as transparent as possible. I think Simplenote’s synchronization can still be improved quite a bit.
and promotion. it’s worth taking a broader look at the App Store platform and how you can start the process of developing your creation. pricing. In this chapter we’ll be discussing this whole process with developers. The App Store has been the subject of much discussion over the past few years.THE APP STORE Before we move ahead to the specifics of interface design. and to make the most of what the App Store has to offer! . and a closed store is but a small price to pay. Whichever camp you fall into. Some see the closed marketplace as restrictive. and a difficult entity to deal with. in order to help you avoid a few potential pitfalls. development. Others feel that the opportunity to list and showcase their app in a central location makes it far easier to reach their user base. controlling. there’s certainly a strong argument for fully understanding how the App Store works before diving in and launching your application.
24 Getting Started
The App Store
To start developing for the App Store you’ll need a Mac running OS X, and you will need to register for the iPhone Developer Program with Apple. This allows you to download the SDK to build your apps, test them on your iPhone, and submit them to the App Store. Registration is free for those just wanting to experiment with development. You can access all the guides and videos from Apple, but testing your app is restricted to an iPhone simulator on your Mac. If you’d like to to test on your physical iPhone and move ahead to officially release your app, you will need to enroll in the standard program which costs $99 a year. Once you’ve registered for the Developer Program, you are given access to all of the information Apple has produced to help you develop iPhone applications. Download the iPhone SDK and Xcode, then you’re ready to get started. Apple has an extensive set of “Getting Started Documents”5, which are vital reading if you’re going to be developing an application yourself. These are the best place to start when learning about the technical details of iPhone OS development – something we won’t be going into at length in this book. Another important document to read is Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines6, which walk through the different requirements of the user interface design of your application.
Your Product Definition Statement
Before you dive in and start designing, it’s important to take a step back and come up with a product definition statement. Apple defines this as a
5 6 Getting Started Documents: http://developer.apple.com/iphone/library/navigation/.
iPhone Human Interface Guidelines: http://developer.apple.com/iphone/library/documentation/ UserExperience/Conceptual/MobileHIG/Introduction/Introduction.html.
The App Store
“concise declaration of your application’s main purpose and its intended
Consider the list of your app’s features, and what makes this set of features stand out. Also think about who your users are, when and how they would use your application, and in what way your interface can reflect this. Your product definition statement should take all these elements, and combine them into one simple sentence. For instance, a statement for GarageBand could be “an easy-to-use music composition application for amateur musicians”. It’s also important to include a picture of the person you envisage using the app – in this case, “amateur musicians”. When you’ve nailed a product definition statement, you’re ready to start investigating some of the other requirements and demands of the App Store.
Choosing an Application Style
Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines for developers talk a great deal about the importance of selecting and sticking with a particular “application style”.8 These dictate the type of software you’d like to create, and fall into three categories: 1. Productivity Applications 2. Utility Applications 3. Immersive Applications We asked Sarah Parmenter about the importance of “positioning” your app into one of these categories, and whether it should be something that developers consider from an early stage:
http://bit.ly/bm6XTj. Three Application Styles: http://bit.ly/9okLIx.
The App Store
It is hugely important. By positioning your app in the appropriate category from the start it will make it easier for you to define and establish user interface decisions right from the off. Each different “type” of app has some clearly defined user interface guidelines, and so getting this right from the start has to be a very simple but necessary rule. This is a great place to start when defining what type of market your application is aiming to reach, and the three different styles each come with certain recommendations:
This type of app is focused on the process of organizing and manipulating detailed information. They’re generally used for fairly important tasks, and organize their interface and data through a hierarchy. Although the purpose of these apps is usually fairly serious, it doesn’t mean that Apple wants you to design a boring piece of software. Their interface guidelines state: Seriousness of purpose does not mean that productivity applications should attempt to appear serious by providing a dry, uninspiring user experience, but it does mean that users appreciate a streamlined approach that does not hinder them.
namely that anything that needs to be changed often should be located within the app itself. A useful tip is also provided relating to settings. and shows another characteristic of utilities – a set of preferences being displayed on the “reverse” of an information panel.27 The App Store Mail and Photos are examples of this type of software. The example provided is that of the Weather application. This can be used “at a glance”. Information in a utility application is generally fairly linear. and requires a minimum of user input. 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. . software that provides a single purpose. letting you swipe between different items to access them. Anything not changed regularly can be moved to the iPhone’s “Settings” panel.
not on the data behind the experience. even though it doesn’t fit the definition of a game. . This could be a game. In such an application. as in a game. Immersive applications give you the greatest freedom to explore an original and innovative application design. while others do not. the user’s focus is on the visual content and the experience. full-screen environment. or a utility that has a full screen interface. but are also usually the most complex type of application to develop. 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. with many developers frustrated at the lack of clarity Apple provides over why certain applications make the cut.28 The App Store Immersive Applications The third and final category contains applications that immerse you in their content. The Approval Process Discussion surrounding the App Store approval process is always ongoing.
At the time of writing this. 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. and is a solid step towards having your application approved. Ultimately.apple. 85% of new apps and 95% of app updates are approved (or rejected) within 7 days. and use the time wisely to start working on different promotion methods. App Store Review Status: http://developer. . and take on board any advice received from Apple’s team of reviewers.10 Be prepared to wait a little while. but will avoid frustration when you come to submit it.com/iphone/news/appstoretips/. as well as reviewing applications that are escalated to a higher level. In theory. Aiming to uphold and improve the core experience of the iPhone certainly puts you in Apple’s “good books”. Apple is fairly efficient at approving applications.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. with the main factors being bugs or regular crashes. use of unauthorized APIs. Reviewers look for a variety of different things when assessing your application.com/hotnews/apple-answers-fcc-questions/. Make sure that you submit the absolute best standard of application you can. This is where a good understanding and application of the Human Interface Guidelines will serve you well. inappropriate content. How Long Does It Take? The entire process of application review seems to be shrouded in secrecy. 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. 9 10 http://www. 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. and (b) an App Store executive review board exists that determines procedures and sets policy for the review process.apple.
Price 6. so we’ll offer a few tips that should help you craft an effective listing. Screenshots 7. 3. Your listing is made up of several parts: 1. Rating . 2. Most developers aren’t also skilled in writing sales copy and producing a compelling pitch. 4.30 The App Store How to Craft an Effective App Store Listing The way in which you put together your listing in the App Store can have a huge impact on the success of your application. Title & Description Icon Links What’s New 5.
That said. so make sure you pick the 5 best hero shots.31 Title and Description The App Store Aim for a title that contains your application name. In fact. only the first paragraph of your description is shown. I think your app’s images are more important than your description. rather than trying to pad it out with related keywords. and crafting a relevant listing rather than over-including certain keywords. You simply can’t expect that anyone will read all your text. A few equally excellent applications (such as “Hipstamatic”) appear lower down the results chart. so be short and straight to the point. Here’s a great example of this in the official Twitter for iPhone app: . In iTunes. Focus on creating a brilliant app. Trying to aggressively optimize your title or description to achieve a good search ranking is predominantly a waste of time. for instance. brings back plenty of relevant applications with “camera” in their application name. it’s worth making the first paragraph an accurate description of your app’s core functionality. you should do that with all your copy. incorporating these keywords into your application name itself can’t hurt. It’s your one chance to craft a compelling one paragraph sales pitch. A quick search on the App Store for “camera”. rather than a quick summary of what’s new in the latest update. Bjango have a few interesting tips to share on this topic: In the current App Store. With this in mind. possibly because they don’t have the specific keyword of “camera” in the title.
Icon Your application icon is arguably one of the most important marketing elements to get right. and the icon is your only piece of graphical branding visible in search results. One to your company or product website. Users aren’t going to read a technical. Write concisely. and one to a license agreement (shown within iTunes itself). . People choose apps based on their visual appeal.32 The App Store The copy used here is simple. one to a page offering support for your app. and focus on the main changes with a particular release. and makes it very clear what to expect when using the application. and so avoid receiving negative reviews and bad publicity. Links iTunes only shows three prominent links in your app listing. to the point. An easyto-use support system can ensure you’re able to help our users in a timely fashion. It’s also worth thinking carefully about support. indepth change log of every technical alteration since the previous version. The obvious advice would be to ensure these are correct. We’ll be offering plenty of tips on how to design bold. and go to the appropriate pages. What’s New This is your opportunity to draw attention to the new features and fixes in the latest release of your app. attractive icons in Chapter 5.
static images of your app: . and don’t be afraid to edit them with annotations to show what exactly is going on. Too low. This is another topic we’ll be covering in more depth in Chapter 7. and you’ll struggle to break even on development. Screenshots There’s no way to offer a video demo of software on the App Store. One option is to stick with simple.33 Price The App Store Pricing decisions are important. and you might put off potential buyers. Take a look at some bestselling apps to see a few different examples of how you can approach them. so a selection of (up to) five screenshots is your one chance to impress users with the design and functionality of your application. Pick screenshots that clearly illustrate the main features you offer. Too high.
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.
How much is hard to tell. There have been various examples of people trying to game the system. post fake reviews. While it’s no doubt possible to an extent.35 The App Store The best way to earn a good rating is to create a bug-free. and ensure that time is dedicated to offering support and assistance to users (however frustrating they may be!) Obviously this becomes considerably harder as your application grows in success – it’s impossible to please everyone. and bump up their rating artificially. The notion of App Store ratings can be a challenging one. Who knows if the majority of customers even read the description or just look at the screenshots. it’s a sign that you need to go back and take another look at why people are struggling to use (or not enjoying) your software. . and something that you need to get right in order to persuade iPhone users to pay for your application. high quality application. That said. all the time. 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. do everyone a favour and don’t bother. If you find that your application is receiving a high proportion of negative reviews.
competitions. 43% found them “a little important”. Make the most of Apple’s “ad hoc” distribution network to gather . Treat your customers incredibly well. If they know what the application does before they purchase it. and you’ll reap the benefits in the form of positive ratings and reviews. Dealing with Crashes.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. How Important Are Ratings? We asked our readers how important ratings are when deciding whether to purchase an application. test. A higher price can mean higher reviews too. test. or never used them. then promoting it through official channels – blogs. It turns out that they are fairly important! 48% of people classed them as “very important”. If you truly believe that your application is good enough to succeed and sell well. Application bugs are obvious reasons for getting lower ratings too. Test. word of mouth – is far better than investing all your energy into a perfect rating. and only 9% of people either said they were “not very important”. crash-prone application is obvious. Errors. offer a great level of support. because customers are more likely to inform themselves of the product before purchasing. and Bugs The first way to avoid a buggy. you’ll more likely meet their expectations.
34 . This is undoubtedly skewed by our “iPhone enthusiast” reader base. file an update. report back to you). crucially. and wait for approval. 40% complete the process a few times per week.37 The App Store a group of beta testers who are happy to push your app to the limit (and. a user still needs to login and download the update you’ve provided. and 16% just once per week. Even after that process has completed. That nature of the App Store means that it takes time to fix bugs. 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. it’s interesting to note that over a quarter of your users might not install your crucial update for over a week! Less than once per week (11%) Once per week (16%) Every day (34%) A few times per week (39%) Chart 1 P. but even with that considered.
Twitter has an outage. it becomes a support nightmare. The system status indicator was a way for me to more easily report issues to users. Garrett Murray implemented a fascinating new feature called the “System Status Indicator” in a recent release of Ego. so that users felt less abandoned if something went wrong. you may find yourself dependent on the uptime and stability of another web application to keep your users happy. which I was aware of and working on (or which I couldn’t do anything about at the moment). This is always a risk. as errors that are not your fault may be attributed to your application. It takes at least a week to get a new version released just in approvals alone. . it can make things difficult. to notify people when a problem beyond his control was occurring: The biggest hurdle with Ego is that it relies on 3rdparty services. Often. and give it negative reviews and ratings. when your application deals with other companies’ APIs. People don’t realize (or willfully ignore) how Ego works and when something happens with a 3rdparty. et cetera. there will inevitably be problems you cannot control. I can’t protect against those issues. After a while. Google changes their API. and when they happen I can’t fix them immediately due to how the App Store approval system works.38 The App Store If your application relies on third party services.
. and it can make supporting and promoting your application far easier.0. there’s no doubt that it brings a whole range of benefits. 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. Although implementing something along these lines will certainly take a little longer to develop. That process was an incredible step forward from apps on previous mobile platforms. Let’s explore a few of these benefits further: A Single Point of Distribution Dave Verwer is clear on what he sees as the main advantage of the App Store for developers: The main benefit of the native App Store is the complete ease of distribution.39 The App Store In fact. The possibility of featuring your app within an active ecosystem of users and developers is very appealing. People were immediately gracious about the feature via Twitter because they suddenly knew what was happening and when it would be fixed. it’s a great safeguard. The Benefits Despite many people complaining about the constraints and challenges of working within the App Store. I ended up having to use it only a few days after it was released in Ego 2. You have a method to communicate with users. letting them know about problems beyond your control.
you receive 70% of the selling price of your application. and people know exactly where they’ll be taken after clicking it. you get paid. A Fair Commission Rate As a developer. it’s fast and you don’t have to deal with any of the payment nonsense. and promoting it through the App Store. In the past. Developers seem to have widely accepted this as a fair rate – and rightly so. The other 30% cut is taken by Apple in exchange for hosting and distributing your application. After purchasing their first app. handling payment. You submit your app.40 The App Store takes away any ambiguity of where and how to download your application. Garrett Murray also appreciates the infrastructure of the App Store: The App Store created an entire market overnight. you had to deal with carriers and other nonsense. the user knows that the process for any other software will be exactly the same. The App Store is a fantastic infrastructure for getting your application out to users. before the iPhone the urge to do so was much lower). let’s face it. if you wanted to sell applications for mobile phones (and. Dave Howell feels that this is the major benefit of working with the App Store: . This has become the universal indicator that your app is available through Apple’s marketplace. it sells. 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.
VAT. returns. As a software developer. the primary advantage of Apple’s App Store is that people actually buy apps in it! Five billion of them so far. including: credit card transactions. With such a large audience of users. import duties. direct deposit. no more than traditional software distribution margins. Apple takes on a lot.41 The App Store The App Store removes all of the transactional costs of selling software to consumers. and a shopping storefront.net/linked/2010/06/25/ios-4-gallery . Free Promotion Another benefit of the App Store is the possibility of free promotion from Apple. Garrett Murray had a little insight to share into how important this promotion can be: 11 http://daringfireball. having your app featured on the iTunes homepage (or in some cases. And compared to other mobile app marketplaces. for a reasonable cost. no doubt boosting their sales to owners of the latest iPhone. downloads. international administrative overhead. some testing. localized sales in over ninety countries. Having all this managed centrally takes away an unnecessary burden. the last thing you’ll likely want to do after perfecting your application is to start working on a payment and licensing system. in TV advertising campaigns) can be a great boost for sales. For only 30%.11 Apple recently showcased a handful of apps that had resized their display controls for the “Retina Display” and implemented iOS 4 features early. One great way to help increase your chances of being featured is to integrate new software API features as soon as they become available. Japanese withholding.
of course. . challenges when working within a large. That’s not too bad. considering Ego is a very niche application and during the time it was featured the only iPad available was the non-3G US-only version. The Challenges There are. it would have been even higher. as having a strong knowledge of the difficulties you may face will allow you to tackle them head on. But when Apple features you.42 The App Store Ego was recently featured in the “What’s Hot” section of iTunes. you take what you can get. closed ecosystem such as the App Store. I think if I had been featured after international or 3G release. During the week it was featured I sold about four times as many copies each day. It’s best to be aware of these at the outset.
it is very rarely a terminal situation. Frustrating Approval Process As we mentioned previously. If your application is rejected. visible amongst thousands of others. Dave Verwer. however. but the vast majority are approved with no issues at all. along with what you need to do to fix the problem. Bjango echo this as the main difficulty they find when working with the App Store: The main challenge would have to be visibility. Apple explains what they are. an attractive interface and icon. If you’re not charting or being talked about. With so many apps released each week. All these come together to produce an application that people download. and rejections usually happen for justifiable reasons. good ratings at the outset. one of the main challenges is how to ensure your app becomes. talk about.43 Standing Out from the Crowd The App Store As you’d expect. one of the main criticisms often leveraged towards the App Store centers around the approval process. your chance of survival is slim. There’s no one way to do this. It’s no secret that there are hundreds of thousands of apps on the store. It’s a combination of a great idea. and remains. feels that much of this is hype. and the problem isn’t as rife as you may think: There have been a handful of ridiculous decisions made by Apple with apps being unfairly rejected. it’s difficult to ensure your app has time in the spotlight. and igniting wordof-mouth promotion. and gradually push up through Apple’s rankings. Apple recently gave some statistics on this and the most common reasons for rejection are: .
but is one of the top reasons for app rejection.44 The App Store 1. None of these are actually going to be a permanent barrier to your application approval. and not testing with access to location services being denied by the system settings app. When submitting an app to the store you are asked to describe what the app does for the iTunes store listing. 3. Apple can easily check for these APIs and will reject your app for using them. This is really easy to avoid. Your application crashes! This sounds really obvious. While the private functionality may be very tempting to use during development. and your application description can be easily edited to be accurate. Your application doesn’t work as advertised. It is fairly difficult to use these APIs by accident but. Crashing bugs can (and should!) be fixed. believes that the biggest challenge on the App Store centres around tracking app usage. Be as accurate as possible here and do not make your app sound like it can do more than it actually does. 2. Tracking How People Use Your App Lee Mallabone. Do beta test your applications before submitting to Apple. On the . the developer of Broadersheet. Your application uses private APIs. private APIs can be removed and worked around using standard functionality. just in case. Common problems here include things like not testing the application without an internet connection. there are now tools built into Xcode that will do a preliminary check for them before submission to Apple.
A few solutions are available if you’re willing to take the time to integrate them. so you have to make your best guesses for the first release and gradually refine your app’s keywords and listing over time.12 This is certainly worth doing if you think it will provide valuable feedback. you don’t see referrers. Google Analytics. You can’t know for certain what people are searching for. and Apple moved to block this with a change to their terms and conditions. this is an incredibly simple task with various services offering in-depth analysis. offers a set of APIs that you can integrate into your iPhone application. Many of the best tricks for online marketing are hard to achieve with the App Store as you can’t add your own tracking code to pages. the popular website statistic tool.google.com/mobile/analytics/docs/. Apple recently took a hard line on a few companies that inserted tracking code into various applications to monitor usage. . and you have no data relating to how many people have looked at your app’s page. 12 http://code.45 The App Store web. They were collecting user information without consent. 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.
it’s worth hearing what our experienced developers have to say on the matter . you have three routes to consider when launching your application. outsource the development to another company.the choice isn’t as clear-cut as you may think! . or choose to bypass the App Store altogether and launch a web application that’s viewable through Mobile Safari (the iPhone’s web browser). books and websites for learning Cocoa Touch / Objective C and understanding the process of programming for the iPhone (we cover plenty of them in the last chapter). There are countless other resources. Before you dismiss any of these. You can program and develop the application yourself. Whether or not you’re a programming guru.MAKING A DEVELOPMENT DECISION As I mentioned in the introduction. the aim of this book isn’t to make you a technical coding wizard overnight.
but nothing exceptionally steep. We asked him whether the expansion into iPhone development was a steep learning curve. don’t know what Object-Oriented Programming is. and feel uncomfortable with the acronym “API”. . making the transition to iPhone development is likely to be a very pleasant experience. Many developers have become accustomed to sacrificing performance for easierto-use APIs. before giving up and hiring a developer. only to launch with a bugridden piece of software. As powerful as the iPhone is. or something that seemed fairly straight-forward? Starting development for the iPhone with Cocoa Touch felt right at home. If you’ve never heard of Cocoa. There are a few differences in the iPhone SDK that take some time to get acquainted with. Coming from a desktop world. but good optimization matters much more on mobile platforms. The best case scenario would be that you’d invest a week of time into understanding how iPhone development works.48 Making a Development Decision Developing Your Own Native App Let’s start by clarifying that this option isn’t for everyone. developing your own iPhone application would probably be a bad decision. Dustin MacDonald has been developing using Cocoa for over seven years. If you do have a basic understanding of programming. I think the biggest overall challenge is learning to fine tune your app for a device with significantly less resources and horsepower than a Mac or PC. it’s about ten years behind modern desktop machines in terms of processing power and available memory. The worst case scenario would be to struggle through a frustrating development process for six months.
Really if you have experience with any modern. If you’re a marketing whizz. Python. it’s going to be a steep learning curve. Java. I also asked Dave Verwer about this transition. we all had a very steep learning curve. During the first few months after the initial SDK release. The main lesson to take away is that if you already have experience programming. What was not so easy at the outset was finding documentation on iPhone specific subjects. If not. . Even better. because noone really knew how everything was supposed to work. as – the documentation and tools are now excellent and getting better all the time. 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. and if you do decide to develop your own application.49 Making a Development Decision This is an important consideration. Ruby. craft a beautiful interface and hire a developer to implement it. Play to your strengths – if you’re brilliant at designing in Photoshop. consider focusing on promotion and contracting out the whole process of app development. This was not helped by the tools having a few bugs in them! Luckily that has completely changed over the last two years. then you are going to have a head start learning your way around Objective C and the iPhone SDK. a significant amount of my code just worked without any changes when I took it to the iPhone platform. this option could well be very straight-forward. or anything similar. Everything I had learned about Mac development made iPhone development seem very familiar. object-oriented language like C#. performance will be a huge consideration.
Making a Development Decision
Is Developing an iPhone App Going to be Fun? This depends upon how much you love development, and how passionate you are about your idea. That said, a huge 75% of the developers we surveyed said that iPhone development was more fun than their previous job. It certainly looks promising!
If you do decide to develop a native application, there are several advantages to be realised over a web app. I asked Dave Verwer about how a native app excels over a web app: It all comes down to look and feel, really. Using the native user interface elements is going to make your app feel much more like the standard apps that come with the phone. This is important because consistency is going to help people know instinctively how to use your application. They have already been trained by using all of the standard apps that came with the phone. There are web frameworks that emulate the standard iPhone user interfaces in HTML and CSS such as Phone Gap or jQuery Touch. I approach these with caution. They are generally very good, but they are unfortunately unable to get all of the details right in terms of the standard user interactions expected of apps. Where embedded WebKit and HTML5/CSS really shine in iPhone applications is within the content areas inside a native application. Using the standard iPhone controls from the iPhone SDK for navigation and combining this with an embedded browser for the content area can often be a good compromise between native and web apps.
How Long Does it Take?
Making a Development Decision
Our developer survey asked people how long it typically takes them to develop an application. The results were varied, but most respondents said that it takes between 100 and 250 hours:
1,000+ (4%) Less than 100 (19%)
Chart 1 P. 46
Whichever approach you take to development – but particularly if you develop an application yourself – testing is vitally important. You need to take the time to iron out bugs and perfect functionality before publishing your software. Dave Howell from Avatron offered a little insight into how they approach this process: We employ your garden-variety development cycle. As three of our employees are ex-Apple, we borrow some best practices from Cupertino. We have a full-time quality assurance manager, a tester, occasional interns, and an army of external beta testers.
Making a Development Decision
We rely heavily on source code control and bug database tools to manage our tasks. Our full-time tech support technician runs our external beta program. And of course our engineers do a lot of testing before submitting code changes. Near a release, we implement code reviews. For our beta testers, we seek a mix of technically adept power users as well as smart novices. If you have the expertise to develop your own application, go for it. You’ll save a great deal on development costs, and have invaluable knowledge about how your application is put together. If the thought of opening up Xcode makes your stomach churn, don’t worry. You can still enjoy the benefits of a native application without any programming knowledge whatsoever.
Hiring a Developer
The second route is to hire your own developer. There are plenty of incredibly talented programmers out there who could do a fantastic job of taking your idea, sketches, and graphical mockups and turning them into a finished application. You’ll need to gradually build up a good working relationship with a developer. You could look at this process as a one-off transaction, but in reality you’ll want to continue working with the same person in the future for feature additions, upgrades, and bug fixes. Spend time getting to know the work and personality of a developer before embarking on a new project. I asked Dave Verwer for the advice he would give to people looking to hire a developer for their app: The best advice I can give here is to put as much thought as possible into what your app will do and how it might do it before asking a developer for a quote. When a developer considers a new
Just start drawing out screens on separate pieces of paper and laying them out on a large table. place them in order on the table and start to think about how the user will navigate through your application. . Draw and Prototype The second step is to start to plan out your app on paper.53 Making a Development Decision app from a client. Sometimes the developer will add on time (and therefore budget) for the inevitable unseen features and problems that will be uncovered. The best way to avoid problems like these is to remove ambiguity from the outset. Also look at some of your favourite other apps – not specifically with the same or similar functionality to the app you are intending to build – but just think about software that you enjoy using and get inspired by how it works. If I could split the ideal preparation for planning an iPhone project into a couple of key points. User interface consistency is very important across the iPhone platform and being familiar with the standard conventions and behaviours that are used by other apps will let you think in the correct terms. or they will underestimate the effort and subsequently find themselves trying to squeeze your development into an unrealistic deadline. You don’t need to have a degree in art to do this – just a pencil and some imagination. I would suggest the following: Become Familiar with the iPhone The first step towards designing a great app is to be as familiar as possible with how the iPhone itself works. As you draw the screens. Using these standard behaviours is also a great way to get a vast amount of functionality for free. as there are quick ways for developers to implement standardised user interfaces within an app. ambiguity in the description of what the app needs to do makes the estimation process much more difficult.
and thinking about them in this way is a really useful exercise to understand user perspective. it will give them far greater confidence that you have thought through the app. Even if you’re a competent developer. but putting time into thinking about how your own app might function will let you plan all the little features that don’t appear when thinking about an idea at a high level. but it’s the only way to ensure your vision is created exactly as you want it to be. 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. This might seem like a daunting task.54 Making a Development Decision Also. Devin Ross worked alongside Taptivate when developing Attic. This will lead to them being better equipped to give you a significantly more accurate (and probably cheaper) quote. If you do these things before contacting a developer. 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. and that there will be fewer unseen expectations or hidden features. The key aspect to understand is that the interface comes first. . but I wasn’t happy with how everything worked. I saw Taptivate had 13 http://shinydevelopment. Take pictures of all of your pieces of paper and use them as part of the information you provide to the developer.com/blog/iphone-screen-design-template-pdf/. Obviously the developer will work with you to do actual designs for the app. and he feels that it pushed the application into a different league: I had Attic at a point where I could have released it to customers. try and fit the data that needs to be input onto a screen using an iPhone design template (mine is freely available13).
If you do decide to go ahead and hire someone to develop your application for you. They helped change the way the application functioned in a way I had imagined but never realized until they came along. fully sortable by location.14 This is a directory of different companies that design and develop iPhone apps. fee. so it made sense to reach out to them to see what they could bring to the table in any regard. . 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. Sure.55 Making a Development Decision a hit with Postman and Voices. and well worth taking a look at. It’s a simple website to navigate. one of the best websites we recommend is TheyMakeApps. any programmer can learn anything. 14 http://theymakeapps. and numerous other factors. Building Objective-C powered iPhone apps is a different ballgame. and let developers apply. there are a huge range of resources to help you find the right person. or (2) post up an advertisement for your job.com. This could be a particularly good idea if the process is completely new to you. We still had our design team specify what we wanted and how it should work. The same can be true if you’re a developer with experience in a certain language that’s unrelated to iPhone development. but the Highrise app was separate enough that we could source it out and get it done. If you’re going to take the former route. There are two general approaches to take: (1) look for developers already advertising their services. 37signals worked with Overcommitted on the development of a companion iPhone app for their Highrise web application: Our core competency is building web applications. Despite being a software company themselves.
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.000 unique visitors a day and adverts priced at just $99 for 30 days.jobcoin. .com With 2. you can reach a large number of developers for a small payment. CocoaDev cocoadev. Some are free. GetAppsDone GetAppsDone. there are a number of different job boards where you can post a position.56 Making a Development Decision For the latter route.37signals. and others charge you to list the project: 37signals Job Board jobs. It currently costs $300 for a 30 day advert. Listings you post are also shared via their iPhone app.
For those that pay for their app development. Guru guru. .000 for their application development.com A marketplace for finding a freelancer to work on the development of your project. many respondents noted that it’s simply an investment of time.57 TUAW tuaw. Used by developers across the world. Relatively few people paid upwards of $10. eLance is a cost effective way to source a developer. the total cost was centered around the lower end. How Much Does it Cost? When asked how much it costs to develop an iPhone application. eLance elance.com/jobs Making a Development Decision The Unofficial Apple Weblog have their own job board. Craigslist is still a valuable resource for those looking to find work and is a great place to post adverts. These people are obviously doing everything themselves – interface design. and promotion.com Similar to eLance. and also helps you manage the project as it goes along. Craigslist craigslist. development. Guru is another widely used place to find a freelancer. with both iPhone and Mac OS X development jobs.org Although derided by many.
or investing more into a better polished and functional application.000 $1.000 – $5.000 $1 – $500 Just my own time 0 5 10 Series 1 Chart 1 P.000 $500 – $1.58 cont’d Making a Development Decision Series 1 $50. 53 15 20 25 Because our survey was targeted at developers. It’s clear that you have a choice of approaching development in a thrifty fashion.000 $5.000 – $10.000 $10. is not distributed through the App Store.000 – $50. and runs in the iPhone’s Mobile Safari browser.000+ $25. we expected to see that many people would be able to produce iPhone apps for a relatively low cost – investing only their own time. . Developing a Web Application The third and final option is to develop a web application – an app that is hosted on the internet.000 – $25.
. with only 4% of people answering “What’s a Web App?” 15 http://www.60 Making a Development Decision It’s worth mentioning that Apple maintain a regularly updated directory15 of iPhone optimized web applications that can provide plenty of inspiration for ideas and techniques.apple. Do People Use Web Apps? Although the iPhone is perfectly capable of running web apps to an almost-native standard. and 42% of people didn’t have one at all.com/webapps/. 21% had just one. Awareness (at least among our readers) seemed high. how many users actually use this functionality? We found that 34% of people questioned had more than one web app on their home screen.
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. so the user feels that they’re actually using a local application. 56 Obviously the main hurdle to overcome when taking this approach is your application interface. . or create an entire payment system within their app.phonegap.com. 16 http://www. The goal is usually to mimic the iPhone’s native interface as closely as possible.61 cont’d Making a Development Decision What's a web app? (4%) Yes – More than one (33%) No (42%) Yes – Just one (21%) Chart 1 P.
This is doing great things to move the web forward altogether. as it is providing one of their key arguments against allowing Flash on the iPhone. and Apple does not handle the payment processing and distribution for you. beyond some of these stumbling points.yahoo. This is a fairly important 17 http://developer. It’s easy to get the impression that Apple doesn’t value web apps as highly as they do native software on the App Store. they obviously put more marketing focus behind native app development. or again. At any rate.com/yql/. providing a robust tool for making JSON requests to normally REST/XML-based APIs. as it brings them revenue. 3D animations. . There are lots of features I’d love to see in Mobile Safari: accelerometer access. But Apple has a limited team and they do make great strides with the browser on a regular basis. Luckily.62 Making a Development Decision Another big stumbling point in web technology is the unavailability of cross-domain requests. offline storage. That said. wrap their app in something like PhoneGap. Developers are forced to either stick with JSON-based web services. YQL17 also provides a fantastic service for this. they’ve been forced to put a renewed interest in the web standards recently. it’s quite impressive what is possible with web technology. and cross-device compatibility. camera or contacts access etc. with a lot of emphasis on HTML5/ CSS3. more robust touch events. David feels that this isn’t necessarily the case: I think Apple has done a great job guiding WebKit and also creating the most powerful mobile browser in the world. It’s worth re-iterating the downside of this development approach: your application is not listed in the App Store.
you can change the name of this declaration to apple-touch-icon-precomposed.tutsplus. Nettuts+ published an article18 that offers a great insight into this. • • In addition to these. . to ensure that it will function correctly on the iPhone. 18 http://net. and is well worth taking the time to read. and the controls that are usually present across the top of the window.png"/> • The first of these removes the standard Safari navigation bar. This will have Apple’s glossy overlay placed on top of it. I thought it would be useful to quickly go over what you need to include in a webpage. somewhere between the <head></head> tags: <meta name="apple-mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes" /> <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width.64 Making a Development Decision Quick Guide: Creating an iPhone Optimized Site Although we aren’t delving too deeply into development in this book. The second prevents the user from being able to zoom and scale the interface – usually the case in websites – which makes the page feel far more like a native application. but if you’d prefer for this not to happen. and ensure that everything is well optimized for a touch interface. The third and final declaration tells the iPhone where you’ve located an icon file that will display when the user saves the app to their home screen. you’ll also need to consider producing a stylesheet that accommodates the iPhone’s screen size. userscalable=no"> <link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="iphoneicon. These needn’t be present if you’re designing a web app that has its own set of controls for navigating around.com/tutorials/tools-and-tips/learn-how-to-develop-for-the-iphone/. It’s simply a case of including the following three declarations in your HTML page.
you may have less control over the interface than you’d think. SEXY INTERFACE DESIGN As I’ve already mentioned. and there are plenty of developers to profile in this section who are doing a great job. Depending upon the type of app you’re creating. We’ll also be talking to Sarah Parmenter. .THE IMPORTANCE OF SIMPLE. interface design is all-important. Apple exerts a surprising level of control over the style that your application should adhere to – it isn’t just a case of opening Photoshop and creating something pretty. a highly talented interface designer with plenty of experience to share.
and move on to offer recommendations for the style of interface you should design.ly/bvPM2b. . and it’s clear to see what an enormous role interface design plays in the success of failure of your project: Perfectly Crafted App Store Listing Low Price Great Interface Design Unique Idea 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Irrelevant Not So Important Quite Important Very Important Chart 1 P.67 The Importance of Simple. 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. 61 19 http://bit. These walk you through the process of planning your application at the outset. The results speak for themselves. 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.
so that they provide an internally consistent experience. and different elements of the iPhone user interface. accessibility. It’s a measure of how well the appearance of your application integrates with its function. http://d8. Be sure you design the user interface elements of such an application carefully. An interface should. One point worth highlighting relates to aesthetic integrity. a productivity application should keep decorative elements subtle and in the background.21 His response? “If you need a stylus you have already failed. Steve Jobs was recently questioned about handwriting recognition systems using a stylus. . gestures. Apple has a great explanation:20 Aesthetic integrity is not a measure of how beautiful your application is.68 The Importance of Simple. 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.com/20100607/steve-jobs-at-d8-the-full-uncut-interview/. and what this means. For example. An immersive application is at the other end of the spectrum. while giving prominence to the task by providing standard controls and behaviors.ly/ckTjGS. make this task simple and enjoyable to achieve.allthingsd. its appearance still needs to integrate with the task. first and foremost. Sexy Interface Design You’ll learn about the use of metaphors. and users expect a beautiful appearance that promises fun and encourages discovery.” Apple are strongly committed to the idea of a user’s finger being the only pointing device they need: 20 21 http://bit. it’s incredibly important not to make the interface design itself the end goal. When placing focus upon “sexy interface design”. direct manipulation. Gorgeous interface design supports this process. Although an immersive application tends to be focused on providing diversion.
I asked the developer if this involved a great deal more work than using the standard iPhone UI controls. then get started. However. I can’t overstate how useful the Human Interface Guidelines are to read through. such as a mouse. In the context of a display screen. Read it cover to cover. Why are we drawn to attractive application design. and how can you. or the dexterity of their owner. When designing your interface. fingers can never be as precise as a mouse pointer. and you’ll want to follow these to ensure your app is usable. fingers have one major disadvantage: They are much bigger than a mouse pointer. it’s important to remember this fact. and fully understand before you begin designing the functionality and layout of your app. we actually went through about three or four different designs before settling on the one you see in the app today. read it again. and they give users a sense of immediacy and connection to the device that’s impossible to achieve with an external input device. . and whether the extra effort paid off: With Headquarters. and creates a thoroughly unique look and feel. Sexy Interface Design There are real advantages to using fingers to operate a device: They are always available. use this to your advantage? Headquarters steers clear of the standard iPhone interface elements. their shape.69 The Importance of Simple. as a developer. they are capable of many different movements. regardless of their size. Apple specifies different size requirements for areas of the interface a user can tap on. Why Is Sexy Interface Design So Important? Let’s move on to consider why interface design is actually so important.
70 The Importance of Simple. We received a lot of great feedback on the interface – not only because it looked good. This makes perfect sense on the large iPad screen. we found that the application simply looked more polished and pleasing to the eye with the dark. It just depends on the suitability of the object you’re alluding to and how seamlessly you can integrate it with your app. but I asked Graham whether he thought it could work equally well on the iPhone: My gut feeling is that real life metaphors can work well at any size. But more importantly. Although developing these custom controls extended both our design and development cycles. Sexy Interface Design In the end. they fit in really nicely and they open up the ways a user can interact with the screen. they were definitely worth the risk and the effort. . but because people liked how the screens were laid out. Two great examples of this are the tabs on the dashboard and the custom navigation bar we use. with the high level of customization we were able to integrate completely custom controls that wouldn’t stick out. the developers of The Early Edition. sleek design. Glasshouse Apps. took the approach of crafting an interface that mimicked a real-life newspaper. Despite these two controls being completely alien to the iPhone platform.
had something really interesting to say in this regard: I think a great interface and app workflow is crucial. important to remember that “design” is far more than just how your application looks. as are the sticky notes found on the Dashboard of OS X. After all. You may have a world class app backend (which is also important). realistic texture. It’s also crucially about how it works. It is. but the user can’t actually see that. from Bjango. for instance. Any interface design that makes you stop and say “wow” usually uses some form of metaphor in one way or another. of course. or it could be more subtle – a gorgeous. Sexy Interface Design Many applications use this idea of metaphor – designing something on screen that closely resembles a physical item. it’s the only thing a user sees. It could be something as obvious as the newspaper above.71 The Importance of Simple. . Marc. Apple’s Notes application is a good example of this. They only see your user interface.
then you’ll probably be able to work on the positioning and layout of these yourself.72 The Importance of Simple. . When we’re mocking and testing different layouts. as well as the way it looks. The Interface Design Process You have a few different options available when approaching the interface design of your application. Sexy Interface Design Now might be a good time to mention that we consider design to be the way something works. They go hand in hand. Design certainly isn’t just the role of one person. everyone’s involved. If you expect the layout to include mainly standard iPhone controls. It’s more about structure than colouring in pixels.
If not. This offers a good insight into how the process could work if you approach this task yourself. or what to expect when hiring an interface designer to craft your application’s UI for you. Sarah Parmenter. on the other hand. an interface designer could go a long way towards turning your app into a success. you want a more customized user interface. it is a choice that’s worth spending some time on. I nearly always go through a wireframe stage.73 The Importance of Simple. and carefully considering. there are plenty of great interface designers who specialize in working with iPhone developers. If you want your application to really stand out from the crowd but have no design experience yourself. If you have experience in this area. I generally get sent a beta of the app to test drive and make notes on. even if I haven’t been commissioned to do so. someone fairly talented may well charge a few hundred dollars per day. as there may be tweaks and adjustments that could be made to benefit the user that the developer has not thought about. 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. . by all means explore how you could design the interface yourself. One such designer. Though the cost of hiring an interface designer will vary depending upon the experience of the designer you hire. Although this sounds expensive. walked us through the process she takes when designing iPhone applications. you’ll need to think about hiring a designer. Sexy Interface Design If.
Sexy Interface Design .74 The Importance of Simple.
75 The Importance of Simple. There are unique challenges associated with the interfaces of mobile devices – even if you feel comfortable in Photoshop and Illustrator. I find that explaining design decisions rather than just sending them a screenshot is always a better way to communicate. it can be a bigger hurdle than you’d expect. 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. . Once I have crafted the UI. Sexy Interface Design I almost always start on paper and then move into Photoshop for the actual design elements. Designing an iPhone interface isn’t simple.
. full wireframes and then betas of apps which need some UI help. how the interface should adjust for different orientations. and on a shoestring budget. If you do decide to hire an interface designer. the way in which different pages interconnect.76 The Importance of Simple. I get clients who just have an idea for the app. Whether or not you choose to hire an interface designer. and spend time thinking about minimum hit size (and correspondingly. this is hardly ever the case). Sexy Interface Design It isn’t just a case of putting together a screen full of pretty graphics. how large different interface elements need to be). 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. The latest release of the iPhone has a far higher resolution screen (960x640 pixels) at greater pixel density (326 ppl) than we’ve ever seen before on a mobile device. If you are unsure of what you are doing. You also need to consider how animation and movement should display. but this doesn’t mean that they can also design a beautiful interface (in fact. it’s vitally important that you give this stage of the process the time and investment it deserves. 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. This means that graphics will use more pixels for the same effective artwork size – something your interface design should take advantage of. All of those mentioned require varying degrees of work and budget allocation. You may have hired an incredibly talented developer. I get sketches. so a developer would need to be sensible when approaching a UI designer as to what their budget is and how they want to spend it.
and clearly conveys the essence of your application’s purpose. and it’s a good chance to inject some UI beauty and texture. and needs to clearly convey what your application is all about. It’s impossible to overstate just how important your app icon is – it’s the one element of branding that appears everywhere. you’ll need to start thinking about producing an irresistible icon. study them. functionality and interface of your application itself. attractive package. Renowned icon designer Sebastiaan de With had three pieces of great advice to share on this topic: First off. and it can be a very challenging process to get right. Achieving this in a 57 square pixels is no mean feat. instantly recognizable. You also need to produce a 512x512 version of your app icon that Apple are able to use for promotion if they decide to. It’s best to stick with a bold image that conveys your application’s branding. look carefully at how Apple designs interfaces and icons. rather than trying to include text within the icon. Try to balance eye appeal and clarity of meaning in your icon so that it’s rich and beautiful. This can include a greater amount of detail than the smaller app icon. Redraw them.ly/caLQqX. 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. Sexy Interface Design Crafting an Irresistible Icon After you’ve perfected the design. and learn their style and the constraints 22 http://bit.77 The Importance of Simple. .
If you make sure your design is simple and feels ‘native’ to the iPhone or iPad. Done? Start taking stuff out. or hire a professional from the outset: Generally. who has a distinctive style across all their application icons: I find designing app icons difficult. descriptive. I think my only tip would be to find someone who’s a great icon designer and pay them to do it for you. it’s a good idea to hire a designer. What can you remove? Even more? Take it down to the basics and then some. A gold star if you chose a concept that was delightfully simple and appropriate in your first swing at the icon. let some designers take a look. Steal that spot. Although that’s advice that we haven’t taken ourselves. go design. You can always hire a designer if you feel the need. you can see how much fun you can have in those little rounded squares. memorable and beautiful symbol. If you’re capable and can be brutally honest in judging your own product. There are a billion possibilities. it can be the difference between ending up on some screen or on the home screen. . by all means design for yourself. front and center. Second. have some fun. Lastly.78 The Importance of Simple. This sentiment is echoed by Bjango. Always consider consistency with the OS. 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. Something that is focused. But don’t take that from the designer guy. yet uniquely yours. If you’re unsure of the quality of your design work. Sexy Interface Design the designers imposed on themselves to make designs fit in and achieve a consistent result. It’s such a challenge to sum up everything your app does in a single.
a recognizable silhouette and something that works very well at small sizes. . then you will probably want to ensure you have a prominent colour.ly/c4f64Y. and the high resolution iPhone 4). Apple specifies a number of different required sizes for icons. You’ll definitely need to fix and tweak your final 57x57 pixel (iPhone) or 72x72 pixel (iPad) home screen design.79 The Importance of Simple. 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. iPad. Sexy Interface Design If you really have to design your icon yourself. and you’ll need to provide various resolutions for their different devices (iPhone. Make sure you fine tune for all sizes. too. but also plenty of detail when the icon is shown large.
we’re going to share a series of links and resources to assist with your own interface design. sliders and graphics you need to quickly create mockups of your apps. Sexy Interface Design Document icon (recommended for custom document types) Web Clip icon (recommended for web applications and websites) Toolbar and Navigation bar icon (optional) Tab bar icon (optional) 22x29 44x58 (high resolution) 57x57 114x114 (high resolution) Approximately 20x20 Approximately 40x40 (high resolution) Approximately 30x30 Approximately 60x60 (high resolution) 320x480 640x960 (high resolution) 64x64 320x320 72x72 Approximately 20x20 Approximately 30x30 Launch image (required) Both 768x1004 (portrait) and 1024x748 (landscape) Design Kits. Some of these are pre-built templates that you can use in Photoshop or Illustrator. . others are great tools that can help with wireframing and getting your ideas down on paper! iPhone GUI Design teehanlax.com/blog/2009/06/18/iphone-gui-psd-30/ This brilliant Photoshop GUI kit comes with all the different types of buttons. Interfaces and Icons In this short section.80 The Importance of Simple.
81 The Importance of Simple. .com Quickly put your iPhone and iPad app designs on paper. iPhone Sticky Pad uistencils. App Sketchbook appsketchbook.com/2008/11/26/iphone-psd-vector-kit/ Smashing Magazine brings a much simpler iPhone GUI for those of you focusing on straightforward applications. Plenty of room to jot notes and wireframe in style. Simply drop your flat image into the kit and it layers the shine over the top.html Easily recreate the glossy icon shine using this clever kit. Saves time.5x zoom. iPhone Application Sketch Book amazon.com/gp/product/1430228237 For those of you who prefer to sketch out your applications.com/2008/10/iphone-icon-shine-kit. You can then stick your designs around the office and create flowcharts of your apps. These sketchbooks come in various different styles and sizes for different devices. Sexy Interface Design iPhone PSD Vector Kit smashingmagazine.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. iPhone Stencil Kit uistencils. looks great. this book provides 150 templates at 1. Icon ‘Shine’ Kit notlost.com/products/iphone-sticky-pad Design your iPhone apps on this sticky pad that ties in with the above stencil.blogspot.
but you’ll encounter far more resistance if you try to remove something that a few dedicated users have become accustomed to having available.LEARNING TO KEEP IT SIMPLE AND ITERATE Most successful apps tend to approach a fairly simple concept. This cuts down on development costs and ensures people understand clearly what the core functionality of your application is. Determine the bare minimum of what a user would be satisfied with. It’s easy to add new features as they’re requested. They suggest that you should launch an application with minimal features. 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. Apple actually advises this approach in their developer guidelines. but execute it phenomenally well. and consider producing just that. Even if you have a huge. grandiose idea for your application. .
especially when building upon an API: When creating larger. but it’s my personal belief that if there are features that are not helping the users accomplish their primary task then these features are in the way. It allows users to make posts. you just don’t have the patience for complexity. it’s even more true on a mobile device that the app has to be simple. Select Start Studios completely understand the importance of starting simple. see other posts.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.com/draft. I think if anything. They took this approach when developing their iPhone application for Highrise. If you look at Facebook’s iPhone application. your apps or any of the extra stuff that Facebook has added over the years. it’s always important to remain focused on adding value. . 37signals’ philosophy seems to be that keeping a product simple at launch – building half a product. a straightforward sketching/drawing app for the iPad: http://37signals. It’s easy to throw in a ton of little cool features. upload photos and a few other small things. It doesn’t let you access your games. more complex applications. it focuses on what’s important to the platform and it does it remarkably well. rather than a half-assed product – is a good way to develop. When you have three minutes of downtime to do something with your phone. 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. so that we could wrap it up and get it out quickly. 24 This turned out to be “Sketch”. We’re working on another app at the moment that’ll go even simpler still24. it’s very limited in comparison to their website yet it’s a fantastic application.
my initial focus was to cover the few services I wanted right off the bat (FeedBurner. Mint 2 and Twitter). The App Store is full of examples where this process has worked for a developer. Garrett Murray started out by only offering statistics for a handful of web applications and services. He’s gradually increased the scope of the application over time: There’s definitely a benefit to starting simple. You’re not making any money if there’s no product out there earning income. Apple states that “an app must solve a user’s problem clearly and elegantly. release early. With Ego. release often. helping the user complete it as easily as possible. Apple (via Sarah Parmenter. which is exactly what I’ve been doing over the last year. I started with three. 25 Eric Hope – User Experience Evangelist. Most successful projects focus on one simple task. I built the core app with growth in mind so it would be easy to add new services down the road. when launching Ego. FOWD London 2010) . This is especially the case when you take into account the volatility of the App Store – it’s much better to get a product to market and to add functionality than to sit on it for a year without a release. And there are several more to come over the next few months. now Ego supports eight.85 Learning to Keep it Simple and Iterate In a similar vein.”25 Stripping away all the unnecessary clutter is the absolute best way to achieve this. As the old adage goes.
and have equal success aiming for a high price as compared to a lower price. Just take a look at Apple’s “Top Grossing” list. . In this chapter. and can be very difficult to nail the first time around. Different companies take wildly different approaches to pricing their apps. don’t be afraid to charge more than a couple of dollars – people will happily pay.PRICING YOUR APP RIGHT Pricing is a tricky concept. and many examples exist that show this approach works. each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages. If you believe that your application offers enough value. we’ll investigate which choice might be right for you. the App Store has given developers the option of many different pricing models. Fortunately.
and Apple takes a 30% cut in exchange for handling downloads. David Kaneda had the following to say: . and plan carefully so you aren’t left with a huge hosting or bandwidth bill. Be sure to factor this in. you may need to maintain a server that is capable of powering any community features you implement. it’s important to understand Apple’s revenue breakdown clearly.. As I’ve mentioned before. it’s important to consider what the ongoing costs will be of running your app. With this in mind. Even if this is just a simple database. bandwidth. credit card processing. etc. so be prepared to wait a little while before the revenue from your sales reaches your bank account. As your application grows in popularity. or decide to give away your application for free. you’re getting into the App Store business to make money. Although Apple handles downloads. Whether this is through direct sales of your app or advertising – the motive is usually the same. the way that revenue sharing works means that you receive 70% of all sales of your app. so will the demand placed upon the hardware that you maintain yourself. it’s worth mentioning that the process of deciding how to price and sell your app can be difficult. You’ll also need to generate at least $250 worth of sales before Apple will release a payment. Before you pick a pricing model. payment processing. several thousand simultaneous users is still going to pose a problem. Apple pays you on a monthly basis.88 Pricing Your App Right Breaking Down Your Revenue In all likelihood. and distributing your app. For those of you considering the web app route.
Many people don’t have any problem with viewing advertisements and for them. and an ad-free commercial version with additional features. 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. 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. to web and native alike. can purchase the adfree version. The Pricing Dilemma Broadly speaking. Give your app away for free and generate revenue from advertising or inapp upgrades 2. Those who do.89 Pricing Your App Right Pricing is a universal challenge. Twitterrific is great. 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. This is the iPhone equivalent of a “freemium” model – giving away a certain level of functionality for free and tempting users to pay for the full . or who want to directly support our development efforts. It really is the best of both worlds. and still get some return on our investment. 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).
If you’re confident enough that a free trial of your application is the best way to persuade users to buy. Giving away one level lets people get a feel of how the game works.90 Pricing Your App Right experience. It’s important to understand that price alone doesn’t need to be the key motivator to persuade people to buy. pricing becomes something of a marketing technique to persuade people to “try before they buy”. and draws them in to purchase the full application to play further. at $4. In this respect. for instance. Wallet.php. and only 4% “usually just purchase” the full version. This goes some way towards showing the power of this marketing method.readwriteweb.99. is priced slightly higher than the “baseline” standard for iPhone apps which is which is around $2. 52% always download the freebie. Do Users Download Trials? We asked our readers whether they download these free application “trials” before purchasing the full version. you should go for it.50 in North America.26 26 http://www.com/archives/average_price_for_iphone_apps_keeps_falling. . It works in all manner of different niches. but particularly well for games. 44% sometimes try before they buy.
With Wallet.99+ Mid-Price $1. If the price tag is higher than $10. so it was important to still price Wallet competitively with other standalone apps.99-$1. 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. In general.99 Low Price $0. We didn’t want to scare these people away. Of course. the type of person using it.99 App Used Often High Price $4.99-$4. and how often they will use it. That being said. The trick is to ensure you charge a price that considers both the functionality of your application. For them. Here’s a general idea of how you could think about these factors affecting price: App Used Rarely Older / Professional User Young / Casual User Mid-Priced $1. They’re happy to be able to buy an app that lets them sync over and access all of their important data on their phone – something they’re likely to use every day.99-$4. people have also become accustomed to fairly low-priced apps in the App Store.99 . 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. our biggest immediate audience is those who use the Mac version of the software. they might not even take a look. there are also a significant number of people who buy Wallet for iPhone yet don’t use the Mac version.91 Pricing Your App Right I asked the developer what their main considerations are when deciding on a price. price isn’t too much of a concern.
If you take a look at the top grossing list. suggesting that a large majority of people are happy to pay a respectable fee for software that really helps them solve a problem. This was done in an effort to move beyond a traditional pricing model: . 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.99 or $10 for an application. People are absolutely willing to pay a premium for apps that provide value to them. What would we be willing to pay? And like good MBAs. and a few had paid up to $100. By far the most common response was around the $10 mark.58. we “maximize demand curve utilization” by experimenting with prices and studying price elasticity. Simplenote’s pricing model is particularly interesting.92 Pricing Your App Right Avatron take the approach of putting themselves in the shoes of their customer: We look at it as our customers would. it isn’t packed with $0. There is. A few people had never paid for an app. of course. and a yearly subscription to remove advertisements and unlock premium features. based around an advertising-supported free version.99 apps. One third of all our respondents had paid a maximum of exactly $9. The overall average was $14.
Users don’t have a limitless budget. On the surface. We’re working hard on the next major version. This is far from the case. But we’re thinking bigger. Just how much are people happy to spend on software each week? An overwhelming majority. it might seem that the App Store has a fairly strict “paid or free” approach to generating revenue. over 80% of respondents.93 Pricing Your App Right We were experiencing some measure of success with a more traditional pricing model. and the more potential we have as a business. the more motivation we have to keep improving the service. This was a risky move for us. It’s very motivating to have an impact on people’s lives. spend between $0 and $5 each week. and only a handful spend any more than $10 each week. . and you need to compete for their hard-earned cash! Advertising Options If you choose to take the approach of giving away your application for free (or at least offering a free version). and you actually have a great deal of flexibility on how to charge for your application. We need to keep growing. 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. you’ll want to consider the different types of advertising available. and could probably have maintained that as a profitable small business.
If you’re a developer. not limited to using Apple’s advertising system.com As this advertising platform is provided directly by Apple. iAd debuted in the iPhone’s latest operating system update – iOS 4. each taking a different approach: iAdSM Advertising System – advertising. This is. of course. As a developer. and others through different means.94 Pricing Your App Right Mobile advertising has taken off in a huge way since the iPhone rose to popularity. You set the system up. and Apple handle filling the space with an advertisement. we’ll take a look at it first. the iPhone SDK 4 lets you easily embed iAd rich media ads into your application that are dynamically delivered to the user’s device. The agreement and breakdown is fairly simple. you receive 60% of the advertising revenue generated.com Another advertising network. and there are many different advertising companies competing for your business. Various others still exist – some on traditional impression or click models.apple. is AdMob. Apple keep the other 40% as a payment for finding advertisers and handling payment. Here are just a couple to consider. They . in effect. Fusion Ads – fusionads. You can integrate the service into your app. and are paid on a monthly basis for any advertisements sold. a direct competitor to iAd. 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. Google / AdMob – admob. recently acquired by Google.net One advertising platform that has found its way into a number of wonderful iPhone apps is Fusion Ads.
What Do Users Think About Advertising? We asked our iPhone users how they feel about iPhone advertising. or whether they didn’t mind: I'd rather have a free app with advertising (27%) I don't mind (36%) Chart 1 P. with the ability to turn off advertisements for a fee. 88 I'd rather pay for an ad-free app (37%) If you were hoping for an easy answer. pay for an ad-free app. . might be the best solution. This is an “invite only” advertising network.95 Pricing Your App Right display their advertisements in applications such as Byline. Simplenote. if they’d rather have a free app with advertising. Offering an advertising funded app. though. sorry to disappoint! The results are incredibly evenly split. and worth keeping an eye on if your application falls into this particular niche. It’s good to know about. which re-enforces the choice of many developers to offer both routes. Textie and Trackthepack. and focuses mainly on designcentric services.
. and on an ongoing basis. and make their way into Apple’s top listings within a few days. Many successful applications are adopted very quickly. this type of response won’t come easily. Unless you’re incredibly lucky (or have a completely outstanding idea).THE PERFECT PROMOTION MIX There are two important stages when promoting your application – at launch. Spending time and effort (not necessarily money) in the run up to your application launch can be a brilliant way to get noticed immediately.
Realistically. This is your chance to give a far greater amount of information to a potential buyer. So once the App Store as a marketing mechanism has been discounted. Dave Verwer outlines two options for your website: .05% of the apps in the store are currently in the US Top 100 chart). That’s one route to perfect. tell everyone who will listen about it! As we mentioned previously. you are left with traditional marketing methods. but the other is your application’s website. and expect to be an overnight success purely because you’re in the mystical “App Store”. It’s only really an effective marketing mechanism for the apps in the top charts (less than 0. you are not going to get there without alternative methods of marketing. write to bloggers and people who are influential in the area that you want your application to sell. Go to conferences and Apple events.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. You can’t just hit submit. Tell everyone you can find about it. Dave Verwer feels the same way: The most important thing here is to not depend on the App Store to be your marketing. and really impress them with your app’s functionality right from day one. The most important of these is also the simplest! Talk to people about your application. there are various techniques you can employ to make sure that your App Store listing is as clear and compelling as possible.
You need to create something that carries the style and branding of your application onto the web. but several tutorial videos work best. I always liked the way Apple does these kind of videos by coupling the tutorial with emotion. both of these techniques can work well. . 27 http://balloonsapp. Most important are ways to show what the app does without relying on a demo version. a product website should go beyond what the App Store page offers. For smaller apps. The important thing to remember is that simply tacking another page onto your existing site isn’t enough. this could be a page on your existing company site or for larger apps it could be a dedicated web site like we produced for our app.com.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. Sophia Teutschler has a few interesting thoughts to share: In my opinion. More screenshots than on the App Store page are a must. Balloons!27 Generally speaking.
com/articles tapbots.com/software/pastebot/ .100 The Perfect Promotion Mix Here are just a few examples of iPhone app websites that are executed extremely well: sophiestication.
28 Quick Guide: Creating a Video Demo One important element to get right is the video demonstration. Your favorite screen recording application – Screenflow.101 The Perfect Promotion Mix rampchamp. but there are a few clever tools to achieve something similar using the iPhone Simulator on your desktop.AppStorm. Camtasia.net/roundups/design/40-stunning-iphone-developer-websites/.appstorm. There’s no easy way to record video from your iPhone directly. Jing. For some more great examples. take a look at one of our recent posts on iPhone. A piece of software that changes your mouse cursor into something more useful for a demo video. . or any other similar app. You’ll need three things: 1. 2.com It’s obvious that the same care and attention went into these websites as did the applications themselves. and makes the iPhone Simulator more 28 http://iphone.
but PhoneFinger30 also does the trick. running through a few of the app’s features (keep it short and snappy). You can overlay your own audio commentary later if you decide to. and add a layer of gloss over the simulator display. I’d recommend SimFinger in particular. developer. running in Xcode’s iPhone Simulator It’s then just a case of recording the portion of your screen containing the iPhone Simulator.com/phonefinger/. Far more people will be likely to pay for your app if they can see it in action before they buy. though ideally your app should be designed in a way that doesn’t require a voiceover to describe what’s going on! Export the video to your favorite video sharing website.com/atebits/SimFinger. SimFinger29 is a great solution. 4. change the carrier to something more realistic than “Carrier”. It’s easy to see when another application has it – the Internet lights up with mentions of a particular app. Generating Launch “Buzz” “Buzz” is a vague concept. and embed it into your website for everyone to see. and adding any final extras in a piece of video editing software such as iMovie.wonderwarp. 3. But how do you start this process in motion for your own creation? 29 30 http://github. http://www. as it has the ability to add other application icons to your iPhone home screen. .102 The Perfect Promotion Mix realistic. Your compiled app. or website.
It either needs to look visually stunning. an iPhone app for finding hidden gems within your iPhone’s music library. But beware. We’ve also seen both methods work for other companies. Bjango had some fascinating thoughts to share on generating buzz. but means you’ll hit everywhere at once. giving you momentum and a decent chance of success. Option 2: Slowly building momentum A carefully placed trail of hints.103 The Perfect Promotion Mix First and foremost. as bloggers and users picked up on the app: . I think the most important part of the entire process is having an app that’s worthy of discussion. People should want to talk about your app. The idea is to spread as much information about your product before launch as possible. Then. you need to create something brilliant. when the time is right. To be honest. I’m not entirely sure which is best. It’s a gamble. or offer a completely immersive and addictive user experience. everyone buys at once. It also means you can gain feedback about your app before release. teasers and full blown video demos. Prepare well. you’ll also be held accountable for any features you’ve said you were going to include. and the competition will know what you’re up to. so that when it’s finally released. Devin Ross found press releases sparked quite a bit of interest. One application that launched with great success was Attic. It typically only works if you’re well established. We’ve tried both. They feel that you can take one of two approaches: Option 1: Ultimate secrecy Anyone who’s familiar with Apple will know how this one works. and how to handle a successful launch. Something so incredible that people have to tell their friends about it. and hide every last detail. prep the press and launch at full velocity.
as can offering them to sites that would like to run a giveaway. I was surprised how fast it was too. and everything else that reviewers might need if they do decide to talk about your app. Do make a press page on your web site.com. Sending out promotional codes to blogs can be a good solution. but do not rely too heavily on this as bloggers and journalists can get hundreds of press releases a day. That brought tons of traffic. I sent out press releases with promo codes to a list of blog sites that morning. I never sent a press release to him either. I wasn’t aware of how fast people picked up on the application. You can use a service such as PRMac31 to get a broad distribution of your release to hundreds of sites. I started to see a bunch of mentions on Twitter and I knew something organic was happening. . though (like we did for Balloons!) and have all of your artwork. Dave Verwer has some more thoughts to share on this topic: Press releases are useful to help get the word out once you release your app. I go through a three question process when deciding whether to commission a review of a particular application: 31 http://prmac.104 The Perfect Promotion Mix I released Attic on March 1st. These are great points to take note of. John Gruber picked up on the application and linked to it on his site. iPhone. videos. and stayed up all night just to make sure everything went smoothly. It’s important that you don’t rely completely on a traditional press release. In retrospect.AppStorm receives several requests every day from developers looking to have their application reviewed or covered on the site.
and the app’s website? If the interface looks logical. many people already knew about it. of course. it doesn’t reflect well on the developer. This really helped build anticipation for the game so when the actual launch rolled around. however. 3. then I’m likely to download the application. A final application to profile that got all of these pointers completely correct is Ramp Champ – a game that had a phenomenally successful launch. It’s worth taking the time and care to send someone a personal message. . clear and welldesigned. blogging about Ramp Champ on our main website. and write a review if I feel that our readers will find it useful. Facebook. it’s always a positive sign. I’ll likely pass over it in favor of something else that’s different and unique. Twitter and. were the tiny sneak peaks of some of the artwork from the game that we posted and leaked a month or so prior to launch. 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.105 The Perfect Promotion Mix 1. give it a try. Traditional advertising such as web and print were used only sparingly. I asked Gedeon from The Iconfactory what their main promotion techniques were. Does the idea sound interesting? If the application is just another clone of something remarkably mundane. How much care and attention has been put into screenshots.32 What probably helped the most. Is the email personally directed to me. 32 http://iconfactory.com. 2. and which factors held importance in its surge to popularity: We used many of the most popular methods available today. branding. These old ways of advertising are not nearly as effective any longer.
and keeping people informed can be a great technique. Generally speaking. Typically this will at least double your sales. at least for a short while. if not triple them. and maintain your position. Dave Verwer also had a few statistics to share on this subject. the increased visibility serves to increase sales. Being a featured app definitely helps. then you are on the path to a really successful launch. if your app is selling 300-800 copies a day. based on one of his recent projects: Sales requirements vary wildly depending on the category of application and whether your app is free or paid.106 The Perfect Promotion Mix The idea of building up a community during development. it takes more and more effort or “push” to reach the top lists. Many iPhone users browse these as a guide to what’s new and popular on the App Store. Reaching Apple’s Top Lists If you’re able to gather enough promotion to push your application into one of Apple’s Top Lists. I asked The Iconfactory to share a few statistics about how many sales it takes to reach the Top 10 rankings in the App Store. so being featured here is a great way to fuel sales and ignite a catalyst effect. You can sit in the list for a while if you have a good product. I can give a recent . then you’re probably in the Top 100 somewhere. you have an established base of people ready to buy your application. It means that when you do come to flip the switch.000 then you’re probably in the Top 50. being featured isn’t nearly as good as being in that Top 25. If you’re app is selling over 1. Once you’re there. offering “sneak peaks”. However. and how being a “Featured” app affects interest: As the App Store grows and more apps are added.
When we were in the top half of the Top 100 charts. we were getting between 1300 and 1600 downloads per day. What better way to find out how users find new applications than just to ask them? That’s what we did. 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 have a free application which has been in the Top 100 free photography apps charts in several countries around the world since it launched a couple of weeks ago. and now we are in the bottom half of those charts we are getting between 600 and 800 downloads per day. 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.107 The Perfect Promotion Mix example though.
we asked respondents whether they’d ever reached Apple’s Top 100: . Users tend to utilize all these methods to some extent. but generally has been over $15. Air Sharing HD.000 per day. three of our apps (Air Sharing. this outcome could be slightly biased as most respondents found the survey through AppStorm – an iPhone software website! Finally. In our developer survey. it can often feel that reaching any form of “Top List” is impossible. even if a few are explored more regularly than others. no one method had a particularly high number of people “never” using it. So far. and Air Display) have reached the position of #1 top grossing third-party app. The number of sales required to hit that mark has changed over time. we spoke to Dave Howell from Avatron: We’ve had good luck with the rankings. Do I Have Any Chance of Reaching the Top 100? With so many different applications in the App Store. 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. Far fewer browse through the different categories within the App Store. along with Apple’s Top Lists. Interestingly. Admittedly.
You’ll also be more likely to reach this level if you already have a track record on the App Store. MySpace. or any other website around the world. so can you! Unfortunately. not yet! (76%) Chart 2 P. If iPhone users have enjoyed your software before. It’s almost a certainty that everyone in your user base will use some form of online social service. a well designed interface. Facebook. . Go Social With Your App The power of social media is something that cannot be overlooked. be that Twitter. there’s no secret formula to pushing yourself into the realms of a Top 10 iPhone application. and plenty of launch promotion to give yourself a chance. 139 If almost a quarter of our 80 survey participants were able to make it. You’ll need a great idea. they’ll be far more likely to spend money on your latest release.109 cont’d The Perfect Promotion Mix Yes (24%) No.
In its most basic form. or through 33 http://www. this type of social integration can mean than your users help to promote your application for you. or playing along with your friends. this could take on the idea implemented by the developers of Canabalt.110 The Perfect Promotion Mix You can use this fact to your advantage when designing an application. 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. for sharing statistics and achievements. 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. Many successful apps have a way to link your Facebook/Twitter account with the software.com. Whichever method you use.33 This allows you to send out a tweet letting people know how far you progressed in a particular game: Other games take this to a more in-depth level.
and have found it to lead to reliable. and keep track of what people are saying about you. then make sure you’re there to answer any questions they have. and they are also a fantastic resource for gaining feedback on app ideas. you’ll need to find where your users are. mockups. Simplenote relies on this to a large degree. but also offers a channel to enter into a conversation with them. Set up a Twitter and Facebook account for your app. Be honest and sincere. For now we’re happy with solid organic growth. 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. and betas. It will give you the opportunity to help people out who are having problems. organic growth: We experimented with hiring a marketing company for a short period of time. As well as this.111 The Perfect Promotion Mix allowing the software to let their online “friends” know that they are using the app – is very important. Use social media to your advantage. The vast majority of people hear about Simplenote from a friend. An existing base of engaged customers are very likely to purchase your work in the future. co-worker or blogger. and join in the discussion. and thank people when they say something positive about your app. Bjango couldn’t have put this better: In terms of connecting with users and building a following. If that’s on Twitter. building up a gradual following on these different services will be an invaluable asset when you come to launch your next killer application. but the results were very difficult to track precisely. .
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!
For Headquarters specifically. Don’t be afraid to put your name and other information next to your product. Select Start Studios shared their advice on offering support for iPhone applications: It’s very important that you make it easy for users to get in touch with you. but it’s well worth it.115 The Perfect Promotion Mix Top Notch Support and Regular Updates The process of selling your application doesn’t end as soon as the user clicks “Buy App”. talking to people on Twitter and even taking phone calls. don’t make it hard on them. you’ll build up a greater understanding about which areas of your application are in need of refinement. We’ve mentioned the importance of your App Store rating before. we divide support requests throughout the entire team. As a result. As you invest time talking to users about your application and helping them with problems. It’s almost guaranteed that people will try to get in touch with you for whatever reason. or that users want to be able to do something extra that your app isn’t capable of. You built it. we offer support in many ways: we have a support forum and we’re always reachable by direct e-mail and Twitter. be proud of it. We may spend a considerable amount of time per week on support but it’s definitely not time wasted. and the level of post-sales support you give can have a big impact on this. 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. It may consume a little more of your time handling these things personally. We all take turns answering e-mails.
com. This is an area where simplicity helps us. How Long Does Support Take? Based on the results of our survey. Another website that many iPhone developers use is Get Satisfaction35. Our beloved customer support tool is Assistly. Finding the right tool for offering support is important. They’re our window into all support emails and tweets. the application needs to be bringing in enough revenue to account for that time! 34 35 http://assistly.com. but it might not be the medium that suits you best.34 which is a new service. The important thing to remember is that if you’re going to invest 2-3 hours per day supporting your users. Since there’s less that people are able to do with our app.116 The Perfect Promotion Mix The developers of Simplenote understand this completely: Customer support is extremely important to us. developers spend two hours each day on support. Email is great. http://getsatisfaction. We do our best to be transparent and responsive whenever there’s a problem. on average. We’ll eventually launch a self-service portal that is powered by them as well. there’s less that can go wrong. Of course. and can save a great deal of time down the road. ideas and dreams. Simplenote synchronizes people’s thoughts. and when something does go wrong we can afford the time to address it properly. That’s a huge responsibility. a community driven support site that allows people to easily ask questions and submit requests. this varies depending upon the size of your application and the range of functionality on offer. .
or add requested features. and it was very well received. but any opportunity to talk to a group of people about your new creation is a great one. you need to make sure your app is submitted and approved well ahead of schedule in order to best capitalize on the exposure. 36 http://carsonified. users like to see your application updated on a fairly regular basis. A few years ago. This isn’t a requirement – many successful apps are updated very infrequently after any initial bugs are ironed out. I asked them how this process worked.117 The Perfect Promotion Mix In addition to offering support. but steady quality updates throughout the year keeps the app fresh and your customers happy. 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. Sophie Teutschler feels that this is a necessity: Keeping the updates coming is the best thing you can do.com. 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. Updates could be used to fix any pending issues. There’s no need to update your app every month. 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 doesn’t need to be a huge event. I watched the developers of Broadersheet pitch to a panel at a Carsonified36 “Future of Web Apps” event.
so don’t invest too much energy into this route! Chart 1 P. This can also be a good place to meet likeminded developers and share advice. This is followed by an ongoing relationship with bloggers. 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.118 The Perfect Promotion Mix It needn’t necessarily be a conference for hundreds of people. 110 . 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. Many cities have local iPhone/OS X user and developer groups. The least effective method was a “well written press release”.
websites. Hopefully you’ll feel well equipped to get the process started. and step confidently onto the path towards becoming an iPhone app entrepreneur! . podcasts. The rest of this chapter will walk you through a huge spectrum of useful resources.USEFUL RESOURCES Now that you’ve received insight from so many successful iPhone developers. it’s time to get started! But. where’s the best place to begin? We’d be remiss not to give you a helping hand into the (often confusing) world of iPhone development. books and conferences that offer a helping hand with getting started in the App Store.
to . or to any practical applications.ly/ipgsguide Not just getting started with programming for the iPhone. Getting Started Guides http://bit. Their Getting Started guides are particularly good. Introduction to Objective-C http://bit. but it’s worth reiterating its importance again here. but also getting started with Audio. and this is the best place to go for official information. Data Management. and also to how it works. From the basics of learning Objective-C and Cocoa.121 Useful Resources Apple’s Documentation Apple makes plenty of their own documentation available. files and multimedia support. including windows. Books If reading books is the best way for you to enjoy learning. but it has just about everything you need to know in plenty of detail. Human Interface Guidelines http://bit. drawing. iPhone Application Programming Guide http://bit.ly/ipprogguide Quite simply an overview of everything to do with iPhone programming. this selection covers pretty much everything you will need to know about iPhone development. Security and much more.ly/iphig We’ve mentioned this document throughout the book. This is Apple’s style guide – both to your application interface.ly/objcintro Apple’s hefty introduction to Objective-C doesn’t specifically refer to iPhone development. event handling. Read it twice.
the next step would be to learn how to utilize the Cocoa Frameworks in your development of both Mac OS X and iPhone applications. especially in Objective-C or at least in a C-related language. I think. as certain aspects are standardized and the screen is much smaller than any desktop or laptop.122 Useful Resources interface design and 3D Games Development.to/objcdummies The majority of iPhone apps are written in Objective-C so you need to know the language before getting started. offers a good range.to/exploresdk Dave Mark and Jeff LaMarche take you through the beginning stages of iPhone development. Learn Cocoa on the Mac http://amzn. Neil Goldstein takes you through an introduction to the language relating both to iPhone and Mac OS X development. and some Cocoa experience would be beneficial. and what you should let Cocoa do for you. Objective-C for Dummies http://amzn. and it also comes with a CD of source code as well. enabling you to go on to create high quality apps for the iPhone. Beginning iPhone 3 Development: Exploring the iPhone SDK http://amzn.to/cocoaguide After successfully coming to grips with Objective-C. but this selection. No programming experience is required before you pick up this book. iPhone User Interface Design Projects http://amzn. There are many other books out there. This book gives you a good grounding into what you should code yourself.to/ipprojects Designing for the iPhone is probably unlike anything else you have previously designed for. . Previous programming experience is necessary. you will get a good grounding in designing and programming for the iPhone interface.
iPhone Advanced Projects http://amzn. The next step on from learning the iPhone basics would be to start creating 3D apps. Core Location and many other technologies. Introducing you to all the main iPhone programming concepts and libraries using 14 complete apps. 3D for iPhone Apps with Blender and SIO2 http://amzn. how to present data intensive apps. including how best to use the limited screen real estate.to/advancedprojects For those developers looking to take their iPhone apps to the next level. Taking you through topics such as optimizing performance and streamlining your interface.to/iphone3d Programming apps for the iPhone is one thing. and what to consider when migrating desktop applications down to the iPhone. The book gives you a good introduction to creating 3D games that utilize the iPhone’s touchscreen capabilities and is a great next step up from programming basic apps. this book is for you. The book also gives you a brief introduction to getting your app approved by Apple. iPhone for Programmers – An App Driven Approach http://amzn. animation and interacting with the environment. Map Kit. though this requires some previous programming knowledge to understand the example source code given. but I’m sure there are a few wannabe iPhone game developers out there. the book also introduces different writers to . Contributions come from a number of different app developers giving you a broad range of opinions and plenty of good advice. you are introduced to the concepts of graphics programming using OpenGL along with collision detection. but this book takes an entirely different approach to programming. Using Blender as the 3D content creator.123 Useful Resources This book introduces you to designing for the iPhone.to/appapproach Deitel and Deitel write some of the best programming books around. such as the “How to Program” series. you’ll learn how to integrate Cocoa Touch.
apple. Featuring the full lectures along with PDFs of the lecture slides and all the supporting code. UI and web applications over the 13 hour course of video tutorials.com/iphone/ Once you have registered for the free iPhone Developer Program you get nine introductory videos to help you to get started with iPhone app development. Apple’s Getting Started Tutorials http://developer. comes this 13 video series. and slightly newer than the above tutorials. integrating SQLite and Push Notifications. Topics include game development. streaming audio and debugging errors in your code. Learn about networking with other iPhones. integrating iPhone features and interface design is covered in these detailed videos. iPhone Application Development http://bit. covering all the tools and technologies needed to develop killer iPhone applications. Stanford University’s iPhone Application Development is updated for the Winter 2010 semester.com/iphone/ Also from Apple through the Developer Program.apple. and others come at a price. iPhone Tech Talk World Tour http://developer.ly/iphonestanford One of the most popular series on iTunes U. Screencasts There are a lot of great screencasts out there for learning iPhone development – some are free. Before you pay for a screencast.124 Useful Resources talk about a variety of advanced topics. Everything from introducing the iPhone SDK to fundamentals of Cocoa. be sure to check that it’s for a recent version of the Xcode and the iPhone/IOS SDK. it’s almost as good as being there… just without the pressure of assignments! .
drawing and networking. RWTH Aachen in Germany also uploaded their course to iTunes U. video. these screencasts come highly recommended for learning about specific aspects of iPhone development.125 Useful Resources Highly recommended to all those with some knowledge of a C language and Object Oriented Programming concepts. Lecture slides are available as PDFs although you cannot get hold of any of the source code or assignments.com/ Priced at around $10 each. Gain some insight into what goes into producing an app and the different technologies utilized. with five episodes priced at $5 each.ly/rwthiphone Similar to Stanford’s course above. A few of these include: Mobile Orchard http://mobileorchard. PeepCode Screencasts http://peepcode. iPhone Application Programming http://bit.com/screencasts/v-bdiphone/writing-your-first-iphoneapplication The series entitled “Writing Your First iPhone Application” is a particularly good introduction.com/category/podcast/ An iPhone Developer podcast talking to some of the people behind the most popular apps in the store. the course is fully in English and covers everything from interface building and debugging to audio. Pragmatic Screencasts http://pragprog. 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. . Don’t worry if you can’t speak German.
cross-platform development with tools like Appcelerator and Phone Gap. Topics include native development with the iPhone.ly/onmac Conversations and tutorials on development for Mac and iPhone software. Android.net/ Obviously I have to recommend our own website as a brilliant place to find out about new applications. with leading authors and experts on topics such as Snow Leopard.com/ Mobiletuts+ is all about quality tutorials for mobile developers – all mobile developers. Whether you want to create the next killer app or become a pioneer of the mobile frontier. and techniques for building mobile accessible web sites with HTML 5. Blogs and Websites Mobiletuts+ http://mobile.AppStorm http://iphone. the iPhone SDK. and Cocoa.ly/mdnshow Useful Resources A “one stop shop” show for Mac and iPhone developers.appstorm. the Mac Developer Network show takes on a magazine style format and is very easy to listen to. and connect with a huge base of iPhone users! . Windows and Blackberry platforms. but a useful resource. OnMacDevelopment http://bit. Not too technical. gain inspiration from other developers.126 The MDN Show http://bit. they’ve got you covered! iPhone.tutsplus.
com/ A community blog where users post links to items they feel will be of interest to other developers. iPhone Flow http://www. Requires a paid Developer Program account to access (but you’ll need one of these anyway to distribute your iPhone application in the App Store). Ray Wenderlich http://www.com/ Useful Resources Updated about once a week. ManiacDev http://maniacdev.com/ Some great iPhone tutorials and tips from developer Ray Wenderlich.iphoneflow.raywenderlich. A vital read for those wishing to develop in Cocoa2D. where you will meet lots of like-minded developers. .com/devforums/ Apple’s official forums.apple.127 iCodeBlog http://icodeblog.com/ One of the best blogs out there regularly updated with quality tutorials and resources. Hopefully one of the following will fit the bill: Apple Developer Forums http://developer. iCodeBlog provides some very useful and detailed tutorials. You can pick up some neat tips here. Forums If you want to exchange ideas with other developers and seek help. there’s no replacement for an active forum filled with helpful members.
37 or you can just Google for local developers and set something going yourself! 37 http://appleusergroupresources. and the legal side of coding apps.000 members.com/iphone-developer-forum/ Get helpful advice from other developers and browse the informative blog for the latest iPhone and iPad news while you’re there. If a few beers are involved as well. game development.iphonedevsdk.com/forum/ Useful Resources Get help with coding the iPhone SDK. Apple have their own list of user groups. technical iPhone development.iphonedevforums. web apps and also advice on app promotion. and topics centering around the App Store. iPhone World http://forum. iPhone Dev SDK http://www. .000 members.tipb. and chat with other developers.128 iPhone Dev Forums http://www. Covering everything from basic development to tutorials.iphoneworld. TiPb iPhone Developer Forum http://forum. These conferences are a great opportunity to hear some inspiring speakers.com/?page_id=394. Conferences There’s no replacement to sitting down and talking about your latest iPhone development project with other developers.com/forum/ A massive forum with over 22. and general Apple and iPhone news.ca/ A large forum with over 20. It’s also worth looking out for meet-ups in your local area. so much the better.
iPhone Developer Summit http://www. California. and the schedule was split between a day of Best Practices/Game Development. but the four-day event features some of the top speakers in the industry.voicesthatmatter.iphonedevcamp. If you can’t make it though.org The iOSDevCamp (formerly known as the iPhoneDevCamp) is a not-forprofit organization that gathers regularly to develop applications for iPhone and iPod touch using both the native SDK and web standards. USA.360idev. Voices That Matter http://www. the iPhone Developer Summit is usually held in Santa Clara.com/iphone2010/ This two-day conference occurred in April 2010.iphonedevsummit.apple. as in recent years the conference has sold out quickly.com/wwdc/ Apple’s main conference seems to take on an increasingly mobile-centric approach every year. and it’s worth checking to see whether it will be repeated. You have to pay the registration fee in advance (approximately $499).com/ Open to anyone with an interest in iPhone development. It features some excellent technical sessions on both iPhone and Mac OS X development.com/ Useful Resources Occurring on a regular basis. Apple Worldwide Developers Conference http://developer. iOSDevCamp http://www. The cost was $495 for early bird registration. Register early. The event . 360iDev is the first and (supposedly) still the best iPhone developer conference in the world.129 360iDev http://www. and one of Core Competencies/Interface Development. don’t worry – Apple usually publishes their videos of conference sessions online soon after the event.
This is the best way to connect your application up to Google’s services. Oolong Engine http://code.com/p/gdata-objectivec-client/ Google provides some brilliant Objective-C APIs for its services like Maps.facebook.130 Useful Resources format is “unconference” or Barcamp-style.google.x but should work with current releases.google. YouTube and Analytics among others. these links may prove to be useful: Google API Client Library http://code. and aims to assist those of you embarking on your own native app development.php?tab=iphone Integrate Facebook Connect into your app to connect with your Facebook friends. APIs and Frameworks This section is for the technically adept.com/connect. 3D game creation becomes a whole lot simpler and it ties in with the Bullet Physics SDK. If you’re looking for a few interesting pointers to get started with different open source libraries.com/lukhnos/objectiveflickr ObjectiveFlickr is an API for connecting to a Flickr account through your iPhone or Mac app. the Oolong Engine provides a great starting point. ObjectiveFlickr http://github. Facebook Connect http://developers. featuring content from the participants themselves. . Development Libraries. Docs.com/p/oolongengine/ For those of you wanting to create games for the iPhone. It was built for iPhone 2. This code provides a reliable method of authentication for Facebook services.
It’s the code that powers the Facebook iPhone app and many other apps in the App Store. tutorials. frameworks and helpful APIs available for native app development. Three20 http://three20. Blackberry and iPhone. It’s based on the Ruby programming language and can compile apps for Android. Before giving up on a particular piece of functionality.info/ Three20 is an iPhone development library.132 Rhodes http://rhomobile. be sure to search around to see whether someone else has come up with a solution already! . 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. Obviously this only scratches the surface of the different resources.
The following section highlights some concise wisdom from developers. and I thought the same would be true when asking developers for their advice.ONE PIECE OF ADVICE We’ve already determined that constraint is a wonderful thing. .
There are so many business models you can consider. So solve that. There are a lot of guys just like you. I’m fairly new at this myself.135 Words of Wisdom One Piece of Advice I asked developers to offer a single piece of advice for aspiring iPhone entrepreneurs. Heed their wise words carefully! 37signals Scratch your own itch. FInd people that can help achieve your goals. Devin Ross – Attic I would suggest that if you want to make a profit as a developer (and who doesn’t). Coding the application is only half the battle. others will too. This is fairly conventional wisdom and it works for us. The iPhone landscape is always changing so you have to work quickly and adapt. Figuring out what customers want and creating awareness for the application is something that needs a lot of consideration. you have to look at the application development as a business. You need to invest in developing a product. . But make something people want. and persevere. Chances are that if you’re having a problem. listen to their feedback. Simplenote My advice isn’t earth-shattering.
and it fills a badly needed niche.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. Secondly – listen to your customers. If you make a quality product. It takes hard work and more than a few attempts before you’ll probably have a moderate hit. 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. I almost threw in the towel right there. don’t churn out a load of crappy apps – aspire for one great one! Dustin MacDonald – Wallet Don’t forget to innovate. Feedback is so important when developing apps. find a great partner. I can say that . When I looked at the sales figures for Barista’s first day on the App Store. Just don’t give up! Glasshouse Apps Firstly. don’t expect a gold rush. Your app should always do something exceptionally new and exciting if you want to stand out. keep at it. Let your customers have a way of reaching you directly so they can let you know what they like and dislike and what they want to you to improve. I’ve been really fortunate to have had excellent partnerships on my apps.e. i. the App Store will notice. But 18 months later. Thirdly – as corny as it might sound – don’t give up. That being said.
instead of reading about or planning. Release something that starts to get you going. Take a simple idea.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. all dancing. building and shipping an app. . There is no experience better than actually going through the entire process of designing. Dave Verwer – Shiny Development Get out there and try it! Don’t worry about making your first app an all singing. 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. you’ll want to be able to turn out new releases quickly. that’s great. it doesn’t have to be super unique or even big. Sophia Teutschler – Sophiestication Software Make apps! It’s that simple. I always learned the most by doing. Once your app is out. Try and find at least 5 or 10 people that you can count on to help you out on short notice. and it will teach you an incredible amount about how to approach the process in the future. mind blowing application. Get something simple coded and get it on the store. get it going and go for it. You can work on your masterpiece as your second application! Lee Mallabone – Broadersheet Be selective when choosing your beta testers. Just try to release something quality. If you can find more that are willing to beta test.
you’re still making more money. Like anything else. especially for those looking for mass adoption. you might lose 10-20% of the potential customers. you need to market and promote that app. despite what you may read from a minority of developers. You need to produce a quality application with wide appeal. For simple utility apps.138 Garrett Murray – Ego One Piece of Advice If I can only offer once piece. Oh. with a huge amount of apps between $1-$3. and offer some general advice on this one: Price for value. I think the answer is no: If you’re properly marketing your app on social networks and such. I think there’s a trend of undervaluing apps right now. you need to work hard to make a decent income. because customer feedback can be extremely frustrating.99 instead of $2. and you need to make regular updates to it. this may make sense. Look at it this way: If you price your app at $4. is not a get-rich-quick system. Don’t go in expecting to be rich overnight. but by charging 40% more. app developers are really doing themselves a disservice.99. If one browses the highest revenue apps in the app store. . it would be that the App Store. will you lose 40% of your customers? In most cases. 99% of people selling apps aren’t making untold sums of money. they will find a variety of apps sold at prices between $10-$50. and grow a thick skin. But for a great majority of apps that apply to niche markets and business users. David Kaneda – Sencha I’ll step down from my web app soapbox for a moment.
139 One Piece of Advice There are other reasons.” Especially as more and more developers begin to look at iPad and Universal apps. they should simply be asking themselves. . But there’s no reason why iOS apps can’t be every bit as deep as desktop apps. like being associated with quality by being “premium. When developing iOS apps. Many of the early apps in the store bore out that prejudice. it’s tempting to think of it as a platform for small apps. don’t skimp on the kind of process and diligence that you would commit to the development of desktop apps. “What would I pay for this?” Dave Howell – Avatron Because the iPhone is small. too.
I’m sure you have all manner of questions running around your head. . concerns and doubts about embarking on this process.THE iPHONE DEVELOPER SURVEY It often feels as though there’s a mystical shroud hovering over developers operating in the App Store. we aim to answer all your questions. We’ve surveyed over 80 individual iPhone developers and companies to gather a comprehensive set of statistics that shed light on the App Store. Like we did. 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 (9%) Less than 100 (19%) 250 – 500 (22%) 100 – 250 (46%) Chart 1 P.000+ (4%) 500 – 1.142 The iPhone Developer Survey Part 1 – Business and Company How many hours does it generally take to develop an iPhone application? 1. 132 .
132 25 30 35 40 45 Are you aiming to grow your company’s staff. 133 . or are you happy with your current size? We're happy as we are! (50%) We're looking to grow (50%) Chart 1 P.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.
000 $1 – $500 Just my own time 0 5 10 Chart 2 P.000 – $10.144 The iPhone Developer Survey In your experience.000 $1. what is the financial cost of developing an iPhone app? $50.000 $10.000 $5.000+ $25. 133 15 20 25 What is your total monthly revenue from sales of iPhone apps in USD? .000 – $25.000 – $50.000 – $5.000 $500 – $1.
134 Could you make a living solely from your iPhone app’s revenue? Yes (19%) Not yet (81%) Chart 2 P.145 The iPhone Developer Survey How has iPhone development affected your personal income or company revenue? Reduced our income (4%) Made no difference (20%) Increased income significantly (34%) Increased income slightly (42%) Chart 1 P. 134 .
146 The iPhone Developer Survey What’s the average age of those working at your company? Is iPhone development your full-time job? Yes (26%) No – I do something else as well (74%) Chart 1 P. 135 How many hours do you spend on support each day? .
136 Do you enjoy iPhone development more than your previous job? The same! (23%) No (3%) Yes (74%) Chart 2 P.147 I work in a shared office (13%) The iPhone Developer Survey Do you work from home. in a private office. or in a shared office? I work in a private office (13%) I work from home (74%) Chart 1 P. 136 .
on average. 137 30 40 50 60 How many days. does it take for your iPhone app to be approved by Apple? .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.
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 . 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.
150 The iPhone Developer Survey Have you ever been featured in an iPhone TV advertisement? Yes! (3%) No.b. For this question. Chart 2 P. 139 . 139 No. Developers could have reached the Top 100 in their local App Store – not necessarily the US App Store. not yet! (76%) n. we didn’t specify the Top 100 in any particular country. not yet (97%) Have you ever reached Apple’s Top 100 ranking? Yes (24%) Chart 1 P.
151 The iPhone Developer Survey What’s the highest you’ve ranked? Have you considered developing for the iPad? No (16%) Yes – I've released an iPad app (29%) Yes – I'm working on one now (55%) Chart 1 P. 140 .
141 .152 The iPhone Developer Survey Do you develop for any of the following other mobile platforms? Other Nokia Windows Mobile Blackberry Android 0 5 10 Chart 1 P. 141 15 20 25 30 Do you offer both a free and paid-for version of your application? Yes (25%) No (75%) Chart 2 P.
142 30 40 50 60 Are you happy with the current state of the App Store? I'm fairly unhappy with the App Store (6%) Everything's great (45%) It has a few problems (49%) .153 The iPhone Developer Survey Will you be using Apple’s “iAd” system? Probably not I'm thinking about it Definitely 0 10 20 Chart 1 P.
reviews and ratings can often be negative and do not reflect the general opinion. Here are a few of the best pieces of insight we received: Reviews and star ratings are irrelevant. and usually when you remove an app. . Apps get rejected every day for what appear to be arbitrary reasons. and what they struggle with on a regular basis. Usually people give a star when they remove an app. what they like. I’d give developers better analytics about App Store listing views. In the end. what they search for. it’s because you don’t like it. Apple has done a very good job at making the entire development process work. it would be to make the approval process a lot more open and transparent. If I could change one thing. It is a little bit scary. I would also formalize an appeal process for rejected apps.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. spending time and money on developing an app that might never get approved. People tend to share their opinion more often when they are frustrated rather than when they are happy. It’s a black box at the moment. and how they find your app. I have to say something as a person who never even owned a Mac until three months before my first app was approved. I’d also make it easier for people who are looking at an app in iTunes to click buy (on their computer) and have it start downloading immediately over the air to their phone.
and even in the support forums. if sometimes tedious. but all in all. and it’s much harder to make it. get it approved. . This is great – it’s awesome to see large companies turn their focus on such a fun market. The downside is that the smaller development shops lose all of that “free press” that was attributed to the Top 100 sections because they’re crowded with large developers.155 The iPhone Developer Survey First. and Apple walks you through every step. it is a beautiful system for developers of any level. in the documentation. there are legitimate complaints. For example. Ubisoft and all of the other big titles are re-releasing their titles on the App Store to great fanfare and profit. Visual Studio). Give them the spotlight that they deserve. and everything but advertising is done for you – Apple sells your app worldwide. and sends you checks! Yes. There is help available in Xcode. if an app is rejected. The process you have to take is straightforward. on the Apple Developer website. The whole reason why so many developers flocked to this platform is because it was a indie developer friendly eco-system. The App Store is very unforgiving to indie developers. there are plenty of great applications out there that are simply ignored because they’re too small to market. the development software is extremely well done. I should be able to contact the reviewer for more information than that included in the rejection letter. and too small to be noticed. This isn’t so much the case now. And it is free (take that. You make an app. My one proposed feature would be to include an additional subdivision in the top lists – highlight the small one to five people development shops. The review process needs to be more transparent and accessible. EA.
. it would be rejected again for the same bug. and also by pushing resubmissions to the front of the queue. 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.156 The iPhone Developer Survey I had a problem with my first iPad app where one bug seemed to occur over and over. and every time I fixed it and resubmitted it.
the devices they use them on.000 iPhone users over the course of one week in July 2010. These participants were all readers of AppStorm. We’re offering the data for you here. it’s vital to understand just how users experience your software. so feel free to use it as you see fit! .THE iPHONE USER SURVEY As a developer. targeting. and what aspects of your application to spend the most time on. This could relate to how they find apps. Hopefully this information will help you make decisions about promotion. we’ve collected responses from over 1. how many they buy. how often they update them. or all manner of other information! In this final part of the survey.
55 – 64 (1%) 45 – 54 (4%) 35 – 44 (14%)
The iPhone User Survey
What was the age of our participants?
Under 18 (12%)
18 – 24 (33%)
25 – 34 (36%)
Chart 1 P. 146
Which iPhone/iPod touch do you own?
iPod Touch (3rd Generation) iPod Touch (2nd Generation) iPod Touch (1st Generation) iPhone 4 iPhone 3GS iPhone 3G iPhone
0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350
Chart P. 147 n.b. If participants owned more than one of these 1devices, we asked them to select the one that
they used most on a day-to-day basis.
The iPhone User Survey
How many apps do you have on your iPhone?
(Those apps you have actually installed on your iPhone right now.)
How often do you download app updates?
Less than once per week (11%)
Once per week (16%)
Every day (34%)
A few times per week (39%)
Chart 1 P. 148
The iPhone User Survey
Do you use any of the following mobile platforms?
Chart 2 P. 148
Do you have any web apps on your iPhone home screen?
What's a web app? (4%) Yes – More than one (33%)
Yes – Just one (21%)
Chart 1 P. 149
162 The iPhone User Survey How much do you usually spend on iPhone applications each week? $50+ $20 – $50 $10 – $20 $5 – $10 $0 – $5 0 100 200 300 400 Chart 1 P. 150 I'd rather pay for an ad-free app (37%) . 150 500 600 700 800 900 How do you feel about iPhone advertising? I'd rather have a free app with advertising (27%) I don't mind (36%) Chart 2 P.
163 The iPhone User Survey What’s the most you have ever paid for an iPhone app? If one is available. do you download a free version of an app before purchasing it? I usually just purchase it (4%) Sometimes (44%) Always (52%) Chart 1 P. 151 .
152 .164 Recommendations from Websites Recommendations from Friends The iPhone User Survey How often do you use the following to find a new iPhone app? Searching the App Store Browsing by Category Apple's Top Lists 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 Never Not So Often Quite Often Very Often Chart 1 P. 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. It won’t be easy. Hopefully this book has provided you with knowledge you didn’t have before. and I’ll see you in the App Store! David Appleyard AppStorm Editor . understand the App Store guidelines. Best of luck. don’t be afraid to seek help from others. don’t forget to enjoy the process from start to finish. but the satisfaction of watching your application shoot to fame will be worth every minute. and never stop promoting your app with an unrelenting passion. keep it simple. always put design first. Most of all. and equipped you to take your first few steps in the right direction. Spend time crafting your idea.
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 . iPhone users.com atticapp.com youknowwhodesign.com ego-app.com shinydevelopment.com selectstartstudios.broadersheet.com 37signals.com iconfactory.CREDITS This book couldn’t have come together without the help and contribution of many different developers.com acrylicapps.com iphone.com avatron.com sencha.com bjango.com sophiestication.com cocoia.com simplenoteapp. Tariq Zaid & Adam McNamara David Heinemeier Hansson & Jason Fried Devin Ross – Attic Sebastiaan de With Garrett Murray Dustin MacDonald Gedeon Maheux – The Iconfactory Lee Mallabone – Broadersheet Sophia Teutschler – Sophiestication Software David Kaneda – Sencha Dave Howell – Avatron glasshouseapps. and writers.
38 http://iphone. 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.appstorm.Survey Participants Thank you so much to the 80 iPhone developers and 1. Many of the fantastic links and resources collected by Mark are reproduced in the “Resources” chapter of this book. 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/. .
blogging. loves playing with the latest gadgets from Cupertino.net. He’s also the editor of Phototuts+. and is never without his trusty iPhone. and online business. David lives in Manchester. iPhone. or follow him on Twitter: @davidappleyard.000 daily readers.ABOUT THE AUTHOR David Appleyard is part of the Envato team and manager of the AppStorm network. V413HA V . and manages a few other popular blogs including Design Shack. a series of sites relating to Mac. and Web apps with over 60. Check out David’s personal website at http://davidappleyard. with his girlfriend Jen. UK. He built his first website over ten years ago and is passionate about the Internet.
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