Posts tagged with "developers"

iTunes Connect Shutting Down December 22 to December 29

In an email sent to iBooks publishers last night, Apple confirmed that iTunes Connect will shut down for a week from December 22 through December 29. While the email has been sent to registered iBooks Store publishers, Apple's annual iTunes Connect holiday shutdown will also affect iOS and OS X developers, who during that time won't be able to access iTunes Connect.

From the email:

From Monday, December 22, through Monday, December 29, 2014, iTunes Connect, iTunes Producer, and iTunes Connect for iOS will be unavailable.

During this time, you will not be able to access iTunes Connect, submit new books or book updates, or make price changes. You can schedule a book release or price changes to take place between December 22 and December 29. Just make sure that your changes are scheduled, submitted, and approved by December 18, to ensure your book remains available during this busy period.

For users, this means that no new apps, updates, or price changes will be available during the week. Developers who wish to release new apps and updates or price changes to apps or In-App Purchases will have to do so before the iTunes Connect shutdown.

Currently, Apple has only shared the 2014 iTunes Connect holiday shutdown dates with iBooks publishers; a developer update should be posted on the company's Developer News page soon.

Longtime Indies on the iOS App Store

Last week, I asked on Twitter for examples of individual developers who have been making and maintaining iOS apps for the past five years.

I was thinking about the App Store market for indie developers, and I was particularly interested in knowing for how long a single person can keep working on the same app. Is it because the same app makes for a good business even after several years? Is this commitment related to respecting an existing user base or scratching your own itch? Is it a combination of all of the above?

Note that I asked for individual developers and apps that are still maintained – not small teams of multiple people, and not apps that were released five years ago and never updated. I'm fully aware of the fact that no developer is an island and that, in the indie iOS development community, developers tend to help each other out and collaborate. And in no way I asked that to imply that teams of two or more developers “have it easier” or that it's “better” to be a single person who makes apps. I think it's pretty clear that I have the utmost respect for larger companies and smaller indie shops that create apps for the iOS App Store. I was simply curious: how many individual developers make an app and stick to it? Who are they?

I received a lot of responses, which were extremely interesting and contained a lot of great examples. So after coming up with a way to collect all those tweets, I created a workflow that uses the Twitter oEmbed API in Editorial to compile those links in a list of embedded tweets you can find below. If you're reading this through an RSS reader, you may want to switch to the website for the correct visualization.

This is obviously a small sample based on an informal poll of the people who follow me on Twitter, and it's not indicative of the financial viability of the App Store market for indies. I don't know how these apps are doing or if it's worth updating them from a financial perspective. But still, if you ever wanted to know what are some examples of individual developers who created apps 5/4 years ago and still maintain them today, you can find some tweets below.

Read more

Sketch to App Store

Created by Cluster Labs, this file for Sketch 3 sounds like a great idea for iOS developers (via Jeremy Olson):

This Sketch file is designed so you make a few changes to the setup page, and over 40 other artboards will be updated with your custom info. Within minutes, you'll be able to export 45 screenshot images.

I constantly hear that generating screenshots for multiple resolutions and languages for iTunes Connect is a time-consuming process. Sketch to App Store seems to automate several tasks involved with generating App Store screenshots such as device templates, text, resolutions, and, of course, exported files.


Different Share Sheets

Alvaro Serrano makes a great point about share sheets and extensions in apps updated for iOS 8:

With Reeder’s iOS 8 update, this means Reeder users now have two different ways to send an article to Instapaper: they can use the app’s built-in Instapaper integration, or they can use the Instapaper Extension via the Share Sheet. This looks redundant, but there’s a catch.

In order to use the Instapaper Extension, the Instapaper app must be installed on the device. But what happens if you don’t want to have Instapaper on that particular device? What if, for instance, you browse through your RSS feeds on your iPhone but only read articles on your iPad? In order to do that using Extensions, you’d need to have Instapaper installed on both devices. Using Reeder’s built-in Instapaper integration, however, you’d only need to have it installed on the iPad, which is where you’re actually going to use it.

He uses the latest Reeder as an example, but the same is also true for Unread, Dispatch, and other apps that used to have custom sharing options before iOS 8.

For developers, there are several trade-offs involved with keeping old sharing options and implementing Apple's new action and share extensions. Do you want to handle user credentials for web services like Instapaper and Pocket, bundling a custom sharing menu that you have to manage? That would also give you more control over the entire sharing feature – for instance, users may be able to activate the service anywhere and not just from a share sheet. As an example, think of how Tweetbot could show read-later options before the iOS 8 update.

On the other hand, extensions free you, as a developer, from the burden of asking users to enter their credentials, designing a login flow, implementing error checking, or creating a UI for each supported option. You just need to support the system share sheet and pray that it'll work. And, obviously, iOS 8 extensions will give you all the benefits of a unified system: they're secure, they have an interface designed by their own developer, and they work consistently with other apps.

For now, I don't think pre-iOS 8 share sheets with hard-coded options will be going away. But as the extension system matures and developers start releasing new apps for iOS 8, I believe that the need for custom sharing options will naturally decrease, letting native extensions take over and benefiting users and developers.

Expectations for WatchKit

David Smith has been reading through Apple's WatchKit documentation, and he believes that full apps for the Apple Watch will likely arrive at WWDC next year:

Next June at WWDC I then expect we will receive the tools necessary to build out more fully capable applications. Just like we have seen with iOS I’d guess this will be a progressive expansion of capability with each successive year. Just as early iPhone OS apps were severely constrained to save battery life, we’ll probably see strict limits on what types of apps we can build initially. We are essentially resetting the battery life equation with this new device. So no background processing or multitasking for a while (with the possible exception of music/audio playback).

According to recent speculation, the Apple Watch may be released in the Spring.

Back in 2010, a lot of developers struggled to create iPad apps between January and April without an actual iPad, so limiting WatchKit to notifications and glanceable information is probably the best strategy for now.



Created by Vlambeer (the indie studio behind Apple Design Award winner Ridiculous Fishing, Luftrausers, and other games), distribute() is a new tool to help game developers keep track of a press list. From the website:

distribute() is modelled to save you valuable development hours you'd otherwise have to spend on distributing builds and maintaining press lists. Simply send out a distribute() link for your game to your press contacts, and distribute() will organise all required information into a neatly organised list the system manages and maintains for you. Furthermore, distribute() will simplify numerous public data sources into a simple Reach statistic to help you decide how to prioritise your press strategy for your new release.

There are several interesting ideas in distribute(), but this one struck me as a genius addition:

Verified press contacts help you avoid fake requests from video content creators or people pretending to be from larger websites or YouTube personalities. Verified press contacts are manually vetted and constantly updated to reflect the ever-changing games press landscape. Additionally, distribute() can be set to handle requests from verified accounts automatically, so that you can be sure esteemed members from the press can get access to your game as soon as you flip the switch.

Properly maintaining a press list is hard, especially if you have to focus on other aspects of launching a game on the App Store or other platforms. If you're a game developer, sign up for the distribute() alpha here. Vlambeer also made presskit(), a free tool to create press pages.


Implementing iOS 8 Document Pickers

The new document picker and provider functionality in iOS 8 is exciting technology because it expands on the possibilities of what we are capable of doing with our devices. We are already seeing a flood of great apps integrating document pickers and extensions from developers like Dropbox, Panic, and Readdle. I recently had the need for the new UIDocumentPicker functionality so I decided to dive in and see what it takes to implement the feature. As it turns out, getting a basic implementation is extremely easy and only requires a few lines of code. Of course, this is well documented by Apple and seasoned developers will have no problems implementing a picker but for us noobs it helps to see the process laid out – so here is a brief walkthrough.

Read more

Apple Asks Developers to Start Submitting OS X Yosemite Apps

Apple today notified registered developers that Mac App Store submissions are now open for OS X Yosemite apps. Apple repeated its previous statement that Yosemite will be made available to customers "later this fall", but it may arrive as early as next week. By comparison, Apple notified developers to submit their OS X Mavericks apps last year on October 15, with Mavericks becoming available to customers a week later on October 22.

Add powerful new functionality throughout OS X Yosemite with app extensions, explore the innovative new Swift programming language, and take advantage of advances in game technologies, Safari, iCloud, and more. To prepare your apps for the Mac App Store, download and build with the OS X Yosemite GM candidate and Xcode 6.1 GM seed from the Mac Dev Center. With these latest releases, Swift is now final and you can submit your Mac apps written with Swift to the Mac App Store.

One Week After iOS 8, Developers Comment on App Bundles

With the release of iOS 8 last week, Apple launched app bundles, a new way for users to buy up to 10 apps from the same developer with a single purchase at a discounted price.

Officially introduced at WWDC 2014 as a feature of the new iTunes Connect, bundles mark a significant change for Apple's App Store since its opening in 2008: for the first time, developers can market their apps through discounts that can be configured in iTunes Connect rather than organize independent promotions based on price drops; from a user's perspective, app bundles are reminiscent of Apple's Complete My Album feature of the iTunes Store.

Shortly after the debut of iOS 8, Apple created a special App Store page showcasing popular bundles for apps, games, and apps for kids. Bundles are easy to spot on the App Store: like folders on iOS, a bundle's icon is a container of apps inside the bundle, showing a preview of the first four apps included in the bundle; a special badge indicates the number of apps in the bundle; and, only paid apps from the same developer can be part of a bundle – you won't be able to find games from EA and Ubisoft or apps from Readdle and Runtastic in the same bundle. Since last week, Apple has been heavily promoting productivity bundles from Readdle and Pixite, games from Square Enix and Disney, and apps by Toca Boca and Diptic.

Following the launch of bundles, I've been talking to several developers who collected some of their apps in bundles, gauging their reactions to this new feature of the iOS 8 App Store and their thoughts on Apple's promotional push so far.

Read more