Posts tagged with "developers"

App Store Freshness

David Smith has a great analysis of the “freshness” of apps on the App Store – data about when apps were last updated, for both Top Charts and the entire App Store.

For a very long time I’ve talked about my concerns about the size and health of the iOS App Store catalog. The App Store currently sits around 1,200,000 apps. For years the depth and diversity of the App Store has been one of the platforms strongest differentiators. However, as it grows the challenge becomes ensuring that it doesn’t begin to strain under its own size.

What has always annoyed me in my discussions about how to improve the App Store was that I didn’t have actual data on the composition of the App Store. Since it wasn’t (to my knowledge) available I started working out ways to get at it myself.

The numbers about the size of the App Store in relation to updates and the release of iOS 7 last year are surprising to me, as I was expecting a much worse scenario. The charts in David's post clearly show a developer interest in updating for iOS 7 – make sure to check out the charts.

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A Candid Look at Unread’s First Year

Unread for iPhone has earned a total of $32K in App Store sales. Unread for iPad has earned $10K. After subtracting 40 percent in self-employment taxes and $350/month for health care premiums (times 12 months), the actual take-home pay from the combined sales of both apps is: $21,000, or $1,750/month.

Considering the enormous amount of effort I have put into these apps over the past year, that’s a depressing figure. I try not to think about the salary I could earn if I worked for another company, with my skills and qualifications. It’s also a solid piece of evidence that shows that paid-up-front app sales are not a sustainable way to make money on the App Store.

The story of Unread is not one of failure, we were big fans of the app and it has made money. But for the creator of Unread, Jared Sinclair, it has not been a success either. The income that Unread has generated just isn't sustainable on a long-term basis. The story about Unread's first year is fascinating thanks to Sinclair's transparency and I'd highly recommend you read it, particularly if you are developer considering to go 'indie' on the App Store.

Sinclair's story clearly hit a nerve because since his post earlier today, there have been a number of others who have written about the situation with their own perspectives. For example, Benjamin Mayo makes some perhaps obvious points that I think deserve reinforcement:

Betting on apps of incredibly large scale means you bear proportionately more risk, with the possibility of no return whatsoever. If you want to maximise your profitability, make small apps that do a few things well. The amount of effort you put into an app has very little to do with how much of the market will buy it. This means that making big apps exposes you to substantially more risk, which is not fairly counterbalanced by significantly higher earnings potential.

At this point, you may be despairing at the reality of the situation and Cezar Carvalho Pereira offers some commentary on that, in a sense giving a reality check on what it means to go indie on the App Store:

So, while I believe the mythical indie is far from dead, I think the path to going indie is a lot less glamorous than what most have come to expect. A beautiful idea followed by a great execution doesn’t necessarily guarantee success.

If you want even more, Stephen Hackett, Tyler Hall, Ben Brooks, and Brent Simmons have all also posted stories on a similar theme today.

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AppbotX Launches in an Effort to Help Developers Better Communicate with Users

Launched earlier today, AppbotX is a new open source support and communications solution for developers of iOS apps and soon for apps on other platforms including Android, Windows Phone and Unity. AppbotX is designed as a library that can be built into any app, allowing developers to easily provide inline notifications, smart feedback forms, FAQs, version updates and review prompts. It is the natural evolution of the Appbot service which launched in 2012 and enables developers to keep track of user reviews of their apps.

We’ve delivered over 15 million reviews for more than 34,000 apps with Appbot. We understand the pain points app developers have, complaints and bad reviews lead to fewer sales and poor rankings for apps. Now we're launching AppbotX to solve communication problems mobile developers have with customers.

AppbotX looks to be a huge time saver for developers who want to implement better support mechanisms within their apps but don't want to spend the time and expense of developing it themselves. I should caveat that statement by noting I'm not a developer, but even as a user the functions that AppbotX enables seem great. In particular I really like the idea of inline notifications that would allow a developer to send notifications to their users if there is a critical bug, server downtime or other important news. Because it runs on AppbotX's servers, those notifications will still get to the user even if the developer's servers are down.

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“App: The Human Story” Documentary Wants to Capture the Story of Apps and App Creators

Launched by Story & Pixel on Kickstarter today, “App: The Human Story” is a documentary based on a theme that's extremely dear to me and, I believe, to MacStories' readers: the story of apps and their cultural impact over the past seven years.

By highlighting what “it means to be human in a world of technology”, the documentary doesn't simply want to focus on the evolution of the App Store and iOS devices – rather, Story & Pixel (who are Jake Schumacher and Jedidiah Hurt, with Adam Lisagor as executive producer) aim to document the human effort, the stories, and the voice of people who craft software. And not just any computer software, but the cultural and economic phenomenon of the decade – the app.

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xScope 4.0

Version 4.0 of The Iconfactory's tool for measuring, inspecting, and testing layouts and graphics on OS X has been released today, adding powerful new features for designers and developers.

We've covered xScope on MacStories before, and the new release adds an Overlay feature to check alignments and mockups over a browser (useful when working on responsive designs) and a Text palette to “search, decipher, and reformat text and character glyphs”. xScope works with Retina displays and many of the app's existing functionalities have been redesigned and updated to have faster performance, more flexibility (just take a look here), and Yosemite support.

I'm no designer, but I've used xScope before and I know it's a solid app; I've downloaded the trial from The Iconfactory's website, and the changes in this version look fantastic. For a limited time, you can get xScope 4.0 at $24.99 (50% off) on the Mac App Store.

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OS X Yosemite Will Feature Option to Record Real-Time Footage of iOS Apps

Apple will provide an easier and integrated way to create screencasts for iOS apps with the upcoming iOS 8 and Yosemite software updates, using a Lightning cable and QuickTime Player on OS X. As reported by Benjamin Mayo at 9to5Mac, the feature is primarily meant to let developers create App Previews for the improved App Store launching with iOS 8, but it’ll also come in handy for users willing to capture videos of iOS apps for screencasts, reviews, and other video content.

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Tokens 1.2

From the Tokens blog:

With Tokens 1.2 we’re introducing Campaigns. As well as the convenient URLs we’ve always had for sharing and tracking individual promo codes, you can now add multiple codes to a campaign and use a single URL to share them. When a user clicks redeem on a campaign page we vend them an individual token, prioritising ones that are closer to their expiration date, and use cookies to prevent refreshing from using up more codes.

Originally launched in 2012, Tokens lets developers generate promo codes from iTunes Connect easily, without logging into the website using a browser. The app can keep track of codes that have been redeemed by users, and, personally, I'm always happy to come across Tokens links as they instantly open iTunes' redeem page and I don't have to copy & paste anything.

The new Campaigns feature sounds interesting and easier for developers to keep track of, and I like the idea of Passbook support for WWDC. With the update, Tokens is also getting a new pricing model and different limitations in the trial version. You can read the details here.

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The State of the Apple Developer Ecosystem

There’s no denying that WWDC 2013 was one of the most exciting in recent years - however, for all the new technologies Apple announced the thing that struck me most - the thing that excited me most as someone building things for the Apple ecosystem - was a single phrase in many of the sessions: “Also available on the Mac”.

A thoughtful article by Nik Fletcher, who takes a look at the state of developer technologies for iOS and OS X. Better developer tools typically equal less time spent working around OS limitations or outdated web interfaces, resulting in leaner development workflows, more apps, and faster updates – which is what everybody wants. Nik offers some great suggestions.

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