Federico Viticci

8749 posts on MacStories since April 2009

Federico is the founder and editor-in-chief of MacStories, where he writes about Apple with a focus on apps, developers, and mobile software. He can also be found on his three podcasts – Connected, Canvas, and Remaster.


Apple’s App Store Cleanup Now Underway

Sarah Perez, writing for TechCrunch, on Apple's previously announced App Store cleanup:

Earlier this year, Apple promised it would clean up its iOS App Store by removing outdated, abandoned apps, including those that no longer meet current guidelines or don’t function as intended. That great App Store purge now appears to be underway, according to new data from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower. The company found that app removals increased by 238 percent in October 2016, with mobile games seeing the most deletions.


That seems to have changed in October, when 47,300 apps were removed from the App Store, Sensor Tower discovered.

And while it’s true that Apple does delete apps on a regular basis, this figure is around 3.4 times higher than the monthly average of 14,000 for the months of January through September. (See chart below).

I long wondered if Apple would provide alternative ways for developers to preserve their old games for posterity. The answer, sadly, is much simpler: if you don't update your app, it'll be removed. I'm afraid we're going to lose some historic App Store titles because of this, but I also see why it's good for the average customer and the right thing to do at this point.


Super Mario Run Launching on December 15

With a press release issued this morning, Nintendo has announced that Super Mario Run – the company's first Mario game for iOS devices revealed at Apple's September event – will be released in one month, on December 15.

From the press release:

The first-ever mobile game featuring the most iconic video game hero of all time goes on sale for iPhone and iPad on Dec. 15 in United States time zones. Super Mario Run can be downloaded from the App Store at no cost, and players can try elements of the game’s three modes for free.

“The wait is almost over for a Super Mario game that can be played on mobile devices,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Developed under the direction of Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto,Super Mario Run brings a new take on the series’ beloved action-platforming gameplay to iPhone and iPad for the first time.”

Super Mario Run will be available in 151 countries next month, and it'll be a free download from the App Store. A single $9.99 In-App Purchase will unlock all three game modes, which we previously detailed in our overview of Super Mario Run.

Super Mario Run will be modeled after the tradition of "endless runner" games for iOS that can be controlled with one hand by tapping on the screen to make Mario jump.

Update: You can watch a new gameplay video of Super Mario Run below.

Dissecting the Most Profitable iMessage Apps

Ariel Michaeli, writing on the appFigures blog:

When it comes to making money, users seem to be fine with paid apps. Unlike the iOS App Store, on the iMessage App Store only 7% of top grossing apps are free(mium). That’s just 13 apps!!!

The remaining 93% of apps (187, to be precise) cost between $0.99 and $4.99, with the majority (61%) having a price of $0.99 and 36% having a price of $1.99. The remaining 4 apps split between the other price tiers.

Monetizing upfront is great for developers because it’s simple and easy to implement, but it’s also a sign of a store that isn’t mature. If the iMessage App Store matures similarly to the iOS App Store—which is likely considering it’s the same audience and device—we’ll see a strong shift towards freemium. For now, developers should make the most out of it.

Speaking from personal experience, the iMessage App Store's top charts are a constant source of discovery for new paid sticker packs from indie artists. These first numbers from September seem to be holding up so far.


Secrets: A Beautifully Simple Password Manager, Now Free on the App Store [Sponsor]

Secrets is a simple, secure password manager for Mac and iOS. With version 2.0 released this week, the app is adopting a freemium model so you can try it for free on all your devices.

Secrets lets you securely store confidential information such as passwords and bank details. The app leverages industry-standard encryption algorithms to provide secure storage, plus macOS and iOS native features to automatically fill logins on webpages. Thanks to an action extension for iOS, you'll be able to log into your favorite sites directly from Safari. The app can also generate one-time passwords for services that support two-factor authentication.

At the same time, Secrets has a clean and beautiful user interface that is easy to use and functional. Logins are displayed with rich icons, which are also synced across all your devices with iCloud.

With version 2.0, Secrets is now based on a freemium model: the app is free to download and use with up to 10 items; with a $9.99 In-App Purchase ($19.99 on macOS), you'll unlock unlimited items and iCloud sync.

Secrets 2.0 is available on the App Store for iOS and macOS.

Our thanks to Secrets for sponsoring MacStories this week.

Canvas, Episode 23: Workflow – Variables and Built-in Actions

This week Fraser and Federico continue the Workflow series with a look at how to use Variables and Workflow's built-in actions.

On the second episode of Canvas' Workflow series, we cover one of the key features of the app, variables, which are key to building workflows. In the second half of the show, we talk about Workflow's built-in actions and some of its system integrations.

If you haven't listened to the first episode of the series yet, you'll want to go back and start from there.

  1. Workflow - The Basics
  2. Workflow - Variables and Built-in Actions

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Connected, Episode 116: Undead Zombie Echo Fish

Myke is back to talk about dongles. Stephen has opinions about the Mac Pro. Federico is trying a new notes app.

More than you ever wanted to know about dongles and terrifying Alexa experiments on this week's Connected. Also, we talk about Bear and the business of indie apps towards the end of the show. You can listen here.

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How Slack Is Using Emoji

After introducing emoji reactions last year, our own Slack team saw a dip in the total number of messages sent. With hundreds of members communicating across a couple thousand channels, it was a welcome change. Before emoji reactions, messages begot more messages: replies, questions, acknowledgment. In a word, noise.

Fascinating look at how Slack is using emoji inside the company. It's sort of amazing how versatile emoji can be when used in work communications with a bit of creativity. I'm also going to implement this idea for our own Slack:

Speaking of 18F, check out their blog post about using emoji reactions for knowledge management. They tag all “evergreen” content found in channels with :evergreen_tree:, and use a search query like the one mentioned above to find new messages worth codifying in their handbooks. At Slack, we do something similar, where anyone can tag a message with :notebook: to indicate it might be worth adding to the company’s internal documentation.