Posts tagged with "app store"

The Developer Debrief on WWDC 2020

Weeks removed from Apple wrapping up its first all-virtual WWDC, many of us are still digesting what the conference’s announcements mean for the future of our favorite products.

Federico, John, and I have all shared various takeaways from the conference, and I’m sure we’ll have a lot more to report as we continue using the betas this summer and review Apple’s OS updates this fall. But our perspective is limited to our profession as journalists, so we also wanted to hear from the people this conference was really built for: developers.

WWDC has grown into an exciting conference for Apple users all around the globe, but its core identity is still ultimately an event for app developers. As a result, I wanted to speak with a variety of developers to get their reactions to the conference. These included:

My sincere thanks to these developers for taking the time to share their thoughts, and for their years of valuable contributions toward making Apple’s app ecosystem as strong and robust as it is today.

Interview questions for each developer ranged from the things that most excited them at the conference to surprises and disappointments, their read on how in-touch Apple is with the developer community, the current evolution of software development, and each developer was also generous enough to share a sneak peek at new technologies they’re working to implement in their apps.

Read more


Apple’s App Review Board Confirms Rejection of Basecamp’s Hey Email Service

Hey is a new approach to email that was launched earlier this week by Basecamp. The service, which comes with its own hey.com email address, has a number of unique features for managing messages with an emphasis on screening tools. Hey does not, however, allow you to use its client app with other email services like Gmail, which is important to keep in mind.

Equally important to this story as it unfolded over the past several days is the fact that Hey does not offer an In-App Purchase for its service. The service is available from Basecamp only. As a result, if you download Hey’s iOS app, but have not yet purchased a license from Basecamp, the app doesn’t do anything except request your Hey login credentials.

The service launched on Monday with access provided via the web and native Windows, Android, Linus, Mac, and iOS apps. At the same time, Hey was being launched, an update to its iOS app, which fixed bugs, was rejected by Apple. The timing is unclear, but TechCrunch reports that Hey’s Mac app was rejected too.

Read more


Apple Releases Guidance on Apps Related to COVID-19 and Explains How to Expedite Their Review

Today, on its developer site, Apple announced how its App Review team is evaluating apps related to COVID-19 to ensure that users can depend on such apps. Apple says:

The App Store should always be a safe and trusted place for users to download apps. Now more than ever that commitment takes on special significance as the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities around the world are depending on apps to be credible news sources — helping users understand the latest health innovations, find out where they can get help if needed or provide assistance to their neighbors.

To help fulfill these expectations, we’re evaluating apps critically to ensure data sources are reputable and that developers presenting these apps are from recognized entities such as government organizations, health-focused NGOs, companies deeply credentialed in health issues, and medical or educational institutions. Only developers from one of these recognized entities should submit an app related to COVID-19. Entertainment or game apps with COVID-19 as their theme will not be allowed.

Apple also encouraged developers of apps related to COVID-19 to select the ‘Time-Sensitive Event’ option when submitting an expedited review request, so their apps will be prioritized by App Review.

Overnight, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that retail stores outside Greater China will be closed until March 27th and shared details on the steps Apple is taking to protect the physical health of its employees and retail customers. With this latest announcement, Apple is tackling the pernicious effects of misinformation by pledging to keep it out if the App Store, so customers know they can rely on the apps they download.


Shortcuts Corner: Opening YouTube Watch Later, Subscribing to RSS Feeds with NetNewsWire, and Uploading Images via FTP

For this week’s installment of the Shortcuts Corner, I’ve prepared quite an assortment of miscellaneous shortcuts to share with MacStories readers and Club MacStories members (because I’ve been spending all my time at home due to the state of emergency in Italy, I’ve been reorganizing my entire Shortcuts library, among other things). Following this week’s launch of NetNewsWire for iPhone and iPad, I’ve adapted an existing shortcut to let you subscribe to feeds using the popular RSS client. I’ve also created shortcuts to reopen the watch later queue in the YouTube app, copy app links from the App Store, and copy a webpage selection from Safari as rich text.

Furthermore, exclusively for Club MacStories members, I’ve created an advanced shortcut to upload images to a remote FTP server and copy their public URLs to the clipboard. Let’s dig in.

Read more


macOS Will Soon Support Universal Apps, Enabling a Single Purchase for Mac, iPhone, and iPad Apps

As first spotted by Steve Troughton-Smith, release notes for the latest beta build of Xcode include a major development: Mac apps can soon be included as universal purchases with their iPhone and iPad companions.

Universal apps currently enable you to make a single purchase to gain access to both iPhone and iPad versions of an app. Nearly all cross-platform developers default to this option, though some still sell separate iPhone and iPad apps. macOS has never been included as part of universal apps though, even after Mac Catalyst launched last year. That sounds like it’s going to change when the latest OS updates – iOS and iPadOS 13.4 and macOS 10.15.4 – arrive this spring.

With universal app support, developers will be able to charge users a single time to grant access to Mac, iPhone, and iPad versions of their app. As Apple’s release notes state, this option in Xcode will be on by default for apps built with Catalyst, but it will also be available to non-Catalyst apps that are offered on the Mac App Store. While this change won’t be the best option for all developers, especially considering the different business dynamics of Mac and iOS apps, it makes sense for iPad developers who bring their apps to the Mac with Catalyst and don’t want to deal with the complication of a separate purchase system.


Apple Details 2019 App Store Stats and Recaps Other Services

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

In a press release today, Apple shared App Store revenue numbers for the 2019 holiday season, which set an all-time record for single day sales on New Year’s Day:

Since the App Store launched in 2008, developers have earned over $155 billion, with a quarter of those earnings coming from the past year alone. As a measure of the excitement going into 2020, App Store customers spent a record $1.42 billion between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, a 16 percent increase over last year, and $386 million on New Year’s Day 2020 alone, a 20 percent increase over last year and a new single-day record.

In addition to apps, Apple recapped its other services:

  • Apple Music, which added a time-synced lyrics feature that more than 50% of iOS 13 users have tried
  • TV+, which is available in over 100 countries
  • The TV app, which is available on Apple TV hardware, third-party TVs, and features over 30 channels
  • Apple Arcade
  • Apple News, which the company says has over 100 million monthly active users
  • Podcasts
  • Apple Card
  • Apple Pay
  • iCloud

More than 10 years later, the growth of the App Store is a story that is often overlooked. It’s remarkable to think that holiday sales are still setting records this long after the introduction of the App Store and after the pace of new device sales has slowed.


Linea Sketch Adopting Subscription Model in 2020

The Iconfactory has announced that Linea Sketch, its popular iPad sketching app, will be moving from paid up front to a subscription business model. This transition will take place in early 2020 with the release of Linea 3.0.

We tried hard to avoid a subscription, but the costs to maintain the app are much higher than the income from new sales. This is obviously not a sustainable situation! We have two options:

  1. Let the app die a slow, painful, and unsupported death
  2. Find a source of recurring revenue

They mention that the recent 2.7 update to Linea took over 200 hours of work, and most of that time was simply spent adapting the app to work well with iOS 13’s new system dark mode. The cost of simply maintaining the app to function well with system updates is high, and The Iconfactory wants to do much more than just maintain the app. For example, they preview the roster of changes coming to Linea 3.0, which will include a universal app across iPad and iPhone, and the following:

  • Time-lapse to capture your creation as it evolves
  • Templates with adjustable intensity
  • Custom backgrounds with adjustable paper color and texture
  • App themes and beautiful new app icons for your home screen
  • QuickToggle: two-handed drawing is all we’re going to say :-)

Linea’s subscription will cost $.99/month or $9.99/year, and include both the iPad and iPhone versions of Linea, since the two will become a universal app. On a related note, the Mac companion app Linea Link is now available as a free download.

Many users hate seeing the apps they use switch to subscriptions, but sometimes developers truly don’t have much of a choice. As was mentioned above, development costs for Linea are currently much higher than sales revenue, which is clearly an unsustainable situation. Either The Iconfactory finds a sustainable option for Linea, or the app will eventually disappear. And because of Apple’s unwillingness to allow upgrade pricing on the App Store, subscriptions are one of the only viable options.

Permalink

Apple Announces ‘Best of 2019’ Lists for Apps, Books, and Podcasts

Apple today published its picks for the best media in 2019 across its various platforms and services. These include selections for best app on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV, as well as top picks in books and podcasts. Alongside these editorial selections, Apple has published top charts for the year across the App Store, Apple Podcasts, and Apple Books. Separately, Apple announced the first-ever Apple Music Awards, which we’ve covered here.

Apple’s pick for the iPhone’s App of the Year is Spectre Camera, the long-exposure camera app from Lux Optics, which we reviewed in February when it was released. Lux Optics is also the maker of Halide, one of our favorite iOS camera apps.

The winner of iPhone Game of the Year is Sky: Children of the Light from thatgamecompany. From the makers of the popular console, and later iOS, game Journey, Sky is a social adventure game that shares a similar aesthetic with Journey.

On the iPad, Apple picked Flow from Moleskine as App of the Year, which we reviewed here, and Hyper Light Drifter by Abylight as Game of the Year, while on the Mac, the company selected Affinity Publisher as the App of the Year and GRIS as the Game of the Year. The Apple TV’s App and Game of the Year, respectively, are The Explorers and Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap. This year, Apple also added a new category: Apple Arcade Game of the Year, which it awarded to the excellent Sayonara Wild Hearts by Simogo, which you can learn more about here.

Like last year, Apple’s App Store editorial team highlighted two App Store trends too. The 2019 App Trend of the Year was ‘Storytelling Simplified,’ with Apple featuring apps focused on telling stories through a wide range of media, spotlighting Anchor, Canva, Unfold, Steller, Spark Camera, Over, and Wattpad. The Game Trend of the Year was ‘Blockbusters Reimagined,’ which highlighted well-known game franchises reimagined for mobile like Mario Kart Tour, Dr. Mario World, Minecraft Earth, Pokémon Masters, Assassin’s Creed Rebellion, Gears POP!, The Elder Scrolls: Blades, Alien: Blackout, and Call of Duty: Mobile.

In addition to apps, Apple also made editorial selections for other media categories, including best podcasts and books of the year. Rather than singling out individual overall winners, Apple highlighted a variety of its favorites, which can be found in the Browse section of Apple’s Podcasts app and the Book Store section of the Books app.


Apple to Hold Awards Ceremony Celebrating Its Favorite Apps and Games on December 2nd

Apple unexpectedly announced today that it will hold a ceremony in New York City on Monday, December 2nd to honor its favorite apps and games. No other details are currently available, except those in the invitation that was received by some members of the tech press including, as reported by MacRumors, Lance Ulanoff:

Apple’s annual Design Awards at WWDC have served the purpose of recognizing outstanding apps in the past, but an event like this at the end of the year that wraps up the best of 2019 makes a lot of sense and gives the company an opportunity to shine a light on the best offerings from third-party developers in a way that goes beyond the year-end recap lists it has done in the past.