Apple press release:
Apple today announced a new initiative to support engineering talent and accelerate growth in India’s iOS developer community.
The company will establish a Design and Development Accelerator in Bengaluru, the home of India’s startup scene. Tens of thousands of developers in India make apps for iOS, the world’s most powerful mobile operating system and the foundation for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. This initiative will provide additional, specialized support for them.
This new Design and Development Accelerator (which will open in early 2017) is similar to the announcement from January this year where Apple committed to opening an iOS App Development Center in Naples, Italy.
“India is home to one of the most vibrant and entrepreneurial iOS development communities in the world,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “With the opening of this new facility in Bengaluru, we’re giving developers access to tools which will help them create innovative apps for customers around the world.”
Today's India-specific press release comes after another Apple press release yesterday which announced that GarageBand added Chinese instruments and sounds. Tim Cook was in China, but arrived in India last night for his first official visit to India as Apple CEO. Cook is expected to visit Gurgaon, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai, as well as meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Apple appears to be shortening review times for new app and update submissions to the App Store. According to data collected by independent app review tracking website AppReviewTimes and as reported by Bloomberg today, review times have approached 2 days as opposed to the 7-10 days it took Apple to review apps in the past.
During the weekend, Apple announced that, starting June 1, all new watchOS app submissions will have to be native – written with the watchOS 2 SDK.
This, of course, doesn't enforce existing watchOS 1.0 apps (built with the first SDK) to be updated for watchOS 2, so it'll be interesting to see how Apple will handle developers who launched a watchOS app last year, saw a muted response, and then ignored watchOS 2 due to a lack of incentives.
In my experience, the performance of watchOS 2 apps has only been marginally better than old watchOS 1.0 ones, and I haven't heard of developers rushing to support watchOS 2 as a must-rewrite-everything effort. If I had to speculate, perhaps new iPhone apps for iOS 10 or later could only support watchOS 3 – but, again, that wouldn't solve the issue for watchOS 1.0 apps currently on the App Store. Quite a curious conundrum.
There is no doubt that San Francisco is an expensive place to visit for a week, which puts WWDC out of reach financially for some developers. Fortunately, there are a lot of other Mac and iOS conferences held throughout the year that cost less and provide an opportunity to learn and meet fellow developers. To highlight their events, a group of Fall conference organizers have gotten together to offer a discount on admission to their events:
For the next 24 hours the following iOS / Mac community conferences are offering a 10% discount on the price of admission:
Use the coupon code “COMMUNITY” before April 20th at 9am Pacific Time time to receive the discount.
I attended the inaugural Úll and Release Notes conferences and highly recommend both.
The cost of admission to any of these conferences is already less than a ticket to WWDC, but if you want to save an extra 10%, act fast because the offer is good for only 24 hours.
Alongside yesterday's WWDC 2016 announcement, Apple also added a new webpage providing tips and insights from other developers.
The App Store makes it simple for users around the world to discover, download and enjoy your apps. Grow your business with resources designed to help you create great apps and reach more users.
The featured developers and topics are Seriously (focusing on building a brand), Grailr (bringing CARROT Weather to Apple Watch), Evernote (localising its app for Japan), and Smule (growing a thriving community of loyal users).
The Instapaper team, writing on the company blog:
Since the launch of our new parser in January, we’ve gotten lots of inquiries from developers about using our parser for third-party applications. With the new Instaparser API, app developers can use our parsing tools to provide users with a lightning-fast browsing experience optimized for mobile devices. Data scientists can use the tools to normalize input for text analysis. And hackers can do, well, whatever hackers might like to do with lightning-fast access to clean, standardized web page data.
The addition of an API makes sense to me – now third-party developers (think Twitter clients or news readers) can access the same powerful parser that Instapaper uses (which is excellent). I'm curious to see which iOS apps will implement it in the near future.
There's also a free tier available here.
Safari is joining the growing collection of apps and developer tools that Apple wants to open up for public testing. Earlier today, Apple unveiled Safari Technology Preview, a separate version of Safari for OS X that will allow users and developers to test upcoming WebKit features.
Safari Technology Preview (which, unlike the regular Safari, has a purple icon) is a standalone app that will be updated every two weeks from the Mac App Store.
The browser will be fully compatible with iCloud: contrary to WebKit Nightly previews (the existing way of testing upcoming WebKit changes), Safari Technology Preview supports iCloud Tabs, Reading List, bookmarks, and every other iCloud feature of the stable version of Safari. Integration with iCloud should make it easier for users and developers to test Safari Technology Preview as their daily browser as they won't lose access to their iCloud account and personal data.
Here's Apple's Ricky Mondello:
Safari Technology Preview is a standalone application that can be used side-by-side with Safari or other web browsers, making it easy to compare behaviors between them. Besides having the latest web features and bug fixes from WebKit, Safari Technology Preview includes the latest improvements to Web Inspector, which you can use to develop and debug your websites. Updates for Safari Technology Preview will be available every two weeks through the Updates pane of the Mac App Store.
Safari Technology Preview requires a Mac running OS X 10.11.4 and it's available for download today here.
Club MacStories members know that 'attention' is a topic near and dear to my heart that I've been writing about for the past month or so in my MacStories Weekly column, Ongoing Development. One aspect of attention that I haven't covered yet is media attention. Today, in An Indie's Guide to the Press, Curtis Herbert, maker of Slopes, a GPS tracking app for skiers and snowboarders, shares his experience and tips for dealing the press as an indie developer.
Hundreds of "I have an app..." emails hit the inboxes of the Apple-centric press every day. You're not only competing for attention with other indies that have just as much passion about their app, though, you're competing with the day-to-day news the tech sites have to write about. Readers trust these sites to filter out as much noise as possible. That is their job.
The most important thing I've realized about working with the press is that it's all about finding the story. You have to answer the question why will their readers care?
Curtis' advice is applicable to anyone pitching an app, not just indies. Every publication has a sense of who their readers are and what interests them. If you want to stand a chance of being heard through the noise, you need to understand that too.
As a developer myself who now writes at MacStories, two things have really struck me – the volume of pitches that MacStories receives on a daily basis, and the poor quality of many of them. Developers should heed Curtis' advice. Doing so isn't a guaranty that your app will be covered, but you will stand out from the crowd, which is the attention that gets your foot in the door in a way that many developers never achieve.
Last night emails were sent to develpers by the App Store team announcing a new iTunes Connect feature – weekly App Analytics email reports. This is a welcome addition to iTunes Connect. I check App Analytics occassionally, especially after a significant app release or marketing push, but getting analytics data on a regular schedule is a nice way to keep on top of analytics more regularly.
You can opt into emailed reports with the link provided in the email you receive from the App Store team, or go to iTunes Connect and opt in under the Users and Rolls section.