Great analysis by Sebastiaan de With on how they redesigned Halide for the iPhone X (the app indeed turned out to be one of the best iPhone X app updates we've seen so far):
Design for ergonomics. On regular iPhones, you have to do much less as a designer to optimize ergonomics. The iPhone X requires you to think about comfortable button placement and usability. Ergonomics is more than just tapping, but also swiping and other gestures. Lay out your UI so all actions are accessible and as comfortably usable as possible.
It’s a whole new device: Design for it. Everyone can stretch an app out to a larger screen, but just like the iPad, a fresh approach is not only welcomed but helps you stand out in the App Store. This is a great time to validate your current design. Are your approaches still valid? Is there a better solution possible? You might come to some valuable insights that you can apply to all your designs, not just the ones for the shiny new device.
If you're a developer working on iPhone X UI updates, don't miss Sebastiaan's map visualization of the device's display.
You may recall that when Super Mario Run was announced in 2016, customers could request notification of its release, which was a first at the time on the App Store. Now, all developers can do something similar by offering their apps for pre-order. According to iTunes Connect’s Resources and Help documentation:
Now you can make your new apps available for pre-order on all Apple platforms. Customers can see your product page and order your app before it's released for download. Once your app is released, customers will be notified and your app will automatically download to their device. For paid apps, customers will be charged before download.
The process for submitting an app for pre-order seems relatively straight-forward:
To make your new app available for pre-order:
- From the homepage, click My Apps, select the app, and select Pricing and Availability in the left column. You'll see the Pre-Orders section if your app has never been published on the App Store.
Select Make available for pre-order, choose a date to release your app for download, then click Save in the upper-right corner. The release date must be at least two days in the future, but no more than 90 days in the future.
Submit your app for review.
Once your app is approved and you're ready to make it available for pre-order, return to Pricing and Availability, confirm the date your app will be released for download, and click Release as Pre-Order in the upper-right corner.
In addition to offering apps for pre-orders, Apple will report pre-orders as part of the Sales and Trends section of iTunes Connect. Apple has also included an FAQ with further information about the pre-order process.
It’s been about a year since Apple tested the pre-release notification waters with Super Mario Run and it’s nice to see that it’s been opened up to all developers who can use it to get customers excited about their apps ahead of launch.
Update: According to a new webpage published by Apple that summarizes the pre-order program, it also applies to macOS and tvOS apps.
In addition, Apple has added a 'Pre-Orders' section to the Games tab of the App Store, which currently includes five games. No similar section has been added to the Mac App Store or Apple TV App Store.
Today, Apple introduced a new search ad product called Search Ads Basic. The existing search ad service, which was introduced a little over a year ago, has been renamed Search Ads Advanced.
Search Ads Basic offers fewer of the advanced options and tracking available in Search Ads Advanced and spending is capped at $5,000 per month, but developers only pay for installations generated by their search ads. In contrast, developers pay every time someone taps on an ad under the Search Ads Advanced program, whether or not the tap results in a purchase. To get started, all that is needed is to pick the app to be advertised, set a spending budget, and choose a maximum per-user installation cost, for which Apple provides a suggested maximum based on historical App Store data.
Apple is positioning Search Ads Basic as an alternative for developers who don’t have the time to fiddle with the more sophisticated options available with Search Ads Advanced. There is no doubt the process is simple. I set up a campaign for my app Blink in less than a minute.
With a $5,000 per month spending limit the new program also seems tailored to smaller developers who may be uncomfortable paying for taps or managing the more complex options of a Search Ads Advanced campaign. Although larger development shops are not precluded from using Basic, the spending limit should discourage larger companies with big advertising budgets.
Currently, Search Ads Basic is limited to US App Store, but it will be rolling out to the stores in additional countries later. As it did last year, Apple is sending email messages to developers offering a $100 credit to try Search Ads.
Developer Simon Støvring has put together SBSAnimoji, an iPhone X app that uses Apple's private AvatarKit framework to let you record Animoji videos that aren't limited to 10-second clips or the Messages app. You can download the project from GitHub and install it with Xcode on your iPhone X.
It's fascinating to consider how Animoji could expand beyond iMessage through AvatarKit, or how the same tech that powers the framework could be used for the creation of different system avatars not necessarily modeled after popular emoji. Also: wouldn't it be interesting to have AvatarKit as a proper API for third-party developers?
Earlier today, Apple released iOS 11.2 beta 2 to developers. The release notes accompanying the beta include the following announcement:
Soon, you’ll be able to offer new customers a discounted introductory price for your auto-renewable subscriptions on the App Store. iOS 11.2 introduces new classes … and new properties … to provide details on the introductory pricing and billing period you’ve selected for your auto-renewable subscriptions. You’ll be able to configure introductory pricing on your in-app purchase page in iTunes Connect soon.
Auto-renewing subscriptions were made available to all app developers with iOS 10 and already include the option to offer a free trial. With iOS 11.2 though, developers will have added flexibility to help them attract customers.
Apple has notified third-party iOS developers via its News and Updates website that they can download Xcode 9.0.1 and submit iPhone X apps for review in advance of the new iPhone's release on November 3, 2017.
Download Xcode 9.0.1, test your apps in the iPhone X simulator, and capture screenshots. Then submit your updated apps and metadata in iTunes Connect today.
Earlier in the day, Apple told Reuters that customer demand for the iPhone X has been ‘off the charts’ since pre-orders began at 12:01 AM Pacific on October 27th.
With the goal of encouraging a dialogue among developers, Supertop, the maker of Castro, has published a series of suggested best practices for implementing drag and drop on iOS. As Oisin Prendiville explains:
Ideally, experiences that users have in one app should stand to benefit them in others. As a community of developers and designers we should be looking to agree upon shared best practices to provide a consistent user experience. There’s an opportunity here to help users understand and embrace drag and drop as a powerful way to interact with touch devices, just as they have on the desktop for years.
The post considers five implementation aspects of drag and drop complete with animated GIF examples of ‘dos and don’ts.’
As we’ve discussed on AppStories, Castro’s execution of drag and drop is one of the best we’ve seen since iOS 11’s introduction. That makes the app an excellent jumping off point to frame the conversation among the broader iOS development community. I hope others take Supertop up on its offer to discuss these topics further because users could stand to benefit a lot from a set of canonical approaches to drag and drop.
Ahead of the upcoming public releases of iOS 11 and watchOS 4 on September 19th and macOS High Sierra on September 25th, Apple has told developers via its developer website that App Store submissions are open.
From Apple's developer news site:
You can now submit your apps that take advantage of exciting new features available in the next release of macOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Build your apps using Xcode 9 GM seed, test with the latest releases of macOS High Sierra, iOS 11, watchOS 4, tvOS 11, and submit them for review.
Apple has added scores of new features to its operating systems that developers can take advantage of to improve existing apps and create all-new ones that were impossible before the new APIs were introduced. Perhaps most anticipated are the additions to iOS that enable brand new features to the iPad like the dock, drag and drop, Split View enhancements, and much more.
You can also follow all of our Apple event coverage through our September 12 hub, or subscribe to the dedicated September 12 RSS feed.
In a series of tweets yesterday, one of the developers behind Codea announced that a new version of the iPad coding app had been approved for release, and this update would enable code sharing for the first time.
Previously we covered the revised App Store guidelines that now permit downloading and executing code inside of apps, but we haven't seen those changes put into practice before now. With version 2.3.7 of Codea you can now import projects from both .zip files and .codea bundles, making it easy to share code with others.
Although Codea is the first prominent adopter of features made possible by Apple's newly-granted permissions, it certainly won't be the last. Other notable programming apps and IDEs like Pythonista and Continuous can follow suit as they so choose. These policy changes, combined with Apple's own entrance into iOS coding via Swift Playgrounds, all of the sudden make iPad a much more attractive programming environment than ever before.
One excellent example of the power of coding on iOS is a game called Starsceptre. Starsceptre is a retro-style arcade shooter that was coded entirely on an iPad using Codea. Creator Richard Morgan wrote the game primarily during his daily commute on a train. “My work commute is basically the only spare time I have, so I needed a way to make games in that time – on the move, on my iPad." The game's trailer is embedded below.
With the less restrictive new App Store policies on coding, and the upcoming power user iPad features in iOS 11, hopefully we will see a lot more examples of apps coded entirely on iPad going forward.