I run an app development studio in the UK. We make money – and some profit – by developing apps to sell on the iOS App Store for ourselves and our clients. We’ve launched some very successful paid apps, but we keep running into a fundamental problem – apps are just too cheap. In this article, I’ll look at how this problem has come to be, and how it could be fixed.
I received so many nice compliments about my app demo slides at Úll 2013 that I’ve decided to make my Keynote slide template available. I’ve also written up how I create the demos, including how I record demo videos of our apps over AirPlay. If you find yourself needing to demo iOS apps for meetings and presentations, you’re very welcome to use this template.
I’ve been doing some research into the kinds of apps that tend to get Apple promotion on the App Store. This research is still a work in progress, so I thought it might be useful to share an initial finding about the App Stores themselves.
It turns out that there are actually very few App Stores in the world. You can buy apps in 155 countries, but there are only 25 separate stores. Many countries share their App Store with several other countries, and show exactly the same curated selection of featured apps – with localised names and metadata where available – as those other countries. In practice, this is almost certainly necessary to keep the weekly task of content curation feasible for Apple.
When I’m designing an icon, I find it useful to preview how it will look in situ on an iPad’s home screen. To make this easier, I’ve created a couple of Photoshop templates to help me mock up how they’ll look on an actual device.
Every now and then I write a cryptic crossword. This is my latest effort. It’s posted here primarily for your idle amusement, but feedback is very much appreciated.
Over the past three years, I’ve been fortunate enough to be asked to speak at several tech conferences in the UK. I’ve definitely learnt a lot in the process. Here are my 21 tips for anyone looking to talk at their first conference in 2013.
When developing the original version of our UK Train Times iPhone app, I needed to retrieve nearby train stations from an SQL table of all UK stations, ordered by their distance from a certain latitude / longitude point. I came up with a fast and efficient way to do this, which is explained in detail below.
Whilst this approach is particularly suited to an iPhone (which has assisted GPS and support for SQLite, but a relatively slow processor), the same approach would apply to any SQL application needing to order by distance from a fixed point.
There’s a reason we talk about “losing yourself in a good book”. When the medium, the text and the reader operate as a single, smoothly-running unit, you can spend hours with your head deep in a book, oblivious to the outside world. Words flow through your eyes and convert seamlessly into ideas and images within your brain, in what feels like an effortless, almost magical process.
Our goal as publishers, then, is to optimise a reading system to remove any distractions and barriers to this flow. There’s only so much we can do about the reader – i.e. ourselves – but the medium and the text can certainly be optimised to make reading as smooth a process as possible.
Here are my predictions for what will be announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) this week – with an Apple TV OS being my big punt for Monday’s keynote highlight.
It’s a simple fact that photos drive visits to Facebook. Facebook is an advertising company, and you’re only valuable to its clients when you’re on Facebook looking at their adverts. Making Facebook the central place to share your photos with friends is a great way to make sure you come back and see more adverts.
Photos aren’t just about repeat visits, though. The photos you upload, combined with those added by your friends, make you vastly more valuable to Facebook. Valuable enough, in fact, for Facebook to buy rival photo-sharing network Instagram for $1bn. Here are my thoughts on why your photos are worth so much.
Last April, I wrote about the UK Conservative Party’s election app. This app uses your iPhone’s address book to send personal details (and likely voting intentions) of your friends and contacts to the Conservative Party.
The subject of address book security has been in the news again recently. Two particular stories have caught my eye, both of which raises questions about how we value address book privacy in mobile apps and on the Internet.
As a regular tweeter, I’m always wondering how people view my tweets. Communicating in 140 characters is quite a thing, and I’m not sure I always get it right. Here are my top suggestions for things to avoid, based on how my approach has changed over time. (I’ve broken nearly all of them.)
You might have missed the announcement; I certainly had, until Amy Worrall pointed it out. Wolfram’s Education Portal is like a more technical amalgam of iBooks textbooks and iTunes U, through which educators can create interactive digital textbooks and manage course plans and feedback. Or at least, that’s what it looks like from the beta.
I’m surprised by the fuss about Apple’s iBooks Author licensing terms. The terms prevent you from selling your iBooks Author-created works outside of the iBooks Store (although they can be distributed for free). You can still export and repurpose the content therein, but you can’t sell the complete, packaged layout file created by iBooks Author in another store.
This seems perfectly reasonable to me, for three reasons.
The iPad has a reputation for being difficult to type on. It’s generally accepted that the iPad is okay for short emails and notes, but is not suited to longer documents. The anecdotal consensus seems to be that an on-screen keyboard, with no tactile feedback, leads to more errors than a physical keyboard with real keys. Based on my research today, I’m not sure that this is the case. Instead, it may be a bug in the iPad’s keyboard software that is causing some of the typing errors.
As a web or app developer, it can be tempting to use Facebook as the default sign-in method for your service. High-profile examples of this include Spotify, which recently went Facebook-only for new users, and the Daring Fireball-featured Mixel, which requires a Facebook login before using the service at all.