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All posts tagged "app store"

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

App Store Renewal Source of Frustration

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 10:00 AM

"We are now just one month out from the time when the first iTunes Connect/App Store contracts are due to expire. To date, iTunes Connect has yet to offer any renewal option on its website to developers. This is despite the fact that the page itself says, "Within 90 days of your contract expiration, a renewal contract will be available to you in the 'Request New Contracts' section above."

One developer was told "As soon as a process is in place, you'll be notified via e-mail or the website," the represenative said. "It's a new program. This program was not yet in place last year, and Apple needs time." Apple did say they wouldn't pull already approved apps just because the contracts haven't been renewed. I guess that is some consolation, but it seems like this should have been in place already since the program is a year old.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

App Store Version of MacUpdate

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 08:00 AM

"For the first time in the App Store (at least as far as games are concerned) competing developers are joining forces to release their wares as one in the 5 Fingers Bundle ($5 in the App Store). Similar in concept to MacUpdate, these five developers are offering their great games as one, for almost a 60 percent savings."

So what do you get for your $5.00 USD? Chopper (previous #1 game), BurnBall, Up There (previously featured by Apple), Blackbeard's Assault (a Zuma-style game) and Sneezies (a bubble popping game). Doesn't seem like a bad deal for a wide variety of games. Makes you wonder how many other developers will band together and offer similar packages in another genre.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Cydia Looking to Introduce Paid Store

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 11:00 AM

"Cydia has been the hub of the iPhone gray market for some time now, but developer Jay Freeman is planning on turning the jailbroken app manager into a questionably licit competitor to the App Store. Converting Cydia into a proper application store won't be complicated, and more or less amounts to Freeman adding a centralized payment service to the software. His competitive ambitions, though, aren't so subtle: He told the WSJ that "the overworking goal is to provide choice" and that he plans on match or beat Apple's commission for downloaded apps."

Sounds like a good idea. Not that I'll ever see it, of course, because I refuse to jailbreak my iPhone, but if you're into that sort of thing, this might be the door that independent developers have been waiting to open up forever. No more approval process, no more restrictive standards about what an app can do, and no more denied apps. From a developer standpoint it's a big win.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Older App Reviews By Non-Owners Erased

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple iPhone & iPod Touch" @ 11:00 AM

"When the app store launched in 2008, you could review the app even if you didn't buy it. As a result there were a lot of static reviews, both good and bad, as companies tried to push their products or topple competitors. In September, Apple announced a ban on non-customer reviews from the apps, but the old reviews were still visible."

This is a great day for developers whose apps were unfairly panned by people who had never bother trying them. The situation at the App Store was really bad. It reminded me of the situation on Amazon with Spore where people who didn't even buy the game were slamming it with negative reviews just because of the DRM and had never even played the game. It's not fair to developers, and this ought to further ingratiate Apple with a group of people they need and who, for the most part recently, haven't been too happy with them.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Paid App Prices on Steady Decline

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 10:00 AM

"Apple (AAPL) is famous for keeping its gadget pricing steady. But the iPhone app store is a much different market: App developers have cut prices significantly in the last few months. And the market for $10 premium apps seems to have evaporated."

Two months ago the average price for one of the top 100 paid apps was $3.15 USD, but over the last two months it has dropped to an average price of $2.55 USD. The average price of a top 50 paid app dropped even lower to $2.39 USD from $3.63 USD two months ago. The drops are 19% and 38% respectively. Per the article, its not clear on why developers are doing this as none have responded to the request for information, but it sounds like basic economics to me: supply and demand. That may be why the $10.00 USD prices have all but disappeared from the top 100 lists too.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Curious What Apps Apple Bans? Here are a Few

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 12:00 PM

"A 'throw shoes at Bush' app, a breast-jiggler, a naughty entry from the South Park guys--these are some of the iPhone apps for which Apple unceremoniously denied shelf space."

Figure 1: Screenshot from Obama Trampoline, a recently denied application.

Don't forget about "Obama Trampoline", the app that shows President Obama bouncing on a trampoline as you attempt to break some balloons! At least they are bi-partisan by also banning the shoe throwing app with President Bush. Is Apple trying to avoid controversy in the App Store? I think its more of a bottom line concern, as evidenced by an email the developer of Freedom Time received from Steve Jobs regarding the denial. The app in question was a countdown clock, that counted down the days until the Bush Presidency was over. The developer was told it was denied because it "either defamed or demeaned a political figure" ie President Bush. When the developer emailed Steve Jobs about it, Jobs replied: "Even though my personal political leanings are Democratic, I think this app will be offensive to roughly half our customers. What's the point?"

Monday, February 23, 2009

How Much Have You Spent?

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 01:00 PM

"...It also highlights just what an excellent idea the App Store is, and how well it has been designed. Shopping there is so simple, so instantaneous, and often so cheap per-app, that it almost becomes a thoughtless act. "This app looks cool. I'll try it." A dollar here, a few dollars there."

I'll tell you one thing: I'm spending way more than I ever spent on any other device I've ever owned on Applications. I got my iPhone 3G on July 11th (does it surprise anyone that I got it on release day?) and before I even left the mall I had already purchased MLB At Bat. In fact, that one app was the one that put me over the top and got me to buy a second iPhone after selling my first one in January and using the N95 my wife got me for my birthday. The App Store has proven, despite its shortcomings, to be one of the biggest selling points and most used features of the iPhone. It's pretty remarkable what ease of use can do for numbers, and it's pretty apparent that everyone has noticed. Everyone from RIM and Symbian to the great behemoth of Redmond are scrambling to build their own App Stores mimicking Apple's (whose implementation may be new, but if you think about it, it's almost identical to Ubuntu's Application Manager) to try and cash in on their success.

How much are you guy spending in the App Store? I'd say counting apps I've gotten rid of, I'm easily up around $175.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rotary Dial for the iPhone, Fun if You Have the Time

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 09:00 AM

Product Category: Entertainment
Manufacturer: ObjectGraph
Where to Buy: ITunes
Price: Normally $2.99 USD, but for limited time it is $0.99 USD
System Requirements: iPhone, 2.0 Software Update


  • Graphics very responsive, sound is just like the old telephones;
  • Interfaces with your address book.


  • Can't stop the auto-dialer once it starts until it switches to phone mode;
  • No help option.

Summary: A fun application if you have the time to wait for the rotary dial to do it's thing. Read more...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Combatting Pirates in the High Seas of the App Store

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 10:00 AM

"Last week, the iPhone cracking app-cracking tool, Crackulous, was released, igniting discussions amongst developers and users over App Store security, piracy and how to combat these threats within the confines of Apple's walled-garden. Because of the iPhone SDK, and Apple's Terms of Service for letting apps into the App Store, individual developers are severely limited in what they can actually do, code-wise, to address the issue."

I didn't realize pirating was such an issue at the iTunes App Store until I read this article. Some of the developers are reporting figures such as low as 20% legitimate users. This software from Ripdev works within the constraints of the SDK (they say) so it doesn't violate any of Apple's policies, by creating another shell a "pirate" would have to break through in order to get the application to work. Pricing seems kind of steep, setup fee of US $100 for apps costing less than US $9.99 and US $300 for apps costing more than US $9.99. And they charge a royalty based on number of sales after the initial setup fee is charged. Not sure how many developers are going to be interested in this, but if you do any kind of volume, this might actually keep more of the money in your hands.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

App Store Hits 20,000. That's a Lot of Farts

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 09:00 AM

"If apptism's count is accurate-when contacted for comment, Apple declined to confirm the number of apps available for download-it would mean that 5,000 new programs had arrived on the App Store in less than a month. After all, it was only January 16, when Apple officially announced that it had topped the 15,000 app mark."

Just for the record, my immediate reaction before even reading the entire MacWorld article was that 20,000 apps = lots of fart apps, so I don't want anyone accusing me of lifting Jim Dalrymple's obviously astute observation on the gaseous quantity of many recent iPhone apps. That being said, 20,000 is somewhat impressive, but I don't put a lot of stock into the total number of apps, especially when you consider how many craplications are on the App Store. There are plenty of good ones, but often it feels like they're few and far between.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Emoji App Not Approved

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 11:00 AM

"I went ahead and submitted Freemoji to the App Store under the assumption that if one application had already made it there that clearly affects this preference, the precedent had been set for another. And yes, I made sure to note so in the application description as a free alternative, figuring that the weight of precedent might help get it through. As already mentioned, Apple thought otherwise. The application was rejected for its ability to make changes outside the application's container area. As Apple wrote in its rejection, iPhone applications are restricted to reading and writing within their sandbox. Sandboxes define a limited set of unique files and folders which are allocated to each application."

Apple really needs to lighten up. All this app did was automate a process that we detailed here a few weeks ago. Instead, because of the silliness of sandboxes and such, Freemoji got rejected. It's not like we're talking about changing important system files or other obvious system-related features. They're emoticons, and yet Apple seems hell-bent on making sure they aren't available in the United States or anywhere else outside Asia. I just don't get it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

500 Million Apps Downloaded

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 04:00 PM

"Apple announced Friday that over 500 million apps have been downloaded from its App Store. Amazingly, the company only reached 300 million downloads on December 5, meaning its App Store has enjoyed accelerating growth since the holiday season. The announcement, which was made in the form of an advertisement on Apple's home page, also claims that the App Store now features more than 15,000 apps."

No wonder everyone is scrambling to come up with their own version of the App Store. It works. Palm is doing it, RIM is doing it, and Microsoft is supposedly looking into it. I'd say that's a testimony to the App Store's success as much as the number of apps that made their way out of the store and onto people's devices.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Statistically, $0.99 vs. $0.99+ Means Nothing

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 02:00 PM

"Two days ago Craig Hockenberry wrote an open letter to Steve Jobs complaining about the prevalence of 99 cent apps on the App Store and the "rush" to that price point. He suggests the rush to the bottom is damaging the chances of more significant apps being developed for the platform. We've covered the "gold rush" on the iPhone App Store before, and dissected the App Store data to discover that the cheapest apps aren't the ones making the most money (sounds obvious, but many of the complaints assume it isn't so). 99 cent (or free!) apps do no more harm to pricier iPhone apps than open source or shareware apps do to commercial PC or Mac software. But the point still stands.. are 99 cent apps really that popular on the App Store? In terms of quantity, there are a lot, but are they significantly more popular than more expensive apps?"

The takeaway here is obvious: pricing your app doesn't, in a tangible way, affect the sales of that application. While Craig Hockenberry may have a point in that applications cost more to develop than meets the eye, his other point, that $0.99 apps are hurting sales of more expensive apps and making the App Store an unsustainable business, doesn't seem to be supported by the numbers.

I have a ton of problems with Hockenberry's "Open Letter," and this is just one of them. I'm glad someone addressed it with statistics rather than anecdotal "evidence."

Where's Peeps?

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 12:00 PM

"Peeps is not currently available in iPhone App Store - the application was rejected because Apple believes we are using their private Cover Flow implementation. We actually wrote our own implementation of Cover Flow, so we're hoping the decision will be overturned."

Apple rejected Peeps because the developer claimed he was using Coverflow. Apparently his implementation was good enough (along with his claim of using it in his app) that it got his app rejected. I'm not a fan of Apple rejecting apps (see the previous post about Pull My Finger) but in reality, if you claim to use a private API and your app gets rejected, you shouldn't be surprised. Of course, if you're Google, you have the right to use whatever API you want and your app will be warmly received and featured, but that's Google and, as unfair as it is, we're not.

Apple Redefines Limited Utility

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 10:00 AM

For context purposes, you need to know the whole story of Pull My Finger. Not the gag, the application. Since I've already done a video on the topic, I'm going to recycle a bit of old content for all of you. (Warning: the language might be considered salty; no profanity is used, but there is a loose g___ d___ in there)

On Friday, I got an e-mail from Air-o-Matic saying that Apple had finally approved their app:


A while back, you requested and supported the rejected iPhone app, Pull My Finger. Well, we've been working diligently to get our phones to make strange bodily noises, and we're excited to announce that Apple has reversed their decision... Pull My Finger is in the app store!"

I'm happy for the guys at Air-o-Matic. They've finally gotten their app published, but the fact that it was delayed and is now published makes me ask the question: why was it rejected in the first place? According to various sources, the reason was that Apple was trying to define a genre for apps such as Pull My Finger, but that even opens up more questions. How do you define iBeer? As a drinking simulator? How about an electronic beverage substitute?

Let's face reality; Apple's reaction comes because they realized they'd have one hell of a time trying to explain their rationale and its inconsistency. Is it their right to reject apps from the App Store? Absolutely, but if they don't do it consistently, they're going to be wearing more than a few eggs on their faces and turning off many developers to the process altogether.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Interesting Use For Promo Codes on the App Store

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 12:00 PM

"For the first 20 purchasers who send in an iTunes receipt showing a Hexy purchase, Fifth Ace will generate free promo codes allowing buyers to gift the second copy of a game to a friend. It's a pretty small marketing push in an arena where sales need to be in thousands, not tens, but it's a move that is built to attract attention by its cleverness more than its reach."

As Erica points out, this is a small push, but in reality it demonstrates a very good example of the kind of outside the box thinking that distances good developers and great developers from the rest of the pack. There are many uses for the new promo codes aside from giving a copy of your app to Apple Thoughts (although I wouldn't object to receiving them from any app developers out there) so use your imagination!

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