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All posts tagged App Store

iOS9 Is Here To Fix Your Woes…

The blogosphere once again went totally ga-ga last week over the news that Apple will be releasing iOS9 later in the year. One such example was Ars Technica.

iOS9 - Bing Search

Whilst most people initially assumed this would mean more whiz-bang features, the bloggers explained that iOS 9 is expected to be a version devoted to resolving major bugs and performance issues.

iOS8 has had several bug fix versions of its own, following the customary ship it and fix it later attitude that Apple is renowned for and repeatedly forgiven for by their product lovers.

Why Does iOS 8 Need Fixing?

Besides the just ship it mentality resulting in patch fixes the impact may be felt by end-users but the consequences to App Developers are more severe.

After investing limited funds in the necessary tools to develop one’s app and the app then being accepted by the App Store, the end user suffers from buggy apps and crashes which ultimately are due to the OS.

The problem is that the end user rarely associates an app crash with the OS and the app in question ends up with bad reviews on the app store or simply is deleted by the user from their phone.

ZDNet reported that iOS8 has 78% higher crash rates than iOS7: that is an astounding metric for a newer version of an Operating System (on either existing upgraded devices or new iPhone 6 / 6+).

Now imagine you’re that App Developer or Startup who knows that railing at Apple over this, is about as useful as shouting at the rain to stop.

iOS9 Frustrated

The Warptest POV

Recently, not a day goes by without dealing with App crashes in iOS8 without crash logs that are hard if not impossible to reproduce in iOS7. One hopes that iOS9 lives up to its fanfair and will in fact deal with many of the bugs that recur.

The appeal of iPhones and iPads is easy to grasp, you only have to use them to understand it and the mass adoption that followed it. That said, the rise and fall of giants like Nokia and Blackberry are a lesson to those who fail to evolve and improve, no matter how big.

My advice to Apple’s iOS9 team are to invest heavily in testing; not just in-the-lab testing but get your hands dirty, take the devices outside testing. Explore as many real world use cases and scenarios with iOS9 and make sure that the mistakes of iOS8 are not repeated.

iOS9 App Rejection

In a nutshell, iOS9 had better be good because iOS8 probably wouldn’t pass Apple’s own App Store standards were it an external submission.

What do you think?

No Entry To App Store

iPhone5 iPadsApple Are Tightening Their Rules …

The Standards defined by Apple for an App to be accepted and remain in the App Store are changing again on May 1st.

According to various tech blogs including Engadget 3 Acceptance Criteria are set to change and not just new submissions but for existing apps too.

Acceptance Criteria Update

  • Apps cannot access UDID any longer. Apps and their servers will have to use Vendor or Advertising Identifiers instead.
  • Apps must be built to support Retina display devices.
  • iPhone Apps must be built to support the 4 inch (larger) display on the iPhone5.

Fragmentation: Zero Tolerance

Whilst the issue of Retina and iPhone5 add one or two more devices to the mix Apple are squaring off to ensure no nasty fragmentation issues ever crop up.

One has to assume that iPhone6 will have some other substantial hardware differences too. Apple cannot rely on their brand maintaining high sales simply by releasing a bigger/smaller screen.

If so then the precedent set here will continue and App developers should anticipate a similar zero tolerance cutoff date for apps to be compelled to support iPhone6 too.

The smarter, more proactive developers will ensure they are compliant earlier rather than later.

App Lifecycle Ramifications

If you are a sole developer, Startup or big Software House invested in App development then this has some ramifications for you: –

    • Your team are going to have to have access to all the devices you support Retina and earlier, iPhone and iPad to ensure your App detects the device type and renders the app accordingly.
    • First and foremost your QA are going to need to bring their A Game and ensure comprehensive test coverage for these changes.
    • Your QA are going to need access to these devices ASAP to ensure that these new criteria are incorporated into their testcases and are fully tested:
      • The basic testcases are simple:
        • Retina devices: UI elements and text should display visibly and where touch enables should be large enough to be easily and distinctly touched.
        • Retina devices: graphics that may be part of the app e.g. images of items for sale on e-commerce apps should render at the correct size.
        • Non-Retina: conversely UI / graphics should render proportionate to display resolution i.e. not hard coded for Retina and thus oversized.
    • As for replacing UDID well this is a ticking clock. If you snoozed and missed this one you weren’t paying attention in class were you.
    • All said and done the cost of developing your App just increased substantially.

The Warptest POV

If Bloomberg’s Business Week article is to be believed then Apple may be facing a drop in profits and as a result no one in Apple sales will shed a tear if this change in App Acceptance criteria force increased device sales to App Developers and Testers.

Whilst I’m not cynical enough to believe this was raison d’etre behind this move, I have to ask,

How is this going to affect the face of the App Store?

Are we going to see multiple Apps thrown out by Apple where the Developer cannot afford to support these changes?

Is this going to drive some Apps away from the App Store and to Android, Windows Phone or Blackberry 10?

What do you think?

Blood on the water in the App Store?

The dust from Apple WWDC is only starting to settle and many a startup who had an App in the App Store is discovering that the announcements yesterday may have made their contribution to the App Store redundant. One example of this that everyone in my twitter feed cited is the marvelous whose social GPS and mapping app may be feeling the heat from Apple implementing their own maps but I’m not so sure.

My question though is why are people acting so surprised?

Quotes…

Let’s refresh our memory how they feel at Apple:

“We’ve been there before, and intermediate layers between the platform and the developer ultimately produces sub-standard apps and hinders the progress of the platform.” this was a quote from Steve Jobs in a Download Squad article explaining why they were slapping down Adobe.

App Store - steve-jobs-3g-iphone

“They are lazy. They have all this potential to do interesting things but they just refuse to do it. They don’t do anything with the approaches that Apple is taking, like Carbon. Apple does not support Flash because it is so buggy. Whenever a Mac crashes more often than not it is because of Flash. No one will be using Flash. The world is moving to HTML5,” also credited to Steve Jobs.

Hindsight is always 20-20…

It’s easy to look back and slap your forehead as you see your app “emulated” by new features in iOS6 and wonder why you exclusively developed for the App Store.

If you have to roll the dice and have limited resources for development then of course you are going to gamble on the biggest market share and most popular platform.

Still you have to ask, “What does Apple view as the point of the App Store? Is it what it seems or is it a proving ground to discover and emulate 3rd Party Apps for incorporation as new features into the next iOS?”

The Warptest perspective…

I don’t believe that Apple ever intended to use the App Store in this manner but the analytics that come from consumer habits and purchases are a siren call to market researchers that simply cannot be ignored.

  • In reality no unicorns were slaughtered or dreams were shattered yesterday.
  • There was a huge wakeup call to App Startups that the competition got tougher from yesterday.
  • If you are a Startup or App developer intent on success you had better release a new groundbreaking App shortly after WWDC to gain the maximum ground in your niche.

The knock-on effect is that long term Apple has just given a huge boost to Windows Phone and to an extent Android as well.

app store - smartphones101

Apple are not the only game in town and the Windows Marketplace is virgin territory, until now mostly ignored by many of the same Startups and App Developers who are feeling the pain right now.

App store - The Undiscovered Country

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

(Image courtesy of IMDB’s prodigious movie database)

So if you are reading this and you have ignored Windows Phone development then let me say you continue to do so at your own peril. The Windows Phone SDK download link is .. it’s a brave new world for those willing to seize it, are you?