Apple’s Newest Releases—What Developers Should Know:

Posted on September 16th, 2014 by
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In case you missed it, Apple held a huge event last week where it introduced its newest line of mobile products. While these events are usually targeted more towards consumers, there are some important things for iOS developers as well. Here’s what devs should know about Apple’s four new products:

 

iPhone 6

 

Though not much of a change from the most recent iPhones, the iPhone 6 does boast a slightly larger screen for devs to work with (4.7 inches). The display is Retina HD, with 1334×750 pixels. The biggest change for app developers is the 64-bit A8 chip for faster CPU performance and dramatically increased graphics performance. Also, new chips and sensors improve motion and activity tracking for health and fitness apps.

 

iPhone 6 Plus

 

In the biggest departure from Apple’s past smartphones, the iPhone 6 Plus comes in at 5.5-inches to compete with the larger Android counterparts like the Samsung Galaxy. This will give iOS developers even more screen sizes that they have to develop for and test on, but Apple has thrown in some great perks as well. Like the regular iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus features a Retina HD display but has 185% more pixels than the previous iPhones for more stunning graphics. It also features a 64-bit A8 processor to allow for better performing mobile games and apps, along with the motion coprocessors seen in the iPhone 6.

Combined with the features and APIs announced for iOS 8, developers (particularly gaming developers) should find that there apps look and perform much better on the larger screens of the new iPhones. Health and fitness app developers with also have access to more sensors in the new iPhones as well as with the HealthKit API announced with iOS 8. Keyboard …

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Apple’s Top 10 Reasons for Rejecting Apps

Posted on September 16th, 2014 by


Any iOS developer will tell you that the Apple App Store review process is full of mystery. Luckily, Apple has finally given developers some clues into why their app was not approved. In a post on developers.apple.com, Apple outlined and explained the top 10 reasons why they reject apps from the App Store. Below are all 10, ranked from the most obvious to the strangely vague:

 

1. Crashes & Bugs

 

This one makes is easy. An App Store full of buggy apps would reflect badly on the App Store and upset users. Make sure to test thoroughly before submitting your app for review.

 

2. Broken Links

 

Another easy one. Any links in your app, including support links, ‘contact-us’ links, and privacy policies, must be up-to-date, completely functional, and direct the user where they are supposed to go.

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Latest iOS SDK Supports iOS 8!

Posted on September 9th, 2014 by


Attention iOS Developers!

 

Our latest iOS SDK, version 2.3, now supports the upcoming iOS 8!

 

iOS 8 was announced and released as a developer preview early this summer after Apple’s WWDC, but the public version will be released alongside the new line of iPhones, the iPhone 6, this September.

 

What Does iOS 8 Include for Developers?

 

In addition to improved App Store search, iOS 8 also includes over 4,000 brand new APIs that will aid applications in communicating with each other. Support for widgets and third-party keyboards is also included in iOS 8, along with some new APIs for photos, health apps, home automation apps, the cloud, and Apple’s TouchID.

 

Along with the APIs, Apple has made improvements to its programming environment by including a suite of frameworks for developers of all experience levels. In addition to the frameworks (SceneKit, SpriteKit, and Metal), Apple introduced a new programming language called Swift, also supported by our SDK.

 

iOS 8 is currently in developer preview, but it will be made available for universal public download to users on iPhone 4S and above on September 17.

 

For more in-depth information about what iOS 8 has to offer, read our iOS 8 blog post from after WWDC

 

Already a StartApp developer? Download the latest SDK version from the developer portal

 

Not yet a StartApp developer? Register today!

 

Questions? Email our support staff at: support@startapp.com

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The App Store’s 7-Day Cliff

Posted on August 29th, 2014 by
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Every time a new app is uploaded to and approved by the App Store, it appears in the ‘New Releases’ chart of its respective category. This placement is a great way for developers to gain some initial downloads, but developers are also receiving another boost from Apple that they may not expect.

 

For the first 7 days after an app launch, iOS apps are given a “keyword boost”. This keyword boost is another great way for devs to gain those crucial, initial downloads and is one of the few ways that Apple aids in app discovery.

 

But, after this boost, downloads and keyword rankings will decrease dramatically (the “7-Day Cliff”). The trick is to use this 7-day boost to your advantage before your keyword strength is reduced.

 

Not sold on the 7-Day Cliff? Check out these charts from SensorTower with data from an app launched on August 8 and an app launched on July 17:

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Apple Introduces iOS 8 at WWDC 2014

Posted on June 17th, 2014 by


After the revolutionary release of iOS 7 last year, Apple seems to have listened to developer and user feedback to make iOS 8 even better. Announced this week at WWDC, iOS 8 is packed with new features that not only make users happy, but also make life much easier for iOS developers. Let’s take a look at some of the key features (there are lot, so please forgive us for the length of this post!):

 

App Store Search Gets Serious:

 

Apple seems to be aware of the criticism surrounding app discoverability on the App Store. As a result, they have added an “Explore” tab to help users find an app they’re looking for. Apple also added a “trending searches” feature, quick search with scrolling lists, and related searches. While we doubt that the search capabilities are equal to that of Google, it is definitely an improvement over the old App Store search capabilities.

 

Apple also introduced app bundles and app previews. App bundles allow users to download a “bundle”, or a collection, of multiple apps. This feature is especially useful to developers with multiple apps. Now, devs can bundle all of their apps together, allowing users to download your entire library of apps with just one click.

 

App previews are short videos that accompany the description of an app. They are meant to quickly describe the app’s features and give a quick demonstration of the UI and UX. While this new feature is primarily for the user’s benefit, developers should really consider spending some time on creating these videos. Any opportunity to show off your app should be taken advantage of!

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Apple Looking For Control of the App Discovery Process?

Posted on June 10th, 2014 by


Last week, a few iOS developers and app studios began receiving notices from Apple that their apps were banned or rejected. Apple has made no specific comment on the rejections, and no official changes have been made to Apple’s Developer Guidelines. But, a quick look at the apps that have been banned sheds some light on what is happening behind the scene:

 

What iOS Developers Should Know:

 

As more developers received rejection notices throughout the week, it became clear that Apple was cracking down on social sharing and incentivized video ads.

 

Many apps, gaming apps in particular, offer users in-app currency or in-app gifts in return for watching a video ad. The only developers who received notices from Apple seem to be developers who use video ads for other apps. Developers using video advertisements for non-app brands have not seen or heard anything from Apple.

 

What is most troubling is that Apple is cracking down on social sharing. Many apps that allow users to share achievements or “high scores” to various social networks, including Facebook, are being sent notices by Apple.

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How Will Swift Affect The iOS Developer Community?

Posted on June 6th, 2014 by
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If you haven’t heard, Apple unveiled a brand new programming language exclusively for Apple developers this week at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference. Called Swift, this new programming is meant to streamline the development of iOS and Mac OS apps. While any Apple-backed programming language is an exciting prospect, Swift definitely has the potential to shake up the Apple app ecosystem in ways that are both good and bad for the developer community.

 

The Good:

 

Swift is meant to be a high-level coding language that combines the power of Objective-C with the relative flexibility of scripting languages like Python and Node.js. For developers, Swift offers automatic memory management, a “playground” feature for easy debugging, and simplified syntax which is both easier to learn and less susceptible to errors.

 

Without a doubt, Swift was intended by Apple to speed up the app development process. By moving away from the hard-to-learn, bug-prone, and time-consuming confines of Objective-C, developers can develop high-performing, functional apps faster and easier. Moving away from the clunkiness of Objective-C will also help consumers see a big difference in terms of app speed and graphics rendering. Swift will also open Apple’s app market up to a flood of more cheaply developed apps which will be beneficial to consumers and developers.

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Adding In-App Purchasing to Your iOS App

Posted on June 3rd, 2014 by
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About the Author: Tejas Jasani is a founder and CEO of an iPhone development company named The APP Guruz. His major focus is on how to improve mobile user’s smartphone experience through development of mobile games and apps.

 

In-app purchases are an alternative method for earning revenue from your apps, and they are particularly effective when monetizing mobile games, as users are prompted to buy additional items, features, or game levels. For iOS apps, in-app purchasing is implemented using the StoreKit Framework, introduced with iOS 3.0 and Mac OS 10.7. (Please note that in-app purchasing works for Mac apps too).

 

StoreKit communicates with the AppStore on behalf of your application, prompting the user for payment and securely authorizing any subsequent transaction. In turn, your application receives information from StoreKit alerting you to when a user makes a purchase and StoreKit then delivers that purchased item to the user. Without StoreKit, you would not be able to showcase products in an in-app store.

 

Implementation:

 

The StoreKit implementation can be divided into three main sections:

 

1) Set up of products done in iTunes Connect and Xcode

 

2) Purchase process itself on the device.

 

3) Verify the purchase and transaction.

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Apple Makes Changes to Top Charts

Posted on May 30th, 2014 by


With the 2014 Worldwide Developer’s Conference only one week away, Apple just announced sweeping changes to the “Top Charts” section of the App Store.

 

Up until this week, the “Top Charts” contained 200 ranked apps on the iPhone and 1500 ranked apps on the iPad. Now, Apple has reduced that number across the board to 150 ranked apps. (Note: number of apps in Top Charts will remain the same on desktop version of iTunes)

 

Why Apple decided to make this change is much less certain. It could be that Apple is announcing even more changes to the App Store next week at WWDC. Another reason could be the slow load time that users saw with the 200 and 1500 app lists. Others are also suggesting that Apple cut the charts down because users rarely scroll past 150.

 

Regardless of the reason, it is also unclear how this change will affect developers. Large developers with the money to drive installs will most likely not be affected at all. But, mid-tier and indie developers who usually get a download boost from the charts could see a decrease in the amount of traffic to their app. Apple has never really been considered a leader in terms of app discovery, so this is just one of a series of blows that Apple has dealt to the indie developer community.

 

However, there could be a silver lining for indie developers in all of this. For the past few months, Apple has been slowly rolling out updates and improvements to App Store search. Most recently, Apple began including “related search” items after users enter a keyword or keywords. This is as good a reason as any for indie iOS developers to double down on app store optimization (ASO) efforts.

 

Apple has also been toying with having “promoted” search …

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How to Optimize Your App’s Layout on iOS 7

Posted on May 20th, 2014 by


While there is not necessarily a right way and a wrong way to design your app’s layout, there are some tricks you can use to make sure that the user experience is as optimal as possible.

 

Ample Space for Controls

 

We all know that smartphone screens are small, and iPhones are consistently on the lower end of the screen-size spectrum.

 

To optimize your app’s layout for iOS 7, try to make sure that your main, controllable elements are at least 44×44 points. This way, users will have no trouble performing basic tasks with one finger or one hand while they are on the go.

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