Category Archives: iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

Our thoughts and plans for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch versions of our software

Pinchgate: The Info Tracking Debate

spy2I’m a stickler for privacy, so the recent furor over Pinch Media‘s analytics is really interesting to me. The debate (in a nutshell) is whether information gathered by companies like Pinch Media through iPhone applications, for the purpose of developer marketing, is spyware. I thought I’d take a second to toss in my own 2 cents on this issue.

So, for my take on the subject, read on after the jump!

Continue reading

Could Apple Do This? Would they?

appstore12I’d been thinking about how much Apple is able to do – when they want to – with iPhone App distribution, because of how they set it up.

And I’d been thinking about how much I’d like – both as a user and a developer – trial versions of iPhone apps. But I know what a can of worms is opened by giving developers the ability make and unlock trials.

And then I thought – could Apple handle trials themselves, completely, by making all apps in the iTunes App Store free for the first few days, and then processing the payments if the apps were still installed after that?

The answer, of course, is that I don’t know. I have no idea if this would work or even be possible. I’m sure there are a ton of issues and implications to be thought through. It may be technically impossible, financially unfeasible, or just a lot more trouble than simply letting developers handle trials on their own.

But I can’t help thinking how cool it would be if Apple pulled it off.

It’s clear that no one else could do this with their app stores – no one else has that kind of control. Or – let’s face it – the guts. And it seems to me that it would be very much Apple’s style: here’s a better way to do something, we can do it, let’s do it. And if it turns the existing software distribution model upside-down, that’s just a bonus.

Any thoughts? I can’t tell if this is a good idea, a terrible idea, or something in-between. And it’s probably just wishful thinking on my part. But it would – in my opinion – be a huge benefit to both iPhone developers and users.

(Here’s the short URL for this article, if you want to share it. We’re working on the better “share it” thing; apparently it’s incompatible with something else we do.)

Apples2Oranges: Now Just 99 Cents!

a2o_logo512Haven’t tried Apples2Oranges? Well now is your chance! We’ve just reduced the price to 99 cents!

Now I know this is unlikely, but there just might be some folks who don’t know what Apples2Oranges is. Let me explain it this way…it’s frustrating to figure out different conversions in your head – impossible if you’re looking at units you aren’t familiar with. You can waste lots of time standing in the store with two different packages in your hands, trying to do the math on which is a better deal, or which has fewer calories per serving.

Now you don’t have to waste time or worry about getting the math wrong. Just pull out your iPhone and get the answer in a few taps with Apples2Oranges™ – a quick and easy price comparison and unit conversion app from Ilium Software, available for your iPhone™ or iPod® touch.

(Added note by Ellen: Anyone who buys or has bought Apples2Oranges – please consider adding a review of it to iTunes. We’re fairly sure that reviews help our search ranking, which in turn helps sales. We know a lot of people find Apples2Oranges useful, but more reviews would help even more people find it. Thanks!)

Great AppStore Article

I have to share a great article about the iTunes AppStore over at AppleInsider. I don’t have much to say that isn’t already covered in the article, but I will share a quote that I think highlights a very real danger:

“In some respects, the App Store has taken its place alongside YouTube, where poor taste is the defining metric,” Wolf wrote. “More ominously, it has led to a deterioration of the entire pricing structure for iPhone applications. The risk is that developers who hope to build quality applications that have a long shelf life may be discouraged from doing so because prospective development costs exceed the revenues they expect to earn on the applications. In short, this race to the bottom has the potential to degrade the overall equality of the applications sold at the App Store.”

Not only is this something Apple needs to think about, but all the other device and OS manufacturers out there should keep this in mind as they launch their own on device stores.

You can find the entire article over at AppleInsider!

Just iPhone Art

Just iPhone Art is a great new site our friends over at JAMM have launched. I’m fascinated by the incredible art people are producing on their iPhones. The JAMM team’s new site delves into this phenomenon and focuses on this cool new artisitc medium.

Definitely pop over and check it out!

Developer Pro-Tip: Show the Clock!!

soapboxIf any casual game iPhone developers are listening I gotta rant a sec. Hey, guys! Show the clock! I play casual quick games when I have a few minutes to spare but don’t want to dig into anything too complex. If you hide the clock (the Status Bar if you want the technical name) it means I have to exit the application to see if my few minutes are up.

The Status Bar really doesn’t take up that much screen real estate, and it isn’t going to detract from your really sweet graphics. And don’t worry about whether this will limit how immersed in the game I get – I don’t play casual games for immersion – I play them for a quick bit of entertainment when I’ve got 5 minutes to kill.

And if for some reason you really, really, really can’t show the Status Bar, at the VERY least, save my state when I hop out to check the time. Besides being one of the HIG guidelines, it’s just good development. Trust me. If I lose my progress too many times because of a phone call or checking the time, the game isn’t going to have much of a lifespan on my device.

OK – my rant is complete. You can return to your casual gaming.

1 Million Apps = 7 Free Apps per Person

I’m glad Palm is giving the Pre everything they’ve got but I gotta tell you, I’m a little worried. Current estimates place the sales at around 150K units sold. Not bad, but that’s around 1/2 of what the original iPhone did in two days two years ago. (Although it’s pretty close to the Android sales numbers.) meanwhile, the SDK still isn’t out, and the hints we’ve seen of it suggests that we could face some pretty powerful development limits.

The latest announcement of a million downloads is nice and all, but considering the apps are free, that means each of the 150K users have downloaded 7 free apps. The most impressive thing about this is that Palm is actually doing a pretty darn good job of convincing the tech blog sites that this is a big deal.

To put this in perspective, Apple has over 2,700,000 downloads each DAY for the past year*. And many of these are paid apps.

It might be hard to believe but really, I DO want Palm to succeed at this. I’m just disappointed because I’m just not feeling confident that they will. I’d LOVE to see another strong handheld in the market – it’s good for business! I just feel like maybe we’re seeing more of the same problems that have plagued the company for the past few years.

* To address something I am sure will come up, reports indicated that Apple sold 2.2 Million apps (free AND paid) during their release weekend so the overall average isn’t far off.

eWallet for iPhone OS 3.0 Awaiting Approval

I figured I’d drop a quick post about this. Over a week ago we sent a new version of eWallet with minor OS 3.0 compatibility updates to Apple. As you might have guessed we’re still waiting on approval. I’m sure they’ll get to it soon. In the meantime there isn’t anything about eWallet that doesn’t work ion 3.0. There are just a couple of oddities we smoothed out. For example, in one screen the keyboard *pops* into view as opposed to sliding into view. This new update lets it slide again. That sort of thing.

Anyhow, we’ll let you know (as will Apple)

iTunes Gift Card Blocking Workaround

gcI’ve seen some complaints online recently about people no longer being able to buy iTunes Gift Cards to be sent by email, or that iTunes Gift Card amounts are now being limited. In fact, our account is one of the ones affected by this: our company iTunes account suddenly became unable to buy Gift Cards on iTunes. We get the message:

This account is not currently eligible to purchase Gift Certificates. However, you can purchase iTunes Gift Cards from the Apple Oline Store at or in Apple Retail stores.

A little research (links here and here) makes it clear that

  • Other developers and users are seeing this as well
  • Apple is acknowledging it, but not yet publicly providing very specific info or resetting the affected accounts
  • It looks very much like it’s an anti-fraud action by Apple

Now, before everyone leaps to the wrong conclusion, I’m completely in favor of this. I’ve seen plenty of credit card fraud, and whatever anyone can do to fight it has my complete support.

So, to help out anyone who’s affected by this and hasn’t figured out what to do about it yet, here’s our simple workaround that Julie figured out.

  1. Go to the nearby drugstore and buy iTunes Gift Cards
  2. Email the codes on them to whoever you need to

I hope Apple will be able to come up with a solution that lets us go back to doing everything online, and I’m definitely still hoping that Apple will implement “Gift this App” for iTunes apps. But meanwhile, the above works fine.

Interview at AppCraver – AppStore Pricing

logoThe good people over at AppCraver read my blog post about pricing and asked to do a short interview. They asked some great questions that further illuminate the challenges iPhone developers face. If you’d like to take a look you can find the whole article here.