Category Archives: iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

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

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.

Rate It If You Hate It!

appstore12The AppStore “Rate It If You Hate It” system is such a spectacularly bad idea that I really need to talk about it for a second. I certainly appreciate what Apple is trying to do. Like I’ve said time and again – I’m VERY VERY happy with Apple’s clearly demonstrated policy of working to improve things. I’ve seen other companies allow their flawed systems/devices/OS’s to sit around for YEARS with no effort to improve them. So, please don’t take this frustration with one aspect of the system as an overall indictment.

But seriously – a system that specifically encourages people who are removing an application to review it, with no reciprocating system to encourage people who LIKE their applications to review them, is a terrible plan.

Read on after the jump for the whole story… Continue reading

AppStore Prices – Is Cheaper Really Better?

pricesOver at the Apple iPhone Group at Yahoo, a discussion has cropped up about application prices in the AppStore. We think (and hear) about this a lot, so I want to take a minute to talk about application pricing (on any mobile platform). It is a topic that is important to developers, retailers, and customers alike.

So, if you’re curious to hear a developer perspective on pricing, read on after the jump! Continue reading

We Changed Apple! New AppStore Rating System

appstore12OK, I’m just guessing but it is pretty cool that on the heels of our survey Apple has implemented a change in the AppStore rating system. I don’t honestly believe they did it just for us, but it is nice to know that Apple is trying. Unfortunately, it doesn’t solve all the problems of the AppStore rating system but it’s a start.

If you’d like to learn more about this change, read on after the jump!

Continue reading

Final App Store Survey Results

What One Change You’d Like

appstore1Here’s the result of the final question in our survey (check the archives if you want the rest), as well as the winners of the gift cards.

To the question: “What one change would you like most to see in the iTunes App Store?”, over 60% of you picked free trials. I guess given that so many of you indicated that you bought apps regardless of price (or at least didn’t just buy the $1 and $2 ones), trials makes a lot of sense. 18% opted for better categorization, with just under 10% wanting better find. Specifically:

App Store Survey Results

Of the “other” replies, you asked for:

  • All of the above!
  • All of these, app store is almost unusable
  • General change to the style how people use (browse) the app store

  • More serious apps like eWallet and less junk
  • “Best of breed” featured apps, regardless of popularity (# of downloads)
  • Better search and iTunes like search playlists (to exclude junk devs)
  • Less crap!

  • Moderated reviews
  • Review moderation. Many reviews cite problems that are due to apple
  • Dated reviews with version reviewed
  • Sort by rating
  • Rankings based on revenue

  • functionality: wish-lists, similar-apps-bought, order-by-ratings
  • A wish list to keep track of apps, music, etc. until I can decide on them
  • Wish List capacity to store for later purchase
  • A way to save a list of apps I am interested in.
  • Robust wish list (as at Amazon)

  • More game options
  • Would be nice to have a VIDEO review on apps (esp games) rather than on YouTube
  • Demo capability
  • The original ability to see all aps by post date
  • Canadian redeem codes, for the love of Bob!

I grouped those for better readability, but otherwise didn’t edit them at all.

I’m happy to see that Apple took down reviews from non-buyers late last week. I hope – and believe – we’ll keep seeing improvements to the App Store. Find and trials would be great ones!

OK, and now for the 12 gift card winners. Congratulations to: Ken M., David B., Robin C., Addison H., Gina G., Dennis B., Drew C., Terry W., Louie L., Susan L., Nicole T., and Paul T. You’ve each won a US$10 gift card. People in the U.S. will get iTunes gift cards; people outside the U.S. will get gift cards from your local Amazon site. I’ve sent out emails about these already; if you think you’re one of the winners and didn’t see one, please be sure to whitelist emails from I’ll re-send them to anyone I didn’t hear back from.

Once again, thanks to everyone for participating!