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New iTunes Connect Breaks App Submissions

Update:  We have confirmed that Apple has addressed this issue and app submissions via the new iTunes Connect are now working properly.


 

All eyes and ears were on Apple today as they announced the much-anticipated iPhone 6 with larger displays as well as the Apple Watch. Apple also released a new iTunes Connect, which for developers is starting to attract an outsized share of the attention, but for the wrong reasons.

The new iTunes Connect appears to have an issue which is preventing submission of apps that include an embedded .bundle. Unfortunately this is impacting Apptentive customers as well as customers of numerous other frameworks such as Google Plus and Google Maps for iOS.

Customers attempting to submit apps to the new iTunes Connect site are receiving an error message similar to:

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 7.22.56 PM copy
ERROR ITMS-9000:  Missing or invalid signature. The bundle '$bundleIdentifier' at bundle path 'Payload/XYZ.app/ApptentiveResources.bundle' is not signed using an Apple submission certificate.

If you submit via Xcode, the error message is sent to your developer account via email, rather than shown immediately as above in Application Loader.

On the face of it, the error seems similar to those that have been reported on OS X for Mavericks, which have been covered by Craig Hockenberry on his blog. Unfortunately, going through the steps that Craig suggests do not appear to address this issue.

Both building and submitting with Xcode 5.1.1 and Xcode 6 GM are currently broken in the way outlined above.

We have filed a Radar (bug) report with Apple on this, and based on the significant number of people that are encountering this issue we expect that there will be acknowledgment and resolution from Apple quickly on this issue.

We will keep you updated on this issue via this blog post as well as our Twitter account. This is a great time to follow us if you don’t already, as well as our status & operations Twitter account at @apptentive_ops.

If you have any questions or concerns, please leave a comment below or contact us.

MobileTeamThumbnail

Swift, Material Design, Wearables and More – Google I/O and WWDC

The experts on Apptentive’s Mobile Team provide answers to your questions about from between app development to successfully marketing your app. Got a question? Ask it in our comment section below or on Twitter using #MobileTeam. In each post we’ll highlight a different topic where the Mobile Team will share their insight and experience.

This week we asked the Mobile Team:
What are you most excited about from Apple’s WWDC 2014 or Google I/O and why?

Rod Burns
The introduction of new language Swift has got iOS developers very excited. I don’t know many developers who particularly enjoy using Objective-C and Swift will make developing for iOS easier and quicker for developers. The language is more akin to web programming languages like JavaScript and Go, where Objective-C is more old school like C++. There are still a lot of web developers who are making the move over to mobile and this is an important move for Apple to continue to attract developers to their platform.

Rod Burns - WIP

Chiu-Ki Chan
I am very excited to see the new Material design. It literally adds a new dimension to the UI – elevation. Elevation determines the size of shadows, and leads to very natural animations. Another great addition is color accents. Developers no longer need to customize every single widget to brand the app. Just specify a color palette in the theme, and voila, the whole app is tinted accordingly. Material design comes with a comprehensive guide on the thinking behind the design, implementation dos and don’ts, and lots of visual examples. It looks beautiful.

Google I/O is stuffed with announcements beyond Material design, and believe it or not, the next thing that got me excited was Cardboard. Yup, it is a piece of cardboard, with lens, magnets and NFC tag. Add a phone, and you get a virtual reality viewer. The magnets are especially ingenious: one magnet is inside the box, to hold the outside magnet within a groove. Pull the outside one down, and the magnetometer on the phone detects the change in magnetic field to trigger a button event. This is how you select an item on the phone while it is trapped inside the cardboard box. Clever, isn’t it? I don’t really have any particular use for a VR viewer, but Cardboard is really fun!

Chiu-Ki Chan -Square Island

Dan Counsell
There were so many great new API’s announced at WWDC 2014, it really opens up so many new opportunities for developers. I can already see us taking advantage of Handoff and App Extensions in both Clear and Ember. For example, we could now write a widget for Notification Centre that shows your most recent tasks from Clear – This is something users have been asking for and we’ve never been able to offer before.

As a user I’m probably most looking forward to the new cleaner look in OS X Yosemite. I’m also very excited for HomeKit and HealthKit, the possibilities for both of these are mind blowing.

Dan Counsell - DanCounsell.com

Ben Johnson
Apple’s new Continuity features of OS X Yosemite and iOS are extremely exciting. The free interchange of information between Mobile, Tablet, Desktop, and TV only further bolsters Apple’s position as a truly unique cross platform ecosystem. There are some fantastic new use cases that will come out of this and we’re really looking forward to including some of this advanced functionality in our apps to make software even easier to use.

Ben Johnson – Raizlabs

Mike Lee
The keynote announcements from these events are always a mix of exciting and scary. New things are exciting! Doubly so for developers and others working in technology, because new things change our direction, for better or for worse. That’s the scary part, because you don’t know.

Even now, a month later, with the new ideas in grasp, and the new betas installed, I’m not sure. It takes time to see how things pan out. Exciting! Scary!

We make technology because we get bored and dissatisfied with the old stuff, because we like the challenge of being kept on our toes, of not knowing whether we’re getting in on the ground floor, or wasting our time while the competition laps us.

Mike Lee – The New Lemurs

Kyle Richter
Apple has begun to make great strides towards unifying iOS and Mac not just from a design standpoint but with functionality like Handoff and Continuity. This feels like a level of maturity on both platforms that will usher in a new wave of exciting use cases. Thinking of all your technology as a single continuous device is definitely where the future is heading and it is very refreshing to see a company like Apple getting behind that drive.

Kyle Richter – Empirical Development

Dan Shapiro
The Wear products are fascinating. It’s most of the value of Google Glass, but delivered in a way that harmonizes with social norms instead of disrupting them. I’m wearing one now and it’s still a little too intrusive, but unlike Glass, that’s a software problem, not a hardware one.

Dan Shapiro – DanShapiro.com

Michele Titolo
There were a lot of awesome things announced during WWDC. iOS 8 is really a developer release. But the thing I’m most excited about is the changes we are starting to see from Apple; they are starting to open up more. We don’t have a WWDC-specific NDA this year. The Developer Forums will be index by search engines. When we are more free to talk and write about the new frameworks and APIs, everyone wins.

Michele Titolo – Michele.io

Conor Winders
From a pure developer perspective, Apple’s announcement of the Swift programming language is one of the most exciting things to happen the platform in years. The opportunity for existing and new developers who learn the language is immense. Apple might be talking a big game about supporting Objective-C and C long term but there should be no doubt that the future of the platform is Swift. Already we have seen a number of the new features of iOS and Xcode tied intrinsically to Swift.

In theory, a new language built from the ground up for iOS and the associated hardware is an incredibly powerful proposition. Apple will be able to do things that nobody else can even dream of, and we as developers have the chance to take that journey with them. From a more realistic perspective of course, we won’t really get to use Swift in anger for a year or two anyway, but it sure will be fun when we can.

Conor Winders – Redwind Software

What excites you the most from this year’s WWDC and Google I/O? Share your questions and comments below or by using #MobileTeam on Twitter.


Making the most of WWDC 2014

Apple’s WWDC 2014 – Recommendations and Events

Apple Events WWDC 2014Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference is an amazing time to learn, connect, and enjoy San Francisco with the developer community.

For anyone who will be in San Francisco attending WWDC or the amazing AltConf that is held alongside (we’d go to San Francisco just for AltConf), we have a few recommendations of how
you can make the most of your time in SF and also a list of the after party events each day of WWDC – skip to the list of WWDC after parties and events.

Cocktails

Yes, you’ll be drinking for free at parties this week. But, should you enjoy paying for a delicious beer you can’t find anywhere else or a well made custom cocktail, try one of these places out:

Burritos

They deserve their own classification, they’re that important to SF’s developers. Just a few suggestions, we don’t intend to start any great burrito debates:

Coffeeshops away from the mess

  • Blue Bottle – venture to the Ferry Building
  • Ritual – hanging out in the Mission is always fun
  • The Grove – great cozy/homey shop with delicious food

You have to try the seafood

Some other favorites

Want to meet us at one of the places above? Hit us up on twitter – @apptentive

WWDC 2014 Evening Events

*Some events may already be full or have a wait list.

Sunday, June 1st

sf/MacIndie 2014 – Jillians from 5-9
sfMacIndie is for independent Mac and iOS developers, designers, WWDC and AltConf attendees and anyone else who’s interested. It will be a great opportunity to connect and network!

 iBeacon Adventure @ WWDC 2014 – 8pm to Wednesday Night at 8pm
We are hosting a scavenger hunt adventure! We are going to be using iBeacons and Bluetooth Low Energy (CoreBluetooth) around Union Square and South of Market during the conference. Open to all WWDC attendees at no cost and with no registration requirement.


Monday, June 2nd

NativeX Happy Hour – Novela from 5-8
Mingle and enjoy cocktails after a long day at WWDC in one of San Francisco’s most unique bars.

Xamarin’s WWDC 2014 Party – Temple from 6-9
Join Xamarin for drinks, meet other mobile developers, show off your apps and discuss the latest Apple announcements.  Even if you’re not attending WWDC, you and your friends are welcome.

TapSense WWDC Party – Jillians from 6-9
Join TapSense to learn about their 10 Million Dollar RTB Fund for app publishers. There will be food, drinks, pool, and for the second year in a row, hot apple pie.

CocoaPods 3rd WWDC Meetup – Twilio Offices from 7-10
CocoaPods is working with the Alt Conference to have a great opening event to the WWDC week: The CocoaPodsAlt State of the Union. You should come along.

5by5 WWDC Meetup – New Relic  from 8-10
Hang out with fellow listeners and meet the hosts of your favorite 5by5.tv podcasts while enjoying free food and drinks at New Relic’s beautiful San Francisco office.

Crashlytics + Twitter at WWDC – Jones from 9-1
This year they’ve “kicked things up a notch” to celebrate the amazing apps being built – go hang with many of the world’s top mobile app developers, and tons of awesome Crashlytics customers


Tuesday, June 3rd

Millennial Media Green Apple Party – The W from 5-8
Join Millennial Media on June 3rd for our Green Apple Party at the W Hotel San Francisco, where we’ll have the entire 2nd floor bar and reception area reserved for our key partners! Food, cocktails, music and other surprises await — don’t miss this event!

WWDC Reception @Sqaure – Square, Inc from 6-8
Have dinner + drinks along with tech talks, followed by networking.

Foursquare WWDC Event – Foursquare SF form 6:30-9
Foursquare’s lead iOS developer, Brian Dorfman, will share some internal iOS frameworks and discuss open source projects written by the team. Food and drinks provided.

Open House at Layer – Layer HQ from 6:30-9:30
Expect drinks, great eats and exceptional company in our new Mission District space. Meet the Layer team, hang out with other developers and take in the sunset over the Sutro skyline.

Yelp WWDC 2014 After Party – Yelp HQ from 6:30-9:30
Drinks and Hors D’oeuvres!

Sketch Meetup at WWDC – The Factory from 7-9
Come to say hi the people behind Sketch, everyone’s new favorite tool for digital design. We’re in town for WWDC, so we thought it’d be nice to see to give everyone an opportunity to put a face to some of the people behind Sketch.

AltBeard Bash WWDC 2014 – Children’s Creativity Museum at Moscone 7-10
Join Jim Dalrymple and AltConf at the Children’s Creativity Museum at Moscone on June 3 from 7:00 – 10:00 pm for a few drinks and enjoy music from the Amazing Embarrassonic Human Karaoke Machine. Be prepared to sing!

Crittercism & Localytics WWDC Party – 111 Minna Gallery from 7-11
Take a breather and enjoy some drinks and apps (appetizers) on Crittercism and Localytics.


Wednesday, June 4th

Firebase + Pebble WWDC Happy Hour – Firebase HQ 3.0 from 6-8:30
Join us for a happy hour during WWDC to learn more about the two APIs!

Pocket Gamer Mobile Mixer WWDC – Vessel from 6-9
It’s all things Apple on as the Pocket Gamer Mobile Mixer comes to town for WWDC! Find out from our all star panel best kept secrets on how to top the charts with your iOS app, then party all night long to the sounds of the legendary REY.VS.  Drinks, bites, beats and more!

WWDCGirls Fundraising Party – New Relic from 6:30-9
Please join WWDCGirls in a happy hour benefitting the non-profit App Camp For Girls. Meet and mingle, all with the aim of supporting this great cause. Refreshments and light bites will be provided

James Dempsey and the Breakpoints – 50 Mason Social House from 7-10
Come enjoy an evening of humorous and informative songs about Apple development technologies performed live by James Dempsey and the Breakpoints.

HP IDOL OnDemand Innovation Party – Local Edition from 7-10
We’ll have old school arcade games like Pac-Man, Asteroids, Tetris, and more, plenty of grub, an open bar with specialty cocktails and craft beers, a flipbook booth, a candy bar, plus amazing prizes like 2 VIP tickets to Outside Lands, an Oculus Rift Dev Kit, Arduino sets, and much more!


Thursday, June 5th

Apple Bash – Yerba Buena Gardens from 6-9
Revel in a one-of-a-kind experience with exceptional music, great food and drinks, and the cheerful company of new friends.

If we missed any events that you know about and think should be added to the list, let us know. To keep the schedule of events in your pocket download the Party List app  (Only available for iOS).

Have a great WWDC!


App Monetization

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Monetizing Mobile Apps

The experts on Apptentive’s Mobile Team provide answers to your questions about from between app development to successfully marketing your app. Got a question? Ask it in our comment section below or on Twitter using #MobileTeam. In each post we’ll highlight a different topic where the Mobile Team will share their insight and experience.

This week we asked the Mobile Team:
What common mistakes should app developers avoid when trying to monetize their apps?

Rod Burns
The biggest mistake developers make is not devoting enough time to figuring out what their monetization strategy is. They have probably spent a very long time crafting their app but spend only a small amount of time figuring out the monetization mechanics. Understand your target audience/demographic and decide your strategy. Once launched use analytics to understand how people are using your app and keep pivoting, it’ll probably take some different tactics to get it right!

Rod Burns - WIP

Chiu-Ki Chan
Monetization is an integral part of app development. Not only that you should think about it from the beginning, you also need to keep adjusting it after launch. Experiment with different price points. Run discounts from time to time. Provide different bundles for your in-app products. Better start with a high price and adjust down – you may anger your users if you hike up the price after they got comfortable with the cheap options.

Chiu-Ki Chan -Square Island

Dan Counsell
Time and time again I’ve seen developers go straight to freemium and make pretty much nothing at launch, simply because they give away too much and didn’t attract enough users.

Unless you’re sure you can consistently get millions of downloads each month, then freemium is not for you. Paid is still far better for indie developers. If your app does well in the paid charts you can always try moving to freemium further down the line.

If you’re launching as freemium or switching to it, you should proceed with extreme caution.

Dan Counsell - DanCounsell.com

Ben Johnson
What Dan Counsell (above) said. I’ve both witnessed and personally experienced the perils of going freemium and giving away too much. Don’t undervalue your work and don’t be afraid to charge appropriately. If people don’t buy what you’re selling, then have the price cut conversation, but don’t set the bar too low right out of the gate.

Ben Johnson – Raizlabs

Mike Lee
There’s only one right way to make money and that’s by providing value. When you think only in terms of how you could make money, you’re thinking only of yourself. You get customers the way you get anyone else, by thinking of what they need, not what you want or can get away with.

Mike Lee – The New Lemurs

Kyle Richter
The biggest problem with App Store monetization is that developers often wait till after they have thought up and designed the project to add monetization on top of it. The most successful freemium apps are those that plan their in app purchase from the ground up and make it part of the experience.

Kyle Richter – Empirical Development

Dan Shapiro
If you are considering charging for your app, the most important question is how much it costs you to acquire a user. If you plan to advertise for your users, you need to understand your cost per click and conversion rate so that you know how much you need to charge to recoup it; this will often be $4.99+. If you are getting users for free, then you can target the much more attractive $0.99 price point. There’s nothing worse than advertising for an app and losing money on each install!

Dan Shapiro – DanShapiro.com

Michele Titolo
When making an app that you’re charging upfront for, don’t be tied to one price point. Be willing to play around a bit, and find where you can really maximize your revenue. Also, for more expensive apps, putting them on sale for a limited time can help generate buzz and get users exposed to your brand. Never underestimate the power of a user loving your brand!

Michele Titolo – Michele.io

Conor Winders
The price point or monetization strategy should be thought out at the very early stage of development. Whether to go free, paid, freemium, etc should impact how the app is built and what the user journeys are in the app. Often we see developers go premium and build an experience based on that, but then try and change the monetization strategy later on. I’ve rarely see that approach work. Research and decide up front exactly how you plan on monetizing and use that to inform how users will experience your app, don’t try and decide later on or change it later on.

And the other piece of advice I would have for anyone going premium is to immediately forget about how much you think your app is worth and canvas real world opinions from people you don’t know. Your friends will all tell you that your app is worth whatever you tell them you are planning on charging. However, the real world app store doesn’t work like that and you need to get real insight from your potential users.

Conor Winders – Redwind Software

Do you have any monetization strategies that were a success or lead to failure? Share your questions and comments below or by using #MobileTeam on Twitter.


Mobile App Group Message

Introducing Groups and Group Messaging

Groups and Group Messages enable you to place your customers into groups. This allows you to proactively send messages via Message Center to groups of customers who have similar interests, feedback, or questions regarding your app. These messages are delivered directly to the customer in app, and are a great way to follow up with your customers to keep them informed about the changes, fixes, and updates to your mobile app.

Creating Groups and Adding People

There are two ways to get started with Group Messages:

First, while viewing a conversation with a person, click on the “add/edit” link under “Groups” in the right hand panel. You may then add the person to a new or existing group, as well as remove the person from any existing groups that they may be a member of.

GroupInConversation

Second, click the “Groups” link from within the “Interactions” section of our website. You’ll be able to view all of the groups you have created, create new groups, and views details about specific groups.

CreateGroup

Sending a Group Message

Once your groups are created and you’ve added customers to them, you can send a message to the group by clicking on “Group Messages” within the “Conversations” section of our website.

For each group message you send, you can select the sender, the target group, and create the message. You can give each message a title, which is not shown to customers, that will help you manage the messages that have already been sent.

When you click “Send,” the message will be immediately sent to all people currently in the group. You can click on “Sent Group Messages” to see the  messages you’ve previously sent.

SendGroupMessage

Important Notes

When using Group Messages, please be aware of the following:

  • Messages are sent immediately to all members of the group and cannot be cancelled.
  • Messages are only sent to members of the group at the time the message is sent– if you subsequently add a person to a group, they will not receive any previously sent messages.
  • Group Messages will cause a notification (e.g. Push, Email) if you have them configured for your app.
  • Group Messages will not be forwarded to external integrations if you have them configured for your app (e.g. Zendesk, UserVoice, etc.). If the customer replies to the Group Message the response will, however, be sent to these systems.
  • Group Messages are supported on all versions of our SDKs that include Message Center.

We are really excited to announce the release of Groups and Group Messaging to all of our customers on a paid plan. The ability to group customers with similar interests, concerns, or questions into a single group and follow up with all them is an incredibly powerful tool. It creates a positive customer experience and helps you bring your customer support to the next level.

Following up with your customers can have a large impact on your customer base, and to show you what we mean, please read –  The Power of the Follow-Up Message. If you have any questions or feedback, don’t hesitate to send us a message from within the Apptentive Dashboard or through our contact form.

Xcode

24 App Development Tools to Help You Work like the Pros

The experts on Apptentive’s Mobile Team provide answers to your questions about from between app development to successfully marketing your app. Got a question? Ask it in our comment section below or on Twitter using #MobileTeam. In each post we’ll highlight a different topic where the Mobile Team will share their insight and experience.

This week we asked the Mobile Team:
What are your favorite resources or tools for app development and why?


Chiu-Ki Chan
My go-to resource is appdevwiki.com, a treasure trove for both Android and iOS. It has a great collection of libraries to jump start your app, but also links to design patterns, mobile services, app marketing etc, covering all the different aspects of mobile development.

Chiu-Ki Chan -Square Island

Dan Counsell
Beanstalk and Lighthouse without a doubt. While these tools are not directly for development, we literally couldn’t manage without them. Beanstalk has been our preferred platform for version control since I can remember, mainly due to the fact that we have a mixture of older Subversion projects along with newer Git based projects. Lighthouse on the other hand helps us manage the release roadmap for all our apps, everything from bugs to big feature releases.

Dan Counsell - DanCounsell.com

Ben Johnson
In the discovery phase we use communication tools like Basecamp and Hipchat to keep our teams in sync. We wireframe apps with Adobe Illustrator and push pixels with Photoshop. As of late we’ve started prototyping animations in Quartz Composer and on device.

During distribution we use a continuous build system called Jenkins and a distribution tool we built called AppBlade – both tie in and work well together. On the analysis side we’ve used tools like UserTesting.com for light usability testing of apps, Crittercism for ongoing crash reporting and usage monitoring, and Localytics for deep analytics tracking and user segmentation.

Ben Johnson – Raizlabs

Mike Lee
I use Xcode and Instruments and all the standard tools as provided by the platform provider on a stock system that’s as normal as possible. It’s not cool or edgy or anything, but it’s really convenient when I need help. It’s hard enough when things go wrong without having some weird configuration.

Mike Lee – The New Lemurs

Leigh Momii
There are lots of great forum based sites out there where you can ask the community questions and get answers. I regularly visit sites like StackOverflow, as an example. For mockups/UI, it’s hard to beat a tool as clean and simple as Balsamiq. My favorite IDE is still Visual Studio – the amount of options in there along with the debugging tools is awesome. I also really appreciate what PhoneGap and Bootstrap have done for development and enjoyed dabbling with them – very powerful!

Leigh Momii – HTC

Kyle Richter
There are basic tools such as Xcode that every developer will use. However as you begin to grow to work with larger teams(both large and small) additional tools become a necessity. For issue tracking I like LighthouseApp, its basic enough not to be overwhelming or confusing while being powerful enough for large teams.

For communication Google Hangouts is great for free video calls between multiple parties and Campfire for private text based group chat. Of course version control is a good idea for single developers, but its critical for groups, I like git with github as a provider. The most important thing is to find tools that solve the problems you are having, there is no solution that works for everyone. See what tasks are holding you up and consuming your time and find a tool to make it less of a problem.

Kyle Richter – Empirical Development

Dan Shapiro
Amazon mechanical turk. This under-appreciated resource is terrific for doing market surveys, quick and dirty usability tests on new designs, compatibility testing, and more. You’ll get a fair amount of junk back, but at a buck or two a pop, you can afford to ignore feedback that’s not helpful.

Dan Shapiro – DanShapiro.com

Michele Titolo
Most of the tools I use revolve around API calls. For debugging these, I mainly use 3 tools. Firstly, Postman (Chrome extension), is great for reproducing requests. The best thing about Postman is that you can export a collection of requests as JSON. Secondly, Charles Proxy (Mac app) is the best for quickly seeing what’s actually going on, especially when you’re not sure requests are being triggered. Lastly, I started using Runscope (SaaS) to easily send details about requests, as well as monitor endpoints for changes.

Michele Titolo – Michele.io

Conor Winders
Hands down the absolute best development tool I started using last year was Reveal. Reveal lets you inspect the interface of your iOS app at run time, as well as make and test changes on the fly. It’s not that I use Reveal with every app we build, but when I do need to use it, it is simply the most amazing and useful tool in my workflow.

Have you ever been stuck in the “tweak font/frame/anything size/position, build & run. Not quite right, :( try again” loop for more than 2 minutes? Have you ever worked on a super complex, multilayered interface that you just can’t build and test in Interface Builder? Have you ever wondered why the hell a particular view isn’t showing up or receiving touches? Reveal will help you debug and fix all of these problems and more in minutes. I’ve literally saved weeks thanks to this app.

Conor Winders – Redwind Software

What tools or resources to you find to be exceptionally helpful during app development? Share your questions and comments below or by using #MobileTeam on Twitter.

Mobile Team

The Mobile Team

The experts on Apptentive’s Mobile Team provide answers to your questions about everything between app development to successfully marketing your app. Got a question? Ask it in our comment section below or on Twitter using #MobileTeam. In each post we’ll spotlight a different topic where the Mobile Team will share their insight and expertise.

Meet the Team

Rod Burns
Rod Burns – Rod Burns has been working in mobile for more than 13 years and working with mobile app developers well before the iPhone revolutionized the space (when app pre-installs were the holy grail for developers). He worked on the platform side with Symbian, the device side at Sony, and helped games developers make amazing experiences at Marmalade, giving him a good perspective on all pieces of the mobile puzzle. Most recently he has been working with WIP, helping mobile developers be awesome through events like WIPJam and helping companies build communities around their developer programs.

WIP

Chiu-Ki
Chiu-Ki Chan – Chiu-Ki is a mobile developer with a passion in speaking and teaching. Her mother tongue for mobile is Android, acquired while working on Android Maps at Google. Now she runs her own mobile development company, producing delightful apps such as “Monkey Write” for learning Chinese writing and “Heart Collage” for snapping photos to stitch into a heart. When she is not writing apps, she can be found traveling the world, sometimes sightseeing, sometimes dispensing Android tips on stage at various tech conferences.

Square Island

Doug Chavez
Doug Chavez – Doug Chavez is Senior Vice President for Universal McCann Worldwide where he focuses on emerging technology with an emphasis on social and mobile media business strategy. Doug has strong has proven track record of leading marketing transformation with clients such as Del Monte Foods, McDonald’s, Yahoo!, Charles Schwab and Ghirardelli. Prior to UM, Doug was vice president of global marketing at RadiumOne, an ad platform that leverages social sharing insights to expand audience segments across the web and mobile landscape. Doug is a frequent speaker about mobile and social strategy and how brands are evolving their conversations with consumers with strong mobile and social strategies.

DougChavez.com

Dan Counsell
Dan Counsell – Dan Counsell is the founder of Realmac Software, an award winning independent Mac and iOS development studio based in Brighton, UK. He’s been designing, building and shipping apps for over ten years, these include Clear, Ember and RapidWeaver.

DanCounsell.com

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson – Ben has been building apps and thinking about mobile since the beginning of the App Store. Before Raizlabs he founded his own mobile consulting company and created a breakthrough calendar app, Free Time, which was recognized by Apple as a New and Noteworthy iPhone app. At Raizlabs he has been involved in dozens of projects helping clients push the envelope with innovative mobile technology. Ben is also a co-organizer of Boston’s premier mobile meetup, Drinks on Tap and has spoken at a variety of mobile conferences on the benefits of animations in mobile software.

Raizlabs

Kevin Kim
Kevin Kim – Kevin Y. Kim is a founder and partner of AppOrchard LLC, a Tipping Point Partners company focused on sustainable iOS development. After graduating Carnegie Mellon University, Kevin was first exposed to the NeXTStep computer (the ancestor of today’s iPhone) while a programmer at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and has been hooked ever since. His career has spanned over 20 years developing systems in finance, government, biotech and technology, including Apple where he managed the Apple Enterprise Services team for the New York metro area. His latest book, More iOS 6 Development: Further Explorations of the iOS SDK, is currently available through Apress. He resides in the Alphabet City section of New York City with his wife and a clowder of rescued cats.

AppOrchard

Mike Lee
Mike Lee – Mike Lee was a Mac developer whose religion changed when iPhone was announced. He grew up in Hawaii and learned to code in Seattle, but moved to California to work at some startups and a local fruit company before traveling the world and ending up in Amsterdam making educational games. He is frequently seen on stage talking about life, the universe, and iOS.

The New Lemurs

Leigh Momii
Leigh Momii – Leigh is a Product Manager at HTC. Her background is in computer science. She worked in aerospace and consulting as a software engineer prior to coming to HTC where she started out as a developer evangelist. She then transitioned into product management to gain experience in a different facet of the mobile industry. She is a proud Seattle native. When she’s not geeking out on my laptop or HTC, you may find her journeying to remote places of the globe in search of the best eats and hangouts. She is also a huge sports enthusiast, and enjoys martial arts, board games, and video games.

HTC

Kyle Richter
Kyle Richter – Kyle Richter is the founder of Dragon Forged Software an award winning iOS and Mac development company, and co-founder of Empirical Development a for-hire iOS shop. Kyle began writing code in the early 90s and has always been dedicated to the Mac platform. He has written several books on iOS development including Beginning iOS Game Center Development, Beginning Social Game Development, and iOS Components and Frameworks Advanced Programming. He manages a team of over 30 full time iOS developers and runs day to day operations at 3 development companies. Kyle travels the world speaking on development and entrepreneurship, currently he calls the Florida Keys his home.

Empirical Development

Dan Shapiro
Dan Shapiro – Shapiro was the founder and CEO of Ontela (now Photobucket), the leading mobile imaging platform. Previously he managed product for Wildseed, the creator of the first linux-based cell phone. He’s also the founder of Sparkbuy (sold to Google) and Robot Turtles, the best selling board game in Kickstarter history.

DanShapiro.com

Michele Titolo
Michele Titolo – Michele Titolo is a software engineer who ships great products. She has lead development teams to success in the App Store, and raised and maintained quality standards on the projects she works on. She is a Core Team member of CocoaPods, and organizes for both Women Who Code and Appsterdam in SF.

Michele.io

Conor Winders
Conor Winders – Conor Winders is the CEO and co-founder of Redwind Software, Ireland’s leading mobile apps and games developer. Releasing his first iOS game back in 2008 when the App Store launched, Conor has worked on over 150 apps to date. Redwind builds and publishes original titles as well as working with some of the worlds biggest brands including Heineken, Elvis Presley, Paddy Power and Deal or No Deal. A tech-enthusiast and self-proclaimed Apple fanboy Conor lives and breathes mobile.

Redwind Software

Do you have any questions for the Mobile Team? Share your questions either in the comments below or by using #MobileTeam on Twitter.

App Rankings and Ratings

A Break Down of iOS App Rankings by Ratings in the Apple App Store

It’s not easy getting your app discovered in the app store, and it’s getting increasingly challenging every day as more apps are added. As the popularity of mobile apps rises, Google and Apple are feeling pressure to refine and improve their search algorithms. One of the biggest changes in recent months was the increased weight of ratings and reviews in Apple’s app store.

The change made the number of ratings you have and the ratings themselves become more influential in the ranking of your app. This is a way for Apple to legitimize apps, establish app credibility, and make sure people don’t cheat the system by purchasing downloads from bots to boost their Top Charts rankings. It is similar to linkbuilding in SEO. If a lot of other websites are  linking to a certain site, that site must be credible. If a lot of users are rating and reviewing apps, not only do you know that the downloads are coming from real people, but you can also measure overall satisfaction with the app.

At MobileDevHQ we are in the business of helping apps improve their organic discovery. Ratings and reviews have now become an important part of app store optimization (ASO), so we decided to sift through our data to see what kind of information we could find about the ratings of top 10 apps.

Ratings By The Numbers

Our data comes from analyzing the top 10 apps in every category, and pulling the number of ratings along with what those ratings were.

So what can you get from these numbers? First, I want to stress again that these are not rating numbers you need to hit in order to make it in the Top Charts, but rather the average of the apps that are currently in the top 10 for every category. There are more factors that influence your ranking than just ratings.

That being said, there are some interesting patterns in, and differences between, the numbers.

Apps In The Top 5 Have More Than Twice The Number Of Ratings

The numbers show that, on average, the apps in the top 5 of any Top Chart have more than twice the number of ratings as apps in ranked between 6 and 10. It is clear that ratings are important and have some relationship, direct or indirect, to breaking into the top 5 apps.

Top Apps Get Good Ratings (*Surprise!*)

There isn’t a lot of world-changing information in the analysis of what the ratings actually are for top apps. Overall, the difference between apps in the top 5 and apps ranked 6-10 is 0.4 stars. The takeaway? Top apps have high ratings. Only 13% of the apps had a rating of less than 3, and over 60% of the apps had a rating greater than 4. We can’t claim any causation here, but it’s clear that high ratings are a shared characteristic between top rated apps, and shouldn’t be ignored.

Free Gets Rated More but Paid Gets Rated Higher

Below are the top 10 categories that had the most ratings, as well as the top 10 categories with the highest ratings.

It’s no surprise that social networking apps get the most ratings as they will, by their nature, receive the most downloads. However, it’s also interesting to note that they are not in the list of top 10 categories that receive the highest ratings.

Paid apps seem to get very high ratings. There are 7 paid categories in the top 10 rated categories, compared to just 0 in the top 10 number of ratings.

Free iPhone Games Apps and Free iPhone Apps seem to take the cake overall. They are the only two categories that are in both of the top 10 lists. Reference, Photo & Video, and Lifestyle Apps see a lot of ratings when they are free (most likely due to higher download numbers), but the paid versions get rated higher. Although the Free versions get downloaded more, consumers are happier with the paid versions.

In contrast, two of the under-performing categories were Paid Medical Apps and Paid Travel Apps. The top 10 apps in Paid Medical Apps received an average of 13,052 ratings at 3.8 stars. The top 10 in Paid Travel Apps had an average of 10,440 ratings at 3.8 stars.

What can you take away from this information? Well, if we make the assumption that the number of ratings and what the ratings are is a good measure of user happiness, it seems that if you are thinking of creating an app, these two categories have not yet been hit with a killer app users love. Both of them are right at the average star rating and well below the average number of ratings, and they are both very lucrative markets. Just something to consider :)

Wrapping It Up

Ratings are important. That’s clear and simple. Although there isn’t a magic number that will guarantee a spot in the Top Charts, it is clear that if you are trying to get into them, you can’t ignore ratings. You should be proactively prompting users to rate your app, and creating a great product to make sure those ratings are good.

About the Author:
Alex Klein is in charge of marketing at MobileDevHQ. He is a graduate of University of Washington, and has passions for marketing, tech, and sports. Connect with him on Twitter.

Renaissance IO

Renaissance IO – The Best Way To Start 2014 For iOS Developers

Renaissance IO

There’s no shortage of mobile conferences these days – it seems like every week we turn around and hear about a new event talking about the mobile revolution and what you should be doing about it. However, not all conferences are created equal. As a relationship-driven company, we tend to favor smaller, more intimate conferences, like AltWWDC and 360iDev. Events like this are a great place to create meaningful connections and to truly dig in on topics that matter to you, rather than hearing the standard platitudes and marketing speak. The best ones always have the same thing in common – amazing people passionate about what they do who want to help their peers.

As you kick off your 2014, we’d like to highlight a conference in the same vein that’s happening at the end of this month in San Francisco: Renaissance IO. What’s special about Renaissance IO? I’m glad you asked.

Renaissance places YOU at the front and center to learn, connect, and be inspired to make better apps. In such an intimate setting, everyone is able to meet every other attendee, even all the speakers. The opportunity to form meaningful relationships with your fellow peers should not be overlooked. The Renaissance IO community itself makes the conference more than worth the trip as you walk away with new friends as well as knowledge.

We believe the relationships that can come from this kind of conference are extremely meaningful and have a positive impact on your work and your life. For our readers you have from now through January 15 to use the “apptentive” discount code for $100 off the low three-day registration price. Don’t miss out and register now!

Why is Renaissance IO an iOS app makers’ conference?

Because the conference is for people who make apps and every speaker, organizer, and moderator is an active app maker. There is more than just the coding involved in making a great app and Renaissance IO provides a ton of guidance for you to become a complete app maker.

Renaissance IO will be building on the success of its inaugural 2013 conference. Some of the most successful indie iOS devs will be in attendance to share their success stories. Oh and experts from small companies you might have heard of like Google, Apigee, Flipboard, Smule and Yahoo! will be there too. The speaker list is pretty inspiring, check it out.

If making great iOS applications is part of your New Year’s resolutions then start 2014 by investing in yourself.

Meet Apptentive!

We’re huge fans of what Tim Burks, the organizer, has done to build the iOS community in the Bay Area. The Apptentive team will be there to meet with app makers and share our knowledge on how to best communicate with your app customers. In addition, we’re offering all attendees six months of the Apptentive Pro plan free of charge as well as on-site coaching to make the most of our services.

Come find us at Renaissance!

Joining the Renaissance

Renaissance IO is geared to help iOS developers be true Renaissance men and women who are well rounded in technical, creative, and business aspects of app production. Whatever kind of help you may need to be a successful app maker, Renaissance IO is guaranteed to help. Head over to the event page and grab a ticket.

See you there!

Mobile App Development

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Mobile App Developers in 2014

Mobile Apps 2014
2013 marked the year of mobile app proliferation. It is uncommon to find someone, of any age, who hasn’t experienced using a mobile app. The mobile marketplace itself has shown maturity in design, functionality, advertisements, customer communication, and crafting a sustainable business.

With the improvements to mobile apps over the year, mobile app developers and companies are faced with a more difficult challenge than any before – customer expectations. The average person using mobile apps has considerable experience with a large range of apps and expect the best.

To have a successful app in 2014, here are 5 resolutions that shouldn’t be broken.

1. Customer Communication

Customer support, customer service, and a great customer experience  is more important than ever for every mobile app, no matter what vertical you’re in. Having a direct communication channel between you and your customers can be the difference between a successful app and one that fails.

Every app would rather receive feedback  directly from customers instead of receiving it in the app store accompanied by a negative review. Being able to listen and respond to customers is the foundation of exceptional support and service. Taking an unhappy customer and solving their problem can easily turn a negative experience into a positive one. Be sure to listen to your customers in-app in 2014 and you will be rewarded.

2. Improved Performance

Even with the large number of apps that are available, only 40% of them actually get used and a large portion of these are plagued by performance issues. Apps that crash, freeze, or are just plain slow are often immediately deleted. Consumers don’t care to deal with a low performance application, especially when there is bound to be an alternative app (or five) they can use. App performance needs to be constantly tracked and monitored.

Here are a couple of things to remember when measuring (and testing) your app’s performance:

  • Track performance on multiple devices and operating systems
  • Track performance on different networks: wifi, 3g, 4g, and LTE

Create apps that perform well on any network, the majority of devices, and the most recent operating systems. Apps that don’t perform well rarely get revisited. Even after performance issues get fixed, it is unlikely a customer will choose to download the app again. Test and measure throughout every step of the development cycle.

3. Intelligent Advertising

Advertising provides revenue for many mobile apps and often serves as an app discovery tool as well. However, people don’t open an app to see an advertisement and too ads can ruin the experience and cause low retention rates. Even a single poorly placed ad can cause someone to close the app, lose interest in completing a purchase, or discourage someone from using the app again.

Be intelligent when and where you advertise inside your apps. Make an effort to incorporate your ads as seamlessly as possible. Don’t settle for using ad networks that have low quality advertisements that degrade the overall design of your app.

4. Design Updates

Design has become one of the most important aspects for a successful mobile app. Both iOS 7 and KitKat are focused on design and apps need to start reflecting this. In Apple’s case, all apps must be compliant with iOS 7 by February 1st.

To get started on improving your app design, take a look at these resources:

5. Security

Security is a real issue for everybody using mobile apps. In a recent report from HP, 97% of apps contained a privacy issue, 86% lacked basic security defenses, and 75% fail to properly encrypt personal data. As the general population starts to rely more heavily on using mobile apps, security is of the utmost importance.

The newer operating systems give consumers more control than ever over their privacy settings, but many don’t understand the implications and security concerns surrounding mobile apps. As an app developer it is incredibly important to develop apps that are secure from the ground up. You may not be reliable for any breaches in security, but you have an obligation to protect customer information to the best of your ability.

New Year’s Resolutions for 2014

Mobile app developers hold the future of how we interact with technology, connect with companies, and organize our lives. Follow these 5 New Year’s resolutions that mobile app developers should not break, and you’ll be off to a great start.