There are lots of misconceptions out there about what it takes to be an app developer. Especially in the genre of music apps for Apple mobile Apple devices there are tons of apps and great ones at that so competition definitely exists. But I’ve talked with a lot of other developers and have yet to meet someone who isn’t a great person so that’s definitely a big plus.
As you can already guess this is not going to be one of those number posts. Instead I’m going to write about some of the things our team has found out that might be of great importance to whoever creates apps (be they audio/music related or not).
If you create useful and ideally beautiful apps, you will receive attention. Not just by people but also by Apple. They pick beautiful apps and they feature them prominently in multiple spots. The iPad Version of SoundPrism has been featured for roughly a month on multiple locations in the App store.
Obviously the higher you are in the charts, the more you will sell. But your ranking in the charts will mean more than being featured by Apple because you will be visible on top of the important lists for people buying apps on their devices. Some of them won’t see the big banners visible in iTunes on their desktops because they buy apps directly on their iPads.
As far as I can tell being featured with a huge banner on top of everything in the App Store store wasn’t half as good as being in the ‘What’s hot’ section on the top left corner. So if you want to you can take home from this that you should put as much love into your app as possible because Apple likes beautiful things. It payed off for us.
What’s a bit tricky:
We’ve started with an iPad App which turned out to be a great idea. Not only is there quite a hype going on and whoever develops iPad apps exclusively will profit from that but also is there only one version of the operating system (iOS 3.2) and only one hardware that you will have to develop for. The iPad Screen is large and bright, colors will be great. The iPad is fast so if you’re not able to tweak the §&§$ out of the platform yet you’ve got some very forgiving hardware which has lots of resources.
That being said we’ve got very good developers and even they had work hard on tweaking and optimize things for the iPad before our initial launch.
Also we knew some very good developers who had been creating iPhone and iPod apps before. But even they weren’t able to help us with some memory leaks that were supposed to be fixed already. In the end we had to remove some eye candy from SoundPrism to be able to ship a bug free version.
The iPad is still a young platform so this was to be expected.
If you’re unsure of if your app will run on older generation iPods or iPhones, then go for the iPad first. Only one (powerful) hardware version and only one OS version gives you lots of head room and few limitations you have to keep in mind.
Going universal (releasing for both iPad and iPod/iPhone) for platforms of all generations is hard.
Especially so after you’ve released for the iPad and have used most of it’s ressources already.
Our team spent a month optimizing our sound engine to be able to run on first generation iPods. Optimizing graphics and graphic effects was part of that process as well. More eye candy had to be removed.
When developing for 8 different devices (iPhone 1, 3G, 3Gs, 4, iPod 1, 2, 3, 4) with different screen resolutions, speakers, screen brightness, performance and multiple versions of the operating system (iPod 1st gen can only use iOS 3.1.3 at most while the iPod 4 and iPhone 4 start out with iOS 4) then you’ve got a basket full of things you have to keep in mind.
You can also choose to ignore that and have your users end up with a version of the software that makes them send you angry mails and leave upset comments on your website, blog or in reviews of your app. Or you can decide on releasing later and fixing and tweaking things for 1, 2 or 3 more weeks.
We’ve chosen the last option and I hope it shows.