A Rough Week For App Store Developers

The last 7 days was a bumpy ride for the whole App Store ecosystem. Being one of the leading developers there (at least in Productivity space) we are aiming to create great user experience at any given point of time, so if Apple needs our help – we are happy to provide whatever needed.

Watch OS 2 Issue

The things started to go down around iOS 9 release, when Apple announced that Watch OS 2 cannot go live because of a critical bug. The damage to the ecosystem wasn’t critical because there are not too many Apple Watches in the world right now, and Apple was quick with the fixes a few days after.

App Store Analytics Struggles

A few weeks ago we’ve noticed some issues in our app numbers and those from App Store Analytics. They simple were not matching, so it’s hard for us to make business decisions (be it picking the wining A/B test, or the right numbers for our app page conversions. Once we reported this, App Store told us that analytics “is broken for iOS 8.4.1”.

Yesterday, I noticed that App Store analytics doesn’t work for iOS 9 devices.

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.32.19

Once again, it’s not critical. But we’ve been working on iOS 9 updates for all our apps for over 2 months, and it would be great to see how people use those features, adoption and so on.

iTunes Connect Delays

Update: If your builds are stuck in “processing, try to reload them”.

The way iTunes Connect works is simple. You compile your app build with Xcode, upload that to iTC with Application Loader and the build should be available for submission to the App Store.

Yesterday we’ve updated 4 flagship apps (Scanner Pro, PDF Expert, Documents and Spark) to support 3D touch and Quick Actions on the new iPhones. We always add new functionality to our software to take the most from the new hardware. In the end, this will help Apple to sell more iPhones 6s.

However, our apps are stuck in “processing” the build to iTC for over 10 hours already. I looked on Twitter, and saw many other developers struggling with the same issue.

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Truth be told, Apple is being very responsive and willing to help. So hopefully, we can get our apps in the App Store right before iPhone 6s release, so the new users can enjoy Quick Actions – it’s really going to change how we use apps.

Room For Improvement

Apple is definitely doing a lot right, and I personally love that company. All I want is a stable ecosystem for both developers and customers. Because in the end, this defines Apple’s own success in selling iOS devices to tens of millions people. Unfortunately, not that many developers these days can build sustainable businesses around apps (unlike in 2012). The whole App Store mechanics has changed, but that’s whole another issue that deserves a separate blog post.

We, and other developers, are always open for feedback and help when it comes to fixing the ecosystem or finding bugs. Giving the volume of apps it’s not an easy task for Apple to get everything right, but there’s no-one else on this planet who can do it better than them.

Final iOS 9 Checklist For Your App

Tomorrow we will witness another great keynote by Apple, where they will release the latest and greatest products. The reports say that we should expect iPhone 6S (also a new Rose Gold color), iPad Pro, Apple TV, iOS 9 and a few more things.

Is your app ready for iOS 9?

Let’s go thought a quick checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.

Apple wants to see these iOS 9 features in your apps asap:
– App Search (CoreSpotlight, Web Markup)
– User Activity
– Multitasking (Slide Over, Split View)
– New HealthKit quantity types/ HomeKit
– Metal

If you add these, it’ll improve your chances of being featured on the App Store as iOS 9 compatible apps.

Multi-Tasking is one of the biggest features for productivity apps and where context matters.

-Slide-Over (iPad Air) -it’s like a tall iPhone app design with 320×1024 resolution.

-Split-Screen (iPad Air 2) – more details below.

multitasking-size-classes_2x

-Picture in Picture (iPad Air)

Search is going to be big. It adds this extra layer of contextual knowledge and removes friction. The new Search will include User Activity and Core Spotlight – make sure you’ve added that.

Other iOS 9 features that are nice to have:

  • Open In in Place
  • App Thinning (Slicing is very easy to implement, On-Demand Resources mostly make sense for games or content heavy apps, Bitcode)
  • Coalesced Touches / Predicted Touches
  • New Extensions
  • Web Markup
  • Universal Links
  • Support for Right-to-Left languages

You can find more info about iOS 9 at WWDC 15 talks:

Once you are done with technical part, don’t forget to tell all this to the world.

Educate Your Users.

Your users will be the first people in the world to appreciate all the hard work you’ve done for them in iOS 9 update. So don’t forget to add What’s New description on the App Store App page. I think it’s not enough, so we also added a quick note inside our apps, so every user will be able to see the new features. Moreover, we’re doing a huge email campaign and educating our users why iOS 9 is cool and why split view is such a big deal for productivity apps.

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Let Apple Know.

App Store team should be your best friend and ally. If you don’t know anyone from the App Store global team – you really should hustle and get in touch with them. As soon as you are done with the updates, let them know about each app and what kind of iOS 9 features you’ve added. My guess is that there will be a huge feature on the iOS 9 compatible apps – you really have to be there to get recognition, karma and millions of eyeballs.

Get Press.

Journalists and bloggers who use your products are the best advocates. Once you add useful and shiny features to your apps – they will gladly share this with their readers. So drop a quick note to them and tell them what’s up. If your stuff is cool – you are going to be covered. Also, use your blog and social media to spread the word.

I can add more technical details that are useful for devs (especially on Search and Multitasking) – so feel free to ask.

Did I forget anything ?