“The market for paid iOS apps isn’t dead”

Marco Arment writes about the state of pricing and sales in the ever-crowded iOS market:

If you make another RSS reader or Twitter client, there are certainly a lot of people who could use it, but you’ll need to compete with very mature, established apps. Competing in these categories isn’t about price: it’s about relevance and attention. If you can’t find enough customers here, it’s probably not because you’re charging $2.99 instead of $1.99 or $0 — it’s because your app isn’t convincing enough people that it’s worth using over the alternatives.

For these “Big Six” apps, price is almost irrelevant. If your app is useful enough for many of its customers to use it almost every day, they’ll pay a decent price for it. (Not all of them will — but you don’t need all of them.) The challenge is either making your app that much better than the alternatives, or finding new app roles that are that useful to a lot of people.

Of course—and as he mentions—the poor design of the App Store doesn’t help people get noticed, but the point about breaking into established markets is something that applies everywhere IMO.

Apple IDs and Passwords in Plain Text

Lex Friedman for Macworld has a report on the in-app purchases hack that’s been circulating. The most amazing part:

iOS users who try the hack may find that, in addition to robbing the developers behind apps that they enjoy, they’ve put themselves at risk. “I can see the Apple ID and password,” for accounts that try the hack, Borodin told Macworld. “But not the credit card information.” Borodin said that he was “shocked” that passwords were passed in plain text and not encrypted.

According to Tabini, though, “Apple presumes it’s talking to its own server with a valid security certificate.” But that was clearly a mistake—“This is entirely Apple’s fault,” Tabini added.

Anyone who has done this is fortunate that the first person who found the hack seems to be a pretty nice guy.

And this being the case is shocking.

Replying to App Store Reviews

Matt Gemmell:

As developers with a functional centralised software distribution mechanism, we love to complain about capricious reviews by customers. It’s so unfair, we essentially say. And it no doubt is, but at some point, at least one party has to stop being a teenager – and it won’t be our customers.

Crappy reviews aren’t surprising, even if your software is the best thing ever. I always get a mild feeling of unreality when I (regularly) hear a CrapStore-review complaining session, because people haven’t changed.

His analysis of why people write super-critical things for no apparent reason applies not just to iOS reviews, but also to pretty much every software-related customer service situation ever.

Sometimes the best decision is not to give the people who are saying crazy things about you an audience.

Internet translation: don’t feed the trolls.

Scorekeeper for iOS

If you regularly play games that require manual scorekeeping, you should check this out:

It’s from Matt Rix, the guy who made Trainyard (which was coincidentally enough one of the games discussed in the article I linked yesterday).

The static screenshots of the app didn’t convince me, but seeing it in motion really sells it. It’s a universal app and it’s free for a limited time.

Thanks to Lance Willett for pointing me to this.

Money and the App Store

Emeric Thoa of The Game Bakers:

Eighteen months ago, when I left Ubisoft to start an independent game studio and focus on making my own games, I looked online a bit to get an idea of how much income I could expect to make as an indie. At Ubisoft I used to work on big AAA console games, and I had some figures in mind, but I knew they wouldn’t be relevant for my new life: $20M budgets, teams of 200 hundred people, 3 million sales at $70 per unit… I knew being an indie developer would be completely different, but I had very little information about how different it would be.

Angry Birds had taken off, Plants vs. Zombies was already a model, Doodle Jump was a good example of success, and soon after I started my “indie” life, Cut the Rope was selling a million copies a week. But except for what I call the “jackpots,” there were very few public stories or numbers on the web, and this meant we were a bit in the dark when we started SQUIDS. I have been tracking figures since then, and I’m writing this article to share what I’ve learned with my fellow indie dev buddies who might be in the same position I was, a year and a half ago.

In this article, I will present all of the post-mortems and figures I’ve found interesting, and I will also explain how SQUIDS fits into the overall picture. But first, I would like to quickly give my opinion on few of the App Store myths you may believe if you’re not an experienced iOS developer. There are plenty of ways to view the App Store, but my point is that you might be a bit surprised by what the App Store really means in terms of money.

This is a great piece with some sharp analysis of how the App Store economy runs and what’s needed to create and make a living off a hit iOS game. If you’ve ever wondered how the business side of that $5 app you just downloaded runs you should give this a read.

(via Clint Hocking.)

MacGourmet on Sale

For its 7th anniversary, MacGourmet is currently on sale for a great price, and you can get the standard version for $9.99 or the Deluxe version (what I just bought) for $24.99 on the App Store.

That’s about half-off for the Deluxe version. A great deal.

The Making of WordPress for iPad

An awesome write-up on how the brand-new, released-on-launch-day iPhone app came to be from Raanan:

Back in late February I met up with Raven Zachary and his team from Small Society as well as our own Matt Mullenweg, to figure out if we could get an iPad app for WordPress ready in less than 30 days.

The team at Automattic pulled it off, and iPad users will be rocking the official WordPress app starting tomorrow morning. Check out the full post, which includes one of WordPress.com’s fancy new slideshows, and this shot of the plan behind the app:

So cool.