Archive for November, 2009

product release planning for iPhone apps

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

We’ve successfully released 2 apps on the iTunes store now with relatively effective results. Both apps are paid apps and are in the education space where we’re currently focusing our attention. This release cycle is what we’re using as a general rule of thumb going forward:

iPhone_iteration

Embrace the Review Process

Your initial push for the design and ideation of the app can be a few days to a week, developing v1.0 can take upto 2 months (or more if it makes sense) but the main learning for us has been to embrace the iTunes Review process. We know this has stabilized to around 2 weeks (10 working days) now and we plan our release cycles with this in mind. Always.

Version 1.0 of the apps that we work on generally take not more than 2 months to build. This is a completely beta tested, working piece of software which has been designed impeccably and has had multiple iterations of indepth user reviews in closed beta (hence the 2 months). We’ve not had a single bug flagged by Apple (yet :) ) so although our initial 2 month iteration seems long, it truly works for us. After the initial push to get v1.0 out of the door all subsequent features get prioritized into iterations which are then ready to go out every 2 weeks. Since we like to maintain our release rhythm we’re constantly pushing out to our beta testers in the interim and trying to ensure that the v1.n release is as solid as possible before submitting it for review. If the build is green and tested well we hope never to break the 2 week long release cycle which is tied directly into the iTunes Connect Review period.

Changing availability dates on new version submissions in iTunes Connect

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Editing Application Information in iTunes Connect has one major oddity which caused me some pain a few days ago and I thought I should blog about it to see if other people have experienced this pain too.

First off, When you create a new version of an existing app you will notice that all existing information for the app persists which is good. The application ID also stays the same. The issue started when I noticed that the availability date for the app was available to be edited. This seems like a nice feature to have since you can plan the release of your upcoming version and get some press-releases and marketing campaigns lined up for the release date. Seems fair to think that is exactly what this is supposed to do for developers releasing new versions right?

Not quite, apparently, this feature works as expected on apps that are NOT yet on sale. ie. if this is your first production release into the iTunes store. If you have a version of the app on sale what this will do is remove (yes remove!) your current application from the iTunes store and wait until the new un-reviewed version of the app is approved and then make it available only when the date has been met.

Apple should really fix this asap.

What’s the point of exposing the availability date when it has such a profound effect on the current version that’s on sale?