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Dr. Touch #001 – "Prototype"

This is a prototype of a podcast episode. Please let me know in the comments or on twitter what you think about it.

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Below the fold I posted my script which doubles as Show Notes with hyperlinks.

The News

On November 13th Apple introduced a new feature to iTunes Connect. This allows you to see when your app’s status has changed. You can subscribe to get an e-mail every time there is a change to the status. Visit the Manage Users section of iTunes Connect, click Edit Profile, select the Notifications tab and click the Status Update boxes. There is a new status “Waiting for Review”. This shows that you have submitted your app, but review has not started yet.

At the same time the release date info in iTunes was changed to show the date of the last update. People where gaming the release date to make their apps appear as new to get more visibility. Prior to the new feature developers had reported that changing the availability date in ITC did no longer cause the apps to appear as new. So as of now the only way to really get this visibility is to do frequent updates for your apps.

Changes made to iTunes Connect break downloaders using static form field names like MyAppSales. Fix available as of MyAppSales Version 1.0.12. AppViz was not affected, probably because it had more robust scraping code than MyAppSales.

iTunes servers now require an agent string, previously they didn’t. Probably to reduce traffic from scrapers who where to lazy until now to set the string. Instead of working on making scraper’s lives harder Apple should instead provide proper web 3.0 APIs.

iPhone developer Brice Millorn who wanted to sell his “iPhone Business” (i.e. source code for 87 apps) for $100.000. I did an analysis with the outcome that I did not like the deal, he responded to my questions. The eBay auction expired without a bidder.

Apple has released an update to the drivers needed to run Windows in bootcamp. Now the new Magic Mouse and latest generation wireless keyboard are supported. Though still only XP and Vista. Oficially Windows 7 is still not supported. But you can hack the installer so that it also works with the Vista drivers.

Also there are new printer drivers for HP, Canon, Lexmark and Brother printers.

A word on the Apple tablet. I predicted that we won’t see one before Summer 2010 based on the information that Apple is working to unify the OS for Macs and iPhones to something dubbed CoreOS. And with the current release cycle of one version per year this will be the next logical time for release. Latest rumors also claim that the release slipped from March to late-Summer due to high prices of OLED displays. Would you spend twice as much for a tablet if it has OLED display tech than compared to a regular TFT?

Kudos to JoelComm who made a funny video adressing Steve Jobbs on YouTube. With way more than  100,000 apps on the store Apple seems to no longer permit just about any “feature-free” app. Joel made an app with a button that makes a sound like a cash register when you push it. Similar to many other apps that have a button with an attached sound. There has long been a guideline for reviewers to no permit any apps that have too few features. But lately, together with the undocumented API bann, reviewers have begun to take this way more seriously.

Apple is cracking down on use of undocumented APIs, now more severely than ever before. For the longest time we thought that you could get away with some undocumented APIs if you would shoulder the risk yourself. Apple says that apps using undocumented features will break by updates to the OS. Amongst the APIs that we see rejections for are UICoverFlow Layer, UIDevice setOrientation, UIAlertView addTextFieldWithValue, getting the user’s phone number via SBFormattedPhoneNumber, setAllowsAnyHTTPSCertificate. Also deprecated APIs are unwanted, for example dateWithCalendarFormat which is an old Cocoa API. We hope that Apple continues to work on making more of these “unfinished APIs” stable enough to make them public.

Apple held Tech talks throughout the world. 4 places in US, 3 in Europe and 2 in Asia. Having a daylight full-time job I was not able to fly to any of the European ones. Apple should have done the central European one in Vienna, not in such an obscure location in Germany (Hamburg). So if you where able to attend then you have a leg up over me. Though attendees report that the content is similar to the WWDC videos. Speaking of which, I purchased the Videos from Apple a while ago for hundreds of dollars. So it kind of annoys me that there are people who openly tweet the availability of these videos on file sharing sites. We’ll I guess I am just too honest …

And finally, I have seen app review expediting seen to be working on several occasions now. For example the app H1N1 Swineflu Defender (which I wrote under contract) got expedited by the review team. Also my own app Summertime got reviewed in time for the European Daylight Savings Time because I asked nicely. So if you have an app which you submit too close to a time critical release date, it does not hurt to write a friendly mail to appreview@apple.com and ask to be prioritized. Same is true for urgent fixes.

MyAppSales User App Showcase

About 250 people use MyAppSales worldwide. I asked them who would like for his app to be showcased. I got 10 submissions for episode 1. I still collect testimonials for the next installment. If you want to participate please send me the following items related to the one app of yours that you consider your “crowning achievement” (so far)

  • one paragraph describing your app
  • one line outlining why this is the best you have to offer
  • one line why you like MyAppSales
  • one 100 * 100 photo of yours, no avatars or anonymized images

The idea is to show our symbiotic relationship: You get to show off your work to several thousand visitors to the Dr. Touch blog. I get a one line testimonial about MyAppSales. So we both win.

About Dr. Touch Blog

Speaking of my blog, here are some numbers that you might be interested in when considering to advertise on it, guest-author an article or otherwise cooperate with me:

So if you are interested in getting your message out, contact me via e-mail and we’ll see what is the best method. Of course I am also interested in sponsorship across multiple media.

App Tip

Of the apps that I downloaded recently I am most impressed by RedLaser. When I first tried it out on the bar code of a book I was astonished by the speed at which the price listings appeared. Costs $2 and was worth my money. You see the prices of books on Amazon and sometimes the Google product search also finds something. There could be more features to do something with the code once it is scanned, but the scanning itself is amazing.

Contact

If you would like to send me a tip to news worthy of inclusion in this show, drop me an e-mail. I’m also interested in hearing your story and feature you and your work on this show. If it is a question that can be answered in XCode then I will make a Q&A article for my blog. You can also express appreciation for this show by sending a small donation to PayPal oliver@drobnik.com.


Categories: Podcast

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