A guest post by Mike Smithwick, author of Distant Suns 3 for the iPhone/iPad and blogger at distantsuns.com. Mike is a seasoned iPhone/iPad developer who has developed numerous iPhone applications. He has recently released Distant Suns 3. Follow Mike’s work on Twitter for more information [Read the previous part].
…Or I have an awesome app! But now what??
Two years ago last month, I uploaded my first app to Apple for review. About 20 hours later I received that magical email saying “Your application has been approved for sale.” And the latest version of my once-Amiga/Mac/PC application was now available to millions of potential customers. And then I got my first sales, 8 downloads that day. Wow!
So what is the actual process of finishing up your application and getting it out of the lab, off your iPhone and onto millions of other iPhones.
When he started NeXT after leaving Apple, Steve Jobs insisted on a completely new distribution model for applications. Considering that the infamous NeXT Cube came with no floppy drive (“that’s old technology”) or CD-ROM, getting software from point A to point B could be problematic. “Not so!” said Jobs. He thought that that since software was simply bits and could and therefore should be distributed on this fledgling internet thing. This is clearly the case of a visionary being about 20 years too early. For back then there was no means of handling the small monetary transactions essential to a download service like that; ie, no way to pay, Jack. The only media available for the NeXT Cube was an experimental optical read-write drive, which used so-called “flopptical” discs running at $200+. Understandably software houses were very reluctant to have a disc cost many times that of the actual software itself. Ultimately, some of the dealers would just sell the manual and let the users copy their purchased software from the store’s machine over to their own flopptical. That was not a good business model. The App Store however, is the fully fleshed out realization of Job’s original dream.
The App Store is not the first such system. There was a similar store for Palm OS applications years ago, as well as numerous other scattered efforts, but none amounted to much. Applications would usually have to be downloaded to your PC, then synced with your device, and while easy conceptually, it was just an annoyance. When Apple develops a new system, be it software or hardware or both, the solution is virtually 100% complete, in need of very little except for some small refinements. Unless Apple can do something right, they usually don’t do it all. The other way of doing business can be seen in Microsoft. Bill Gates and company will go about 97% of the way expecting the consumer to manage the other 3%. The other 3% might mean something like downloading drivers, adding more memory and downloading more drivers, swapping the internal DVD drive to use a different connector on the motherboard, oh, and by-the-way, downloading more drivers. Read the rest of the story …