In the previous two installments of this series, we labored through some ornery hardware wrangling and tested our mettle with some serious Objective-C coding, now it's time to deliver our app to the masses.
This journey began on February 25 with the assembly of an Apple iPhone app dev system and culminated with my first app published in the Apple iTunes App Store on March 22. By all accounts, this turnaround time could have been reduced by six days had I not foolishly deleted a CAF audio file from the official app submission bundle. The good folks at Apple spotted this glaring omission and duly informed me on March 16 that I should fix the bundle and then resubmit the whole shebang. I immediately complied, but my gaffe delayed the app approval process for an additional six days.
No matter -- I'm now a published app developer!
There were a couple of nagging details to tie up prior to my official app submission, however. First, I had to create a distribution provisioning profile for code-signing my Version 1.0 app. I just had to follow a few steps inside the iPhone Program Portal, then install the profile in my dev system's Keychain, and I was ready to get my app officially blessed for release in the iTunes App Store.
This graphics are easy enough: an icon (57x57-pixel PNG format image), an iTunes artwork rendering (just a 512x512-pixel JPEG version of your icon), and a sample screen grab (pick a great screen shot of your app in "motion"; this image will go on your "storefront" iTunes page. So, think "eye candy" here -- sell that steak app with a juicy, sizzling screenshot.
Use this form for handling those last-minute application information queries:
App Store Application Information
- Application name: RingsTrue
- Application description (keep it around 700 characters; remember it's the Internet age and people don't read anymore): A musical name game based on Musikalisches Würfelspiel. The origin of this game is occasionally attributed to Wolfgang A. Mozart.
- Device type(s) the application is designed for: iPhone and iPod touch
- Unique Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) for each major version of your application: PRO-RT-001
- Primary category: Music
- Unique version #: 1.0
- Application copyright holder: Dave Prochnow
- Support URL for the company: http://www.popsci.com/diy/article/2009-02/how-make-iphone-app
- Territories application to be distributed in: worldwide
- Application availability date: March 11, 2009
- Application price: FREE
- Localization desired: English
You should also keep an eye on your app size. There is a 10MB limit on over-the-air "sales" of apps. Luckily, my behemoth app, tipping the scales at 7.7MB, was able to just skim under the limit. This heft is from all of the CAF audio files (156 different audio files) embedded inside the app.
There are some additional questions regarding games, encryption, and licensing agreements. If your app doesn't fiddle around with these items, then you're home free and ready to complete the submission process under the purview of Apple's overtaxed review board.
Another problem looms on the horizon, however. First-time Apple developer's contracts are being processed at an increasingly slowing rate. Likewise, current developers who wish to renew their license might be in for a wait, too.
No matter -- I'm now a published app developer!
Finally, by the numbers: RingsTrue (my musical name game app), upon its initial release, logged 37 downloads. Housed in the Music category of the iTunes App Store, RingsTrue failed to receive any promotion, mention, or placement on the iTunes daily "New" display. Therefore, these "sales" were obtained solely by random browsing of the 30,000+ iTunes App Store apps. I will update these download numbers as significant milestones are reached.
Update, March 25, 2009: Downloads for RingsTrue just broke the 100 mark.
You're right. Getting the app blessed is the hardest part. My keychain and Xcode had the app info, but when I upload it to iTunes, it says that it is not code signed. I'd like to see a few more steps or screen shots on the process of code-signing. Thanks.
For those app developers that don't know Objective-C and Cocoa Touch and don't want to outsource development, check out localbeacon (an iphone app builder) at www.bigforge.com. Great for those who want to build just one app or developers interested in white label.
Whenever you publish an app to the Apple Store, it's best to read the instructions. Better still search for comments by other developers. Since Apple does a lot of automatic testing on your app and also does a human testing to check for errors, conformity, violations of any sort; it's best to do it right the first time. Revisions hold up your marketing plans and delay the launch.
Go with a developer who has experience in iPhone apps. That's your bet to a safe launch.
I spent a long time trying to code my app and ended up getting it denied. Thats when I outsourced the testing of it and got it approved shortly after. I found a good dev outsource site on taskcity and I'm looking forward to creating a new app now. I think I'll skip the headache of trying to code it on my own though. For those who wanna keep their app secret when outsourcing I suggest having portions of it done my different people and then compiling them in the end.
My name is Alex :)
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