The First Mobile Developer News Roundup of 2013: A Whole Lotta iOS News

by Joey deVilla on January 7, 2013

A large array of app icons

Ed Bott is that rarest and most curious of creatures — a Windows fan — so it shouldn’t be surprising that when Apple reported that they hit the 40 billion downloads from the App Store, with nearly half of that in 2012, his take-away from the news was that the numbers were good for Apple and less so for developers. At no point does he make any mention of the vast sums of money one can make on the Windows Phone marketplace, because no such opportunities exist. Speaking as a former Windows Phone Champ, I think I can safely say that my one post about ridiculous Windows Phone market share predictions has made more money through Google AdSense than most Windows Phone apps.

In the Wall Street Journal blog Digits, Matthew Lynley says that these 40 billion apps have led to $7 billion in payouts to developers. He also notes that the rate at which developers are being paid is accelerating, from a total of $2.5 billion total in July 2011 to $4 billion in March 2012.

It should be noted that a mere 25 developers accounted for half the revenue in the U.S. App Store (for iPhone apps only) and Google Play in the first 20 days of 2012, according to the analytics firm Canalys.

Crowded Apple Store

There’s always a lot of that repeated mantra, “Android is Winning”, but according to Kantar WorldPanel’s data, iOS is leading the pack in smartphone OS sales. For the 12-week period ending November 25th, 2012:

  • iOS surpassed the 50% of phones sold, acquiring 53.3% of the market
  • Android dropped 10%, down to 41,9%
  • Windows Phone held steady at 2.7%

An interesting observation from Kantar:

Of those who purchased an iPhone in November, 27% upgraded from another smartphone OS, 34% upgraded from a previous iPhone and 40% upgraded to their first smartphone.

Joey deVilla's iOS development setup

iOS developer Andrew Rauh has put together a list of things he’s learned as a freelance iOS developer. You should read his article for the details, but here’s a quick summary:

  1. Be picky with your clients. 
  2. Reuse code.
  3. Always ask for at least half the cost of the project up front.
  4. Keep communication consistent, but don’t allow clients to be obsessive.
  5. Anticipate the worst.

Justin Benson asks an interesting question: Would Instagram make it today, as an iOS-only app? He writes:

Would Instagram make it today purely on an iOS only strategy? One answer is Yes. There are many more iOS devices in play today then when they launched. The potential audience is therefore much larger. So they numbers would indicate it’s more than doable.

Yet what would we think of someone who tried to just support one platform? Would it indicate closed mindedness? Elitism? Out of touch with the broader world? Would it say “These guys just don’t get it!” – even to many iOS users?  Would it make you wonder about just how good a product they can build if those are some of their foundational qualities?

Closeup of MacBook Pro keyboard

And now, a number of coding links…

  • NSLogger: A high perfomance logging utility which displays traces emitted by client applications running on Mac OS X or iOS. It replaces your usual NSLog()-based traces and provides powerful additions like display filtering, image and binary logging, traces buffering, timing information, etc.
  • Determining a user’s most important contacts on iOS: “Many iOS apps provide an ‘invite your friends’ feature. From a usability design perspective it is desirable that the app suggests friends that are likely to be invited by the user. This article explains an App Store-legal heuristic that guesses the most important contacts in a user’s address book on iOS. Additionally, it provides an example implementation and a demo application under the MIT license.”
  • Mosaic UI: A tiled UI for iOS that does automatic layouts based on the tiles’ sizes.
  • Real-time iOS filesystem monitoring: Security Aegis have an article covering the use of filemon.ios to watch applications as they drop files to the app filesystem as well as automate the finding of of all kinds of M1 Insecure data storage vulnerabilities.
  • Demystifying iOS application crash logs: An article at the always useful RayWenderlich.com site: “you’ll learn about some common crash log scenarios, as well as how to acquire crash logs from development devices and iTunes Connect. You will learn about symbolication, and tracing back from log to code. You will also debug an application that can crash in certain situations.”

This article also appears in Mobilize!: The CTS Mobile Tech Blog.

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