App Roundup

Since April I’ve delivered a surprising number of apps to the App Store, and I thought I’d give a brief summary of those projects and what made (or makes) them interesting.

Tivoli Radio

As internet radio apps go, this one isn’t bad. It’s no Pandora or Tune-In Radio Pro, but then it’s not intended to be. Tivoli Audio is actually in the business of selling real table-top radios. Beautiful things, really. Nicely designed. They wanted an app to help promote their physical devices. The app features 10 genres, and within each genre 10 pre-selected stations form all over the world. The station data actually comes off a server, so they can update the stations or switch-out a bad one at any time without having to rev the app.

A couple things were remarkable about this project. First, the client let us specify a lot of the technical requirements. We made sure “iOS5+” was one of them. It’s so much easier to develop apps when you don’t have to worry about compatibility with older OS versions. Another was that we’d only support audio formats that iOS could support. At first, there was concern that WMA was not among them. In the end, it hasn’t been an issue. Finally, the project went from start to finish (and in the App Store) in about 4 weeks. That is truly remarkable!

So what made this project work? We had a lot of freedom to guide the client. The client provided all the graphic assets according to our specifications. We used as many standard iOS5 interfaces as we could, and as little custom code as necessary.  We used TestFlight to distribute builds quickly and efficiently to the client and ourselves.

From my perspective, the project went well as the actual work ultimately was very straight forward. Because of a lot of up-front expectation-setting and careful planning, there were no surprises. Give the app a try if you like listening to the radio; it’s free!

At-Hand Guides

Last week At-Hand Apps, LLC released an update to it’s travel app New England At-Hand (née New England Day Trips At-Hand), as well as six New England state-specific editions (e.g. Massachusetts At-Hand, etc) offering access to those state’s At-Hand Guides content. Each state edition also includes an In-App Purchase store front to add other states’ content. (And if you buy a state edition, and buy 2 more as in-app upgrades, you get access to all of New England as a “thank you”!)

These releases are the culmination of a  year’s worth of part-time work by many people developing content, the backend, and the apps. What we’ve built is a solid platform for producing any number of themed or regional editions using a single backend service and a single Objective-C code base for the apps. Additionally our in-app purchase model is intelligent, offering the user just the right set of upgrades based on what they have already purchased.

We’ve accomplished quite a bit technically, which I am very proud of. We have quite a bit more we’d like to do to improve and expand our platform, and make our users’ experience with the apps even better. Watch for more editions soon and in the coming months.

If you live in New England or will be traveling to New England, please consider one of our apps as your guide book. You may be surprised at what you discover!

WordWinder

WordWinder was my very first app, three years ago. And with the exception of a very minor update has gone unchanged since then. In three years, its sales have been, well, lackluster by comparison to other apps I’ve written. Lately though, its had a decent uptick in sales, which is completely organic because I don’t actively market this (or any other) app.

I really had not intended to update this app significantly, except to freshen it up slightly ahead of releasing and to help promote an as-yet-unfinished new game (Project X). When I started looking at the old project, however, I was amazed at how quickly I was able to give the app a complete facelift (read: add Retina display support) and even add a feature I was unable to add three years ago. Before I knew it, I had a reasonable update so I pushed it out there. And for the folks that bought the original app recently, they got a nice update. It’s no Words with Friends, but it’s not bad either, especially for kids.

No Rest For The Weary

There is no resting on my laurels. I burn the midnight oil at both ends of the candle these days. Someday I’ll finish Project X. There are ideas in my brain waiting to come out for other Hawk iMedia apps, and of course At-Hand Apps has big ideas waiting in the wings as well.

What’s your latest app accomplishment?

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