China overtakes U.S. for iOS app downloads


App Annie
China is now beating the United States on iOS downloads. Photo: App Annie


Tim Cook has been staunchly outspoken in his belief that it’s only a matter of time before China overtakes the U.S. as Apple’s biggest customer.

According to a new report from app analytics company App Annie, that benchmark has now been passed when it comes to app downloads — with China leading the way in the first quarter of 2015.

But which country is winning in the all-important revenue generating category?

How App Store reviews can help indie developers


The NASAViz Universal app. Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flicker CC
Five-star reviews are great, but there's another type of App Store review that's truly stellar. Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flicker CC

Customer reviews on the App Store are good for business. It’s not just that good reviews can improve your app’s ranking. Reviews have also helped me build a better app.

But with all the fake reviews and haters out there, it’s sometimes hard to see the wood from the trees. The trick is to know exactly which reviews to pay attention to — and the secret is all in your stars.

Apple is getting into search? Pleeease


Could Apple really dump Google search? Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac
Search? Don't make us laugh. Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple needs to go a long way before it thinks about launching its own search engine. Smartphones? Sure. Tablets? Absolutely. Search? Fuggetaboutit!

As much as we all love Apple, nobody can deny that its search products are oddly bargain basement in quality. iTunes discovery is horrible, the App Store is abysmal and Siri’s painful.

Could Apple fix it? Sure it could, but it’s going to take a lot more than one poor new employee to do it. Here are the worst offenders when it comes to all things Apple Search:

Why the Mac App Store is Shangri-La for developers

Mac App Store
Coding for the Mac App Store could be your ticket to professional bliss.

The iOS App Store gold rush might be played out for all but the luckiest developers, but there’s another part of the Apple empire where coders can find breakout success: the Mac App Store.

“Compared to iOS, it’s definitely easier to have a hit in the Mac App Store,” says Andreas Hegenberg, the creator of successful gesture-based Mac app BetterTouchTool. “I think it’s still pretty easy to develop a Mac App Store app that can feed you very well. But it all depends on how you define a ‘big hit.'”

While games rule the increasingly cluttered roost in the iOS store — with many unimaginative developers looking to get rich quick with yet another Flappy Bird clone — the Mac App Store is home to more pedestrian offerings like accounting software and productivity tools.

The Mac App Store might not mint a new millionaire each day, but the developers we spoke with said writing this type of bread-and-butter software can provide a reliable source of income. Here’s why.