App Business: Coverage of the Apple app economy | Cult of Mac

Why it’s taking so long for apps to add Dark Mode


Has your favorite app embraced the dark side yet?
Has your favorite app embraced the dark side yet?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

This week, I finally got around to adding Dark Mode support to Reps & Sets, the iPhone bodybuilding app I develop as a side hustle. That’s almost a year after Apple first announced the feature at its Worldwide Developers Conference.

What took me so long? Supporting Dark Mode is not as simple as it seems. It’s not just indie devs like me who have struggled with it, either. WhatsApp only recently added Dark Mode support, and Facebook is still beta-testing it.

So if you’re waiting for your favorite app to switch to the dark side, here’s why it might be taking so long.

Developers think Apple Arcade is disruptive — for better or worse


Apple Arcade
Apple Arcade has plenty of promise -- but poses some big challenges, too.
Photo: Apple

Will Apple Arcade turn out to be the game changer that developers are hoping for? According to a new report… maybe.

Speaking to a slew of developers, a news report found that many are cautiously optimistic about what Apple Arcade could mean. In particular, it could help break the stronghold of freemium titles in the App Store. But there are still potential challenges.

Software localization isn’t an annoying chore, it’s a crucial opportunity


Attention, devs: If you haven't localized your apps, you're missing out.
Attention, devs: If you haven't localized your apps, you're missing out.
Photo: slon_dot_pics/Pexels CC

This post is brought to you by MacPaw, maker of Mac app subscription service Setapp.

One of the amazing benefits of selling software on the internet is that you can reach customers from all over the world. So why would you cut out a huge potential market just by assuming everyone who wants to use your product speaks English?

In fact, ignoring other markets can be one of the biggest marketing oversights software companies make.

How indie developers can use video to market their apps


Video app promotion: Making a killer video could be the best way to promote your app.
Making a killer video could be the best way to promote your killer app.
Photo: Terje Sollie/Pexels CC

This post is brought to you by MacPaw, maker of Setapp.

As indie developers, we can get too caught up in how things work — what features our product has, what users can do with it. It often seems like if we can just explain how our product works, everyone will become a devoted user.

We spend lots of time pulling together onboarding videos and tutorials. But there’s a whole other front in the battle of promotion and conversion: making an emotional connection between a potential user and your product and brand.

Apple gets new dev tools with Buddybuild acquisition


iOS 11
Do you have problems with iOS 11?
Photo: Apple

Apple is adding another big tool for developers to its arsenal thanks to the acquisition of Vancouver-based startup Buddybuild.

The small 40-person company created a mobile iteration platform that allows devs to streamline their workflow and push app updates out through GitHub, GitLab and the like. Now Apple plans to take those tools and integrate them natively into Xcode.

App: The Human Story is an antidote to Planet of the Apps


app documentary
What does it take to make a successful app?
Photo: App: The Human Story

What does it feel like pinning your hopes and livelihood to one of Apple’s most important creations? Fascinating new documentary App: The Human Story takes an unflinching look at the world of app developers in an attempt to answer that question.

It showcases devs’ big wins — and infuriating struggles — as they try to survive and thrive in the massive app economy Apple created. It’s basically the show Apple should have made instead of its ridiculous and annoying Planet of the Apps.

Leading developer says we should be angry at ‘parasitic’ app stores


Epic's Infinite Blade
The Infinity Blade franchise was a big hit for Epic Games.
Photo: Epic Games

App stores that take a 30 percent chunk of developers’ earnings are parasites, according to Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games.

“The system is pretty unfair at the moment,” Sweeney said during a keynote speech on the future of graphics and games development in the U.K. “These app stores take 30 percent of your revenue for distribution … That’s strange because MasterCard, Visa and other companies that handle transactions take 2 percent or 3 percent of the revenue…. So they’re pocketing a huge amount of profit from your order – and they aren’t really doing much to help us anymore.”

Time tracking is made painless and easy with Timing 2 app [Review]


Timing 2 time tracking Mac app
Timing 2 makes time tracking on your Mac easy, not a chore.
Photo: Screenshot: Timing / Daniel Alm

I recently switched back to freelancing full-time, and whilst I am lucky enough to have clients who don’t ask for precise hourly breakdowns, I have always been intrigued to know how much time I was spending on work tasks, especially those tasks that I didn’t directly bill for.

Many time trackers rely on you explicitly setting the task you are tracking and remembering to switch to another task when it’s time to track that. This is easy to forget, and for someone like me who switches tasks frequently, it’s hard to always know when one task finishes and another begins.

Timing 2 takes a different perspective. Instead of tracking by task, it tracks by application usage and uses a set of rules to assign activities in those applications to certain projects and tasks. The premise is that after a learning process, you can leave the application running behind the scenes and it’ll track everything for you automatically. You only need audit the results.