My app and I

The Noticings iPhone app is the first paid iPhone app I wrote, and I’ve been meaning to write a bit about how that went, and what I’ve learnt.

I released it in November 2009, so it’s been ticking away for a decent while now. It’s now up to version 2.0, with version 2.1 just submitted to fix some performance issues with large photo libraries. It supports iOS 4.0, including background uploading and fast app-switching.

Since launch there have been 180 odd downloads, all at £1.79, which makes the return laughably small (I net £1.09 after Apple’s cut and VAT). This is about what I expected – it’s a niche app, for a small game, played by a handful of people. It took 5 months before I saw any money for it – Apple only pay you after you accrue $150 or equivalent.

About 50% of those sales were made in the first 48 hours or so – during which time I entered the top 10 photography apps (#6 from memory) for a while. Photography is probably not as popular as, say, games, but that gives you an idea of the kind of numbers those charts are doing.

There must be a lot of developers out there watching their software fall on its arse. And I imagine lots will be/are making their apps free, and looking to iAds as a way of making their products generate some kind of revenue.

I hope someone, somewhere is pulling hopeful app monsters out of the trough of app disillusionment.

Personally, iAds and all that isn’t for me. I’m happy keeping the app at £1.79 – that feels about right for what it is for me. It’s a good quality app that does one thing well. I use it every day. It’s on my home screen, and it’s on plenty of my friends’. I’ve not received a crash report for it in months. £1.79 is enough of a barrier to keep the users down, and my support time to a minimum.

But I also believe in open source, and like I’ve stood on the shoulders of others whilst building the app, I’d like others to be able to stand on mine.

So I’ve open sourced the code, and it’s all on Github. If you want to add features to the app, or fix a bug you find, that’d be lovely, and I’ll be sure to credit you. And if you want to use a portion of the code for another app, that’s fine too, just don’t call it “Noticings” or use our logo.

The app will still be £1.79 in the App Store, and the code will always be identical. I hope someone finds it useful.