That Time One of My Apps Was New & Noteworthy in the UK App Store

iOS 8 was coming and a lot of things were being opened up to developers which had previously been off limits. I thought being one of the first to implement some of these features would be a good way to stand out in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Instead of trying to come up with ideas of our own, me and Jen looked for popular apps on the Cydia store for Jailbroken apps. We figured there might be a popular app that we could re-make for iOS now that some of the restrictions had been lifted.

Jen found an app called Swipey which let you open apps from the lock screen and was getting a lot of buzz. It’s also a popular feature on Android. We thought we might be able to bring that to iOS.

Over the course of a couple of long and slightly frustrating days – working with early betas is NOT fun and debugging widgets was a real pain to start with – I built a nice prototype and Jen built a PR plan and a database of apps that the app could open.

Changing Timezones

A couple of weeks later we moved to New Zealand to start a 3 month house sit. I found I was really struggling to adjust to the change in timezone and was constantly checking what the time was in the UK. It occurred to me that having this info in the new iOS 8 Notification Centre would be a real time saver. Plus I could reuse a big chunk of the code from the launcher app, which was now put to bed and ready to launch with iOS 8.

As a relatively last minute app it took a lot of late nights, but I finally finished World Time Widget just in time for when submissions opened for iOS 8 – and then comes the tense wait for the apps to be approved.

Apple rejected the Launcher app 1 so my hopes weren’t high for WTW.

Apple didn’t contact me in advance and so when I saw we were featured I thought it was either a mistake or a practical joke or something. I was running around the house like a crazy man. I had to go for a jog to calm down. The next day I FaceTimed my mum and got her to check it on her phone.

Me and Jen with some cheap fizz

How and Why We Got Featured

I put this down to a few things:

  • Using new Apple technologies in a fun and interesting way
  • Using Auto Layout so the app would automatically work with the new sized iPhones that had just been launched
  • Being ready on day one
  • A generous dollop of luck

Impact

I can’t know what sales would have been like without being featured, but it doesn’t make a tonne of money, less than our weight loss app.

It also lead to the dubious honour of having our app cloned. They literally copied and pasted our description leaving our app name in there! This is a reality in the app store, especially if you have a simple app.

But… we got featured by MacStories, and it certainly gives me a good opening sentence when talking to journalists and prospective clients.
MacStories write up

But most of all, I feel really proud to have been featured in this way.


PS, I’d be super happy if you joined my mailing list with the form below. If you do I’ll send you a promo code for World Time Widget or another one of my apps. 👍👍👍

 

  1. A similar app made it into the store but was pulled later. I think it was my fault, I contacted Apple and asked why his was allowed and mine wasn’t. His was pulled a day later. Also, he’s a lot better at self promotion than I am!