With the release of iOS 6 for Apple mobile devices, developers and ad networks are finding that they will need to implement a new strategy when developing and advertising their latest apps. This was apparent as reports trickled in about the changes that occurred to Apple’s App Store.
App Store Redesigned
Once the users finished testing out the new iOS 6 options, they were eager to find all their favorite apps and new apps to install into the extra row on their app home screens. Unfortunately, they quickly became frustrated, discovering it was hard to find all their favorite apps and new ones to load from the restructured App Store.
It seems that Apple has implemented a new card style format for displaying search results returned by a new search engine and algorithm based on chomp.com technology which replaces the old list format of results. Chomp.com is one of Apple’s recently acquired startups. When a user searches for a particular app, results are displayed one at a time — users can no longer glance through a list of apps. It seems that the “Categories” view has now been hidden behind the “Genius” view. The new design does offer more detailed information (app icon, rating, pricing, and screenshots) all in one place, but users may find the method of swiping through these long lists time consuming and abandon their search.
Mixed Reports from Developers on New Changes to App Store
The iPhone Developers SDK Forum was a buzz with comments with a consensus that the App Store “… needs to find a way to feature more apps. People should see new apps each time they launch their app-store.” Some developers reported that their app sales decreased by 20 percent, while others saw some improvement in the number of free app purchases with paid apps remaining the same. The fact that Apple introduced their long awaited iPhone 5 with the lowest number of new apps launched, provided comments like “worst new launch ever” coinciding with “the day iOS 6 went live.” It seems that Apple removed the “New Releases” category from the App Store, making it hard for users to find new apps and forcing developers to have to find a way to get their apps noticed and reviewed, possibly having to spend money to do so.
New Identifiers (IFA, IFV, UUID)
With the release of iOS 6 Apple also introduced three new identifiers.
IdentifierforAdvertising (IFA) – New UDID replacement for advertisers. More like a cookie in that users can clear it. Apple will make the new ID mandatory in the future. Persists until the device is completely reset or cleared.
IdentifierforVendor (IFV) – Can be used by app developers to recognize a device across their apps.Cleared once the the user uninstalls the last app on their phone by a given vendor.
Universally Unique Identifier (UUID) – Way for applications to create identifiers specific to that application. Persists only if the application saves it, and then only until that application is uninstalled.
Passbook Looks Very Interesting
An alternate means to advertising can also be accomplished by using Apple’s new iOS 6 app, Passbook. Passbook will provide a place for users to keep coupons, discount cards, gift cards, loyalty cards and various passes they receive via email or websites. Using the Passbook API, developers can easily create, email, send notifications and distribute from a website. In the future I can foresee a market for creating and distributing Passes (which are essentially just .pkpass files signed by an Apple developer). Developers can find useful information on mobilexweb.com (http://www.mobilexweb.com/blog/iphone-5-ios-6-html5-developers) on how to create passes. Or they can check out passsource.com and passkit.com, two Pass creation services already marketing their services. Pass Source offers free demo templates for creating passes online and custom passes based on cost displayed on the pricing pages. For those who wish to have someone else handle the creation and distribution, PassK.it offers an online pass designer to create your Passbook passes, which allows choose of colors and images, back and front content, localization for multiple languages, location aware capabilities, and restricted or public distribution for all major platforms including Apple.
Apple Gives Helping Hand to HTML5
Some huge potential for development of web apps exists with some additional support that has been added to iOS 6. The addition of input type = “file” tagging is now available for web forms. Previously, this web form control was disabled, but now implementation of this feature will allow websites to access users photos and post photos without the need for a special photo app or native wrapper. Also with the inclusion of Safari 6.0 on iOS devices, web developers can now use Web Inspector to debug and simulate their own apps built and run from Xcode. The days of complicated debugging for web apps just might be over.
All evidence points to the fact that with the release of Apple’s iOS 6 and the new iPhone 5, developers will have to rethink the way they implement the marketing of their apps — as it is clear that there is a need for a new App Store in town!