iOS App Development

iOS is the software which runs on all Apple smartphones and tablets, and no others. It could reasonably be considered the original smartphone operating system and at one time represented the entire smartphone market. Though its number of users has increased massively with the growth of the smartphone and tablet market, its usage share has dwindled and it now represents about 12% of the worldwide market. It does, however, have pockets of strong support particularly in English speaking countries - in the US its usage share is almost half. We recommend that any app you plan to release, be released on the iOS platform if it can support it.

We currently suggest supporting iOS 6 and higher, which means your app will be available on the iPhone 3GS and above, and iPad 2 and above. It is possible to add support for older devices, but this would limit the features and appearance of your app, and the usage share of these older devices is negligible in any case.

Developing apps for iOS can be a bit of a minefield, but we've done it many times and can advise you every step of the way.

Where do iOS apps come from?

iOS users are only allowed to get their apps from one source - the iTunes store. Apple locks the devices down to ensure this. This means that the only apps an iPhone or iPad can run are those which have been pre-approved and censored by Apple. In practice this limits what apps (and therefore the device itself) can do. It's even possible that your app may not be suitable for release on this platform, though in most cases we can find a creative solution which provides the functionality you need and fits within Apple's requirements.

What can iOS apps do?

iOS apps are highly prescriptive as Apple publishes a set of rules which they must follow. A clear and full understanding of the rules - which are extensive - is a must for any iOS developer! They cover everything from what the hardware is allowed to do, to how to accept payments, to how elements on the screen should be laid out. As a result, iOS apps all have a very familiar look and feel. It is possible that your app may need changes to be allowed to run on the device, and it's even possible that your app might not be allowed onto the store at all - we will advise you beforehand and on an ongoing basis of any potential problems we see.

Making an iOS app available

Posting an app to iTunes is a complex and often extremely frustrating experience. We manage all stages of it for you and will provide advice throughout. There are 2 parts to a submission: the meta-data and the app itself. The meta-data consists of a written description of the app, screenshots, age limits and other items. It is scrutinised by Apple and will be readily rejected for what can often seem like illogical reasoning, so it can take a few edits before it's accepted. The app itself is then scrutinised and can also be rejected for minor transgressions, but in our experience this stage is more predictable: as long as you've stuck to the rules, no major changes should be necessary. However there is no way of knowing for sure beforehand, and though we haven't ever had to make sweeping changes to an app to get it permitted, it remains a possibility. The "good" news is that, in our experience, reviews by Apple are not particularly consistent: what is rejected by one reviewer may be accepted by another, so in some cases we can just try the same thing again. There is a review process if you disagree with Apple's judgement, but in our experience it yields few results and consumes time.

In all it usually takes about 2 weeks to get a review by Apple. If a minor change is needed, we can make it there and then and they will usually approve it a couple of days later. If something more significant comes up then we have to go through the 2 week wait again.

Maintaining iOS apps

App store rules change regularly. We make it our job to stay on top of these changes, and can advise if they affect you. Sometimes a change will mean your app needs alterations to remain publicly available, and Apple will in some cases remove an app from sale without warning. More often, however, Apple will require you to address any rule changes when we next submit a release for you. As part of our service we receive from Apple notifications about required changes to your app, and will advise on what is needed and when.

As Apple are the only manufacturer producing devices which run iOS, there is a limited range of hardware to test on. This usually means we can produce iOS apps quicker than others, as there is less testing to do to ensure quality.

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