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Developing Perspective

Developing Perspective is a podcast discussing the news of note in iOS Development, Apple and the like. Hosted by David Smith, an independent iOS developer. Never longer than 15 minutes.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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Cloud Sync Beta Introducing Lion Recovery Lion’s Whole-Disk Encryption Petabytes on a Budget v2.0:Revealing More Secrets Developer Machine Landscape


21 Jul 2011

Rank #1

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Reading on the iPad iPad 2 and Verizon iPhone Take Some Wind Out of Android’s Sail Designing GitHub for Mac What Google’s Famous Cafeterias Can Teach Us About Health The iPhone’s Home Button The Back Button Dilemma Rumors.


19 Jul 2011

Rank #2

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Michael Gartenberg: ‘Why Apple Dares to Change Your Apps’ Yes to Lion, no to cruft: get a clean start with manual Mac migration Auto-Incrementing Build Numbers for Release Builds in Xcode Founder Stories Volume 01: Slicehost iOS Integration Testing God in a Cup


18 Jul 2011

Rank #3

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An Analysis Of Apple’s Adjustment Of International App Store Prices Ready, Set, Whoops. Showbot Rapid DHCP: Or, how do Macs get on the network so fast? Moving Back to BBEdit from TextMate iAd isn’t dead.


15 Jul 2011

Rank #4

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#221: Circular Revenue.

Some high level thoughts about WWDC and my excitement for it. Then, a few thoughts about whether mobile advertising is in a precarious position.


29 May 2015

Rank #5

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#220: The Essential Experience.

Today I begin a new Start-to-Finish series discussing the creation of an application from idea to the App Store. My Essential Experience Target: An application focused on surfacing the data currently collected by the Apple Watch and iPhone and presenting it in a useful, actionable, and encouraging way. Blizzard’s Games I discuss: Hearthstone Heroes of the Storm My previous Start-to-Finish series discussing the creation of Check the Weather: #91: Thank you and the Road from Here. #90: Check the Weather #89: Counting Down. #87: Basic App Marketing. #86: App Pricing. #85: Pragmatism. #84: Shipped it. #83: Performance and Letting Go. #82: Localizing an App. #80: Managing functionality. #77: Prototyping a new project.


22 May 2015

Rank #6

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#219: Accidental.

2015 Developing Perspective t-shirts (4 days to order, ends May 18.) One of the most dangerous traps when learning from someone else’s experience is ascribing intentionality to what in reality was accidental. This can make it feel somehow magical or impossible to learn from. We are all just muddling along. Pedometer += 1,000,000 Joe’s Extraordinarily Kind Words


14 May 2015

Rank #7

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#214: App Store Snowstorm.

Simultaneous Invention or setting realistic expectations for uniqueness. Simultaneous Invention


9 Apr 2015

Rank #8

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#213: Showing Up and Shipping Apps.

After a longer than typical break I’m back with another episode…on a related note I’m talking about how to get unstuck. How I manage the situation that seems to happen often enough where I get stuck in a creative rut. Then I talk a bit about how to manage the process of submitting WatchKit apps. Chart of my consistency track record for Developing Perspective:


2 Apr 2015

Rank #9

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#212: Four Phases of a Gold Rush.

In the run up to Apple’s media event on March 9th I keep hearing the phrase ‘Gold Rush’ over and over again. Today I unpack that concept and whether it might apply to the Apple Watch. The Phases of Gold Rush: The Rumor The Legend The Rush The Reality Luck = Opportunity + Preparation My WatchKit Series Scott Forstall, “Whole new Gold Rush” The California Gold Rush Trism WatchCon 2 There is unfortunately no shortcut to gaining expertise in a subject. You can only truly understand something by working on it, by immersing yourself in it, by building terrible prototypes and throwing them away. You cannot throw away what you haven’t made.


27 Feb 2015

Rank #10

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#211: Asterisk Free Marketing.

Prompted by some thinking I did around building the App Preview for Pedometer++, I start to wonder about honesty in advertising. How honesty should I be? What level of candor is appropriate, helpful, reasonable? Building an App Preview


11 Feb 2015

Rank #11

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#210: Polymaths.

I’m not a huge fan of the term polymath. It sounds kinda pretentious but sometimes the best word for something is that way. Today I was struck by the wild variety of tasks and skills that it takes to run a business principally on your own. So I wanted to walk through some of disparate aspects of the ‘job’. Hopefully giving someone who is considering going out on their own some good food for thought. My intention isn’t to scare anyone off, but just to help you understand the inherent complexity of this line of work, and an appreciation for the things other people handle for you in a J-O-B, job. General Development Software engineering Bug tracking Product Design Release planning Customer support Version Control iTunes Connect submission lifecycle iOS Development Objective C, Xcode, Interface Builder Device and iOS version management Photoshop, PaintCode Testing / QA Server Development Ruby on Rails Postgres Memcached, nginx, redis Queueing, sidekiq Linux system administration, Backups, Security updates Operations iTunes Connect, contracts, payments, Accounting, Taxes and banking. Budgeting Compliance, Local, State, Federal, Business Licenses Benefits / Welness General hosting, email, domains, etc Marketing Websites ‘Brand’, personal and otherwise Photoshop Marketing concepts and ideas Microeconomics


30 Jan 2015

Rank #12

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#209: Not so Fast.

Today I walk through my history thinking about Swift. From WWDC to now I’ve done a lot of thinking about Swift as whether I should be using it. The result makes me feel a bit conflicted, but the brutally pragmatic part of me is winning out. Swift on Apple.com My WatchKit series


23 Jan 2015

Rank #13

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#208: Sam Soffes.

I take a break out of my normal 15 minute format for a return of my occational interview series. This week I’m delighted to talk to Sam Soffes about balancing your own product work with doing consulting, different ways of thinking about success and deciding what it is you want to do with your time. Sam has been developing for iOS since 2008 and has worked on a wide variety of successful products. He is currently working on Whiskey, a Markdown editor for Mac and iOS.


15 Jan 2015

Rank #14

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#206: Can the App Store be Full?

Today I think out loud about the implications of an App Store that is functionally full. Where applications cannot realistically thrive simply because of novelty or freshness. Whatever you do now you are facing up against a hyper-competitive marketplace. I think this changes significantly how we need to pursue things from a business perspective as well as helps us be realistic about what to expect. As an experiment I also recorded this episode as a video. I’m not really sure how valuable this is but I’ll never know unless I try. I’m thoroughly enjoying trying out video recently as a medium for sharing within our community. As a result of how my recording was setup the audio for this episode as a bit more echo than I would have liked, I’ll get that buttoned down if I try this again. YouTube version of this Episode


12 Dec 2014

Rank #15

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#205: AILW - Economics of WatchKit Apps.

Thinking out loud about why I recently starting my series called As I Learn WatchKit. I’ve learned a lot about the creative process by giving myself permission to put unpolished things into the world. My first attempt at Youtube Then, I dive into the economics of building WatchKit apps. In general I think that the economic realities of building apps for it are consistent with any other app endeavor. If it was a good idea before it is likely doubly so to add a Watch extension. If it is a new idea you have a great opportunity to be an early adopter.


5 Dec 2014

Rank #16

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#204: Delightfully Pragmatic.

My first reactions to WatchKit. I’m really glad Apple has given is some genuinely powerful capabilities with this first generation of APIs. Getting Started with WatchKit My Initial Impressions Apple’s Main WatchKit page Developer Forums


20 Nov 2014

Rank #17

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#203: Divided by One.

For a while now I’ve had an episode idea discussing some of the ‘interesting math’ about working on a project by yourself. I discuss how working on something by yourself is so very different than in working on any other sized team.


14 Nov 2014

Rank #18

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#193: Update Treadmill.

Today I’m going to dive into the world of app updates. Why we do them, how often we do them and whether they are important. Context I did a long analysis of the update trends in the App Store. I recommend you visit that yourself but the short version is: 50% of Top Apps are have been updated in the last 3 months (26% overall) 86% of Top Apps in the last year (60% overall) 300,000 apps were updated in the last 3 months. 480,000 apps are effectively abandoned (no updates in last year) Types of Updates An actual shipped update might include more than one of the following categories but it is likely constructive to think about why you are making a change before you make it. Compatibility: An update that exists to allow the existing feature set to work on new hardware, operating system, API, etc. Remedial: An update that exists to correct a flaw or deficiency in existing functionality. Defensive: An update that exists to keep up with the competition. Enhancement: An update that adds functionality or capability to the app. Marketing: An update with purpose of drawing attention to the app or garnering revenue. Refactor: An update that does not change the user facing portions of the app but improves it internally. Things to consider Is this update necessary? Why, concretely, am I doing it? Does adding this functionality improve the app for most users? Would adding the functionality hurt the experience of any of my users? How do I expect to be compensated for the time I put into this update?


8 Aug 2014

Rank #19

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#190: Everything but a Business Model

I will be on vacation for the next two weeks, so unless something monumental happens in between now and late July there won’t be any episodes of Developing Perspective. Back at WWDC, basking in the glow of the river of great new announcements I had quipped “Wow, they gave us everything but a business model.” That comment is clearly absurd but it does drive towards a more honest and worthwhile point. In many ways the situation iOS developers find themselves in heading into the Autumn of 2014 isn’t about technology or tools, it is about business. As the market has matured the natural consequence is that older inefficiencies that may have propped up unsustainable models have fallen away. The App Store and related ecosystems are now extremely efficient. If there is an opportunity to be exploited we can expect it to be found and exploited. If you come up with a great new idea it will be analyzed, dissected and the interesting parts copied with often head-turning pace. As I have navigated this transition myself I have started to see many issues with the approach I had been taking to my business. Some of which I have been able to address but many of which I’m still working through. For the purpose of today’s episode I thought it might be constructive to take a quick tour of the various models and their various strengths and weaknesses. I’m going to be working in rough order of which I think they are desirable in the current ecosystem. Subscriptions tl;dr - People pay you on an ongoing basis for providing software and software related services. Pros - So long as your subscription base is enough for your expenses and your renewal/signup rate exceeds your cancellations you are golden. Cons - Often tricker to get someone to make a long term commitment. Managing credit cards, expirations, etc. Typically smaller user base needed (yay!), each requiring and feeling owed more (not so yay). Advertising tl;dr - People use your software and are presented a message from someone else you pays you. Pros - Strong possibility for ongoing revenue. Can make your software free. Cons - You need to show other people’s messages in your apps. Requires large customerbases for reasonable revenue. Consumable In-App Purchases tl;dr - People make (typically) small, repeated payments to continue to gain access to aspects of your software. Gratuity based models also fall into this category. Pros - Strong possibility for ongoing revenue. Lets you segment your customer base by how much they are willing to spend. Cons - Can quickly get very dodgy. One Time In-App Purchases tl;dr - People make payments to gain access to specific parts of the application or content therein. Pros - Gives users a clear trial of the experience before needing to make a commitment. Cons - Often very tricky to work out what part of the application can be segmented off. If you are too generous nobody will buy, too stingy and nobody will buy. Up Front One Time Purchase tl;dr - People pay money to be able to use your software. Pros - Simple and straightforward. Cons - Trickier to make sustainable since your effectively cap your income per user. Single Price. Long term support gets hard to justify. Free tl;dr - You create software, everyone uses it without charge. Pros - Wide adoption potential. Cons - Often hard to sustain long term. Most often seen in either altruistic or venture based software. What is best? It is going to vary for each business. What I have found over the last 6 years is that models that have more of a focus on ongoing revenue are more sustainable than things that are more one-time oriented. Mixing as many as you can often is important too. It is also absolutely imperative that you have a good working definition of what success looks like for yourself before you can make a thoughtful choice.


3 Jul 2014

Rank #20